16 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2014 9:49 AM by spearce

    Non-work related groups


      One of the things that could help to bring people to Jive is to allow non-work related groups. Maybe a group to organize a football league, A group to share ideas for a summer party, etc...


      Did you implement that in your Jive? How did it go? There was a strong opposition from management or it wasn't even allowed? Did you create a policy for that kind of groups?


      Although I reckon that it can easily go out of control I also think that it can help people to familiarize with the tool.


      By the way. We stricly forbid any use of the tool for non-work related matters.

        • Re: Non-work related groups

          We implemented Jive over a year ago in our organization.  We decided before turning it on that we would allow non-work related groups as a way of helping people learn how to use the tool, give visibility to what other geographies are doing and as a way for people to connect.  We discussed this with our HR who was all for it as a way of encouraging a more open culture and as a way for people to get to know their peers better.   I'm sure there has been some management grumbling, but you are always going to have some of that with change. 


          We don't really have any "hard" rules other than we don't allow "non-work" type groups to be secret or private, they have to be open or MO.   Our Innovate (Jive) policy is pretty relaxed and the only comment we make about these types of groups is "  Be social.  Feel free to use Innovate to set up idea groups, problem-solving groups, biking groups, chess groups, walk-at-lunch groups, etc.  Use it to build your personal networks."


          We also ask that people abide by our internal policies regarding appropriate topics, for example, no porn, bad language,etc.  Since  we are a global company we've seen some interesting topics pop-up that may have been okay at a local level, but not at a global level, so we shut a couple things down after getting complaints, but that has been a tiny,  tiny percentage of the overall activity.


          We also have an active Water Cooler for social topics that don't really need a group.  Our message has always been that Innovate is for work collaboration, but as a perk you can use it for this other stuff to, just don't use it like you would Facebook.  We haven't had any problems with it getting out of control and when I run CMR's, I don't see "non-work" groups taking activity lead over work groups.  I have seen quite a few go dormant from lack of interest. 


          I'm pretty sure that Innovate (Jive) was the first tool "sanctioned" for this kind of use at our company.  I think if you are interested in encouraging collaboration and network building, then consider opening it up for social, just don't let it be the focus of your message. 


          Good luck!  Let us know what happens.

          • Re: Non-work related groups
            Dennis Pearce

            I work with Laura and would just add that if you are trying to make a case for non-work related groups, it of course depends on the size of the company and the type of work you do, but one argument for them is that if your company is expecting employees to be available to work evenings and use their personal devices for work (which many global companies now do), then it's only fair that they allow employees to use company resources during the day for non-work activities.


            Social groups are a nice way for employees to get familiar and experiment with the tool without risking failure by having to commit to an new, unknown business process.  You just have to make sure that the social groups don't overwhelm the business-related ones and give the impression that this new tool is simply a playground.

              • Re: Non-work related groups

                We took a  slightly less formal approach as we got stuck trying to define what is work and non-work in an organization as dynamic as ours so we did two things in our internal community: 1) We added wording to our T&Cs regarding the acceptable use of groups and 2) We limit who can create a group to a manager level so in effect even if they are not participating, they technically are “sponsoring” it.


                In reality, what we see is what we expected.  Our workforce understands the company culture (what is and is not okay) and our community, just like everything else, reflects this culture.

                • Re: Non-work related groups

                  Non-work groups allow people to get to know one another especially when they are not co-located; it replaces informal hallway and cafeteria interactions.

                • Re: Non-work related groups

                  I work at a conservative financial services company and fought hard to have non-work related topics be allowed in our internal instance. Our reasoning, experience and controls are all nearly identical to those already described in this thread. Right now I estimate 80% of our groups are work-related, 20% are social. It's been an overwhelming positive experience, but we have had a couple of challenges:


                  1. Because most of our work-related groups are private and the social groups are public, people mistakenly thought Jive was just like Facebook (which hurt our adoption). But I solved that will ongoing education and promotion.
                  2. I continue to have conversations with the Law department about non-work topics that comply to our policies but they feel are inappropriate anyway. My personal favorite: "What if a member of the beer making club violates a local state law on his personal time." But I can typically talk Law down from the ledge and I have not deleted or reprimanded a single non-work group yet.
                  • Re: Non-work related groups

                    Non-work groups are a healthy way to recognize that we want employees to bring their whole selves to work, in addition to the good points Laura and Dennis made, above. People build strong relationships with people, not employees. IOW, non-work stuff matters to people and it's part of how they connect with, relate to and care about each other. That's part of our culture, so it's part of our community.


                    Yes, you will hear some grumbling, but after five years, with no governance of these groups, I can tell you they form only a tiny percentage of the activity in our community. Trust people to be professional and they generally will be.

                      • Re: Non-work related groups

                        We don't put any controls on social groups either, and usage of these groups is way less than 20%. To me, saying you can't discuss anything but work in your community is akin to telling employees that they should not have any small talk in the office. What would meetings be like if no one was allowed to break the ice with questions about family, kids, hobbies, sports, etc? What would your job be like if there were no celebrations, company picnics, holiday parties, etc.? It would be all business and no social and you would have a pretty disengaged workforce. We are social creatures and social connections help us work better together.


                        Just like in real life, where you occasionally have "that guy" (or gal) who spends a week planning the office fantasy football league or over-shares about their private lives, it may happen every once in a while online (although it has not happened for us in a community of 11,000 after 2 years). But when it does, it's pretty easy to quickly identify the person who is over-socializing and take the opportunity for private coaching.

                      • Re: Non-work related groups

                        I'll second most of what Laura, Dennis, Ted and others have shared with our experience. It's one of the things I am most proud of getting approved in our implementation in a conservative pharma company. And I've had people stop me and thank me for providing them with such channels. And we have affinity groups, religious groups, LGBT groups, Beer groups, Wine groups, etc. With only one questionable experience in 3 years and tens of thousands of posts. And we handled it and survived .


                        The only thing I'd add unique is that people also use these groups to get over the distractions of real life more quickly that unquestionable hit them during work hours...and get back to work more quickly and more engaged. Examples: Anyone recommend of a good vet (or pediatrician) on the south side of town? My bike has a flat and I don't have a pump, can anyone help me today? Would you buy your child an iPad Mini or a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas? Please respond to this thread with stories/memories from this recently deceased employee/friend and I'll share it with their family.


                        Those are all real examples.

                        • Re: Non-work related groups

                          We allow any type of groups to be created by community members, we have groups covering things such as: Chess, Tennis, etc.

                          I created & manage a sub space in our "Community Information" space called "Fitness Quest" & there we have folks sharing tips on working out, recipes, sports activities, pickup games after work, etc.


                          No issues have been raised by management & most of them are well aware that these communities exist.

                          • Re: Non-work related groups

                            Most of the replies support non-work related groups. Nobody had a bad experience and turn them off? Or they were against them from the beginning? It would also be interesting to know why Jive does. Ryan Rutan, do you have non-work related social groups in Jive?

                              • Re: Non-work related groups

                                I've been following what other organizations do for five years now, and every presentation I can recall, every case study that mentioned it, internal communities allowed non-work-related groups and did fine that way. Maybe there were some exceptions that I have forgotten, but the responses you are getting here are typical of what you'd find across the entire landscape. Pinging some Jivers who should be able to corroborate: Claire Flanagan Gia Lyons Kathryn Everest

                                  • Re: Non-work related groups

                                    Absolutely true. If there is concern about social interest groups, try working with HR to create some that align with health and wellness and community involvement - Bike to Work, Volunteerism, etc.


                                    My favorite title for one of these kinds of groups was Operation Get Not Fat.



                                    from my iPhone

                                    • Re: Non-work related groups

                                      Yes, CSC allowed "Watercooler" groups. It was part of our business case to our executives. Like others said above:


                                      1. It allows people to "dip their toe in the water" and get comfortable with a new tool.
                                      2. More importantly, it allows relationships to form. If you are serious about collapsing time zone and distance barriers - business has to do a lot to replace the value of serendipity, water cooler, lunch-time or hall-way conversations bring to work by having such a virtual workforce. We need to create those "bump-in" opportunities where you can gain affinity for the people or groups you work with - or might need to work with in the future.


                                      CSC case study here - see about 22 minutes in for discussion on the Watercooler use Case - why it's important WOMM COM Module 3: Session 3 - YouTube


                                      As others said - it wasn't "overly" heavy in our instance - maybe as little as 10% if that overall. But we did have a Photographers group (and by the way I leveraged some of their assets vs. paying royalty for new photos) and many other groups that allowed colleagues to pursue interests and hobbies.

                                    • Re: Non-work related groups
                                      Ryan Rutan

                                      Absolutely, we have non-work related groups at Jive, it is a manifestation of the culture here that we seek to embody daily.  Echoing Ted's comments, allowing employees to bring their whole-self to work is a big bonus ... and finding ways to get buy-in at that level is a large part of any social business "secret sauce" =)