23 Replies Latest reply on Jun 24, 2011 7:55 AM by lizg

    100 employee Community, Can it work?

      I'm a part of a steadily growing technology company that just passed the 100 employee mark a few months ago that also has 3 satellite offices with 15 employees amongst them. We recognize there has been a significant shift in the way communication flows since we had 20 employees 4 years ago. We've tried to combat that by having a Jive Express instance. The goal was to open up conversations around the house and get more weigh in. However, after having it deployed to every employee now for 4 months it hasn't quite developed, at all.


      What I'm noticing is everyone still works within email or small social face to face groups. With only having 100 employees and having a very social office it's impossible to get them to socialize and participate within jive instead.


      So do you think a 100 employee company can really benefit from Jive and how do you think they would? Or is 100 employee company still too small and easily social to really utilize the internal community?

        • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

          Hi ecarroll! First, please let me say congratulations on the company growth!


          To answer your question, my instinct is to say, 'Everyone can benefit from Jive!' However, a more measured response would be, 'It depends.'


          You mentioned there was a significant shift in communication flow. What was that shift and why was it bad?


          To get employees to adopt the Jive instance, are you able to describe how using the platform would help them? Are there pain points they currently experience, such as 'hard to find information' or 'don't feel connected to each other' or 'I wish the answers were archived and searchable' ?


          If you can show how using Jive would help support activites that the employees are already doing, and will help make their lives easier, this could go a long way towards adoption.


          Looking forward to learning more!



            • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

              Let me also say, I have seen the usage of Jive help a 10-person group, so no - I do not think a 100 person company is too small to benefit.



              • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?



                I'd just like to throw my two cents in here and agree with everything  Trisha has said. From my point of view, as one who spent over a decade  working at implementing Knowledge Management at Boeing and Pratt &  Whitney (when they owned Rocketdyne - my former employer - successively)  I can attest to your colleagues' need to find those "pain points" where  they can get some relief from the use of Jive without it being perceived  as another "strap-on" to their no doubt already heavy load. There are  probably situations where someone at one location has researched,  discovered, or created a solution to a particular problem that, had  others at a different location known of its existence, would have saved  money or aggravation, no? Getting people to not give up, but go beyond, email is a widespread issue everyone is dealing with.


                One of the "problems" that Jive can solve, IMO, is  that of accessing the tacit (in-the-head) knowledge each of your  colleagues possesses. In the KM world, we have frequently said that  somewhere around 80% of an organization's useful knowledge is tacit; not  written or codified anywhere. Just by using the "update" function (which is, I believe, a form of micro-blogging) people can stay much more aware of what others are doing and, therefore, what they "know". Of course, it takes a little re-education and, perhaps, some discipline to update one's status regularly, but it surely serves to bring people closer together in terms of understanding what each is up to and what they have to offer to others. May I suggest reading this post by Luis Suarez, one of our foremost spokespersons and educators on methods for transcending email?  He's been on a mission to move away from email to more social, and more  permanent and searchable, methods of communication . . . precisely what  Jive offers.


                As Trisha said, congrats on your business growth. I hope your colleagues realize the power they have available to them with Jive. Used wisely, it will surely contribute to continued success.



                  • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                    Rick, I was just reading about tacit knowledge yesterday on this HBR blog! http://bit.ly/9u9kOZ Scroll down to 'Social software connects us more easily to the resources we need'.


                    The same article mentions that up to two-thirds of headcount time is spent on exception handling... yikes! If those exceptions are documented and searchable, pain points go down.

                      • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?



                        I was making these very same points to my management in my former place of employment. They weren't ready for the transition required to make a move like Hagel and Brown suggest; too many other things to worry about, I guess. It was a large part of why I accepted an early severance package when the ending of the Shuttle program and the general slowdown in space exploration jammed the brakes on our business growth and even threatened our sustainability.


                        I believe it was Euan Semple who pointed out that even if you had a really good ECM system, many documents either require or benefit from further explanation by those who were either responsible for creating it or who were part of the activity for which, or from which, it was created. Remember the KM mantra. The majority of an organization's valuable knowledge is stored within the heads of the people who've created or discovered it . . . even if they've codified what they learned (which most don't). Sometimes people don't even know what they know until a situation requiring it arises . . . or someone askes them about it. That's where serendipity rears its smiley face and beams down on us. Good stuff! Thanks.

                  • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                    We have found that people at remote offices can use this as a way to both find out what is happening at HQ and as a way to have their voice heard.  Shifting a company culture away from meetings and emails is a change in behavior, regardless of the size.  A survey of employees may discover that having meetings eat up their day and getting flooded with emails is not everyone’s ideas of productive.


                    Find one group that is open to being more innovative (perhaps the one with people at multiple locations).  Work with them to develop a success story, such as getting rid of a weekly status meeting saved the company $X and gave me back Y hours.


                    Look at using RSS feeds, email notifications, and advanced email plug-in as ways to have people only need to shift their behavior a small amount.


                    Get managers involved and supporting using it (actively, not just saying).  Ask people if the company plans to grow.  Ask them what happens when there are 500 employees spread across time zones.  When managers talk about being more innovative, I ask how are old communications methods such as emails and meetings supporting innovation?


                    I have seen a 3X increase in community usage when we brought in the summer interns.  Ask management and HR how they plan to attract the best and brightest new people when they are told they can only use email and have to go to a large number of meetings.



                      • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                        What he said .


                        One more thing: If you get those summer interns to hire in after they've experienced your business, make them reverse mentors. Let them show others how to use Jive to their advantage. One thing I have found, though, which I believe you need to be cautious about, is even new hires fresh out of college don't necessarily see the business uses and value in a set of tools like Jive offers. Amazingly enough, sometimes they're very much like the cohort approaching retirement who believe social computing is only about "friending" and texting useless small talk. So, even reverse mentors will need some kind of training and familiarization with the way your company gets things done.

                      • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                        I think that once people understand getting out of email, it can benefit in ways similar to email and voicemail. The benefit being that more people can be included in the process, and the information has a longer life and is more easily findable than in email. And threads don't get broken or abandoned like they do in email.

                          • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                            Tracey - Those are the exact same arguments I made for years when I was the Project Manager at Rocketdyne for our implementation of a tool that was partly designed to replace email for knowledge capture and transfer. Here's a graphic I did about five years ago to make some of the same points you have. Your point about threads is also one of the best arguments in favor of moving some kinds of conversations away from email. Merely because what you suggest is possible, I believe it militates against being able to trust the integrity of any thread in email that includes more than two people. At the very least, you open the door for needing to audit a thread if there's something you need to be really sure of before you act on it.


                            PS - I just edited the file to take out the background and I changed the name of the tool that offers the most functionality to Jive. It was something else, cause that's what I had experience with way back in the wayback machine.


                            Relative Attributes of Communications Tools.jpg

                          • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                            Hi Eric –


                            I’ve seen some of the other replies and just wanted to add that one way I have pitched our system for years is that it creates a “virtual home” for distributed teams.  This is the place that all team members, regardless of where they are, can get together and share information and ideas. When we started with a team focus everyone could understand it and they felt comfortable in their areas.  Once we had that established people could start to see the larger benefit that came from the transparency into other teams and accessibility of people and information overall.


                            Hope that helps.

                            • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                              Thank you all for the awesome responses!


                              I'd say we have two major obstacles. The first is the varying amount of tools our  employees all ready use to communicate (Salesforce, Kindling, Basecamp, IM,  Campfire, email, RT and more.) We have some very distinct types of people, sales, developers, product specialists, marketers, support, designers, the whole gamut, and each have found distinct solutions to communicate with themselves and other teams when necessary.


                              The other main problem is figuring out how to really structure jive. Right now we use groups like nobody's business, but we only use it like it's a google groups community. The info doesn't spread beyond it. The microblogging, and spaces functions have been useless. We have staff wide communication through our staff@ and stuff@ email aliases that go out to the whole company but those usually don't turn into conversations via email, just act as announcements.


                              Any more thoughts?

                                • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                                  Have you tried threats of violence? JK


                                  Seriously, read this post by Dan Pontefract entitled "If I Were CEO, I’d Mandate Enterprise 2.0". Maybe something in there will resonate. He posted it exactly four months ago, today. It's difficult to do anything other than offer general things that some have experienced, not knowing your organization and its culture (other than the bits of evidence you've provided here). It sounds like you could benefit from a representative group of colleagues working to figure out how best to structure Jive for your specific business.

                                  • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                                    Hi Ed,


                                    The more you can simplyfy/streamline/merge tools the more likely you'll find folks gravatating to Jive. I followed a couple employees for a day and recorded the number of tools they touched in the process of doing their work. One team had 30+, another 20+. Adding Jive to that mix, even if people see the value, can be very difficult. It sounds like you already have a bevy of very good tools each of which has some overlap with each other and with Jive. Building a company standard for content mgmt, IM, project tracking, etc and community would help to drive folks to one tool over another. Find a way to turn-off other tools, migrate content and federated search can also help to get folks onboard your Jive platform.



                                    • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                                      Have you used the integration that Jive offers to work with or replace some of the programs you’ve listed? For example: Openfire for Instant messaging can be used with Jive or I believe at JiveWorld10 there was a company that had integrated Salesforce with Jive.



                                      Yolanda Blechinger

                                      User Experience Designer

                                      Digi-Key Corporation

                                      218-681-8000  ext. 2035


                                    • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                                      I think it clicked! The tacit knowledge article really helped, as well as reading lots of articles about the impact, importance and best uses of facebook and twitter.


                                      I don't believe I've properly set up the structure to really facilitate the important conversations in our company and culture nor have I been able to differentiate it from other software and uses to our employees. Like I said earlier, our employees view it as a google group community on steroids, and that's why the use is kind of lackluster. Everyone and everything are in silos. It needs to be opened up on general subject matters that revolve around our company so people can posts thoughts, ideas, questions and links on those matters. From there it will certainly evolve.


                                      Thanks for the help everyone.

                                      • Re: 100 employee Community, Can it work?

                                        Thank you for starting this discussion, ecarrol! We are in the same position as your company (under 100, with 4 office locations--Express customer). We have seen a lot of search-and-find type interaction but little else. As you mentioned, email still seems to be the predominant form of communication and is likely to be the largest obstacle for us to overcome. We are having a formal training session in the coming weeks, so I plan on addressing this issue along with other topics our members have expressed interest in. I hope I can show them the beauty of e2.0!


                                        Any who, thanks again internal cmgrs!