Here is a checklist of all the key points you need to address when implementing a social collaboration project for enterprise learning.
1. Do it for the right reason: Some real reasons could be – connect people across departments / divisions / geographies towards meeting a goal, spark creativity and innovation, increase productivity, reduce support cost, increase sales or reduce sales cycle, better customer satisfaction rating. These are just some of the reasons that could trigger the implementation of a social collaboration portal. Where relevant, be prepared to measure and monitor key metrics.
2. Profile your People: I truly believe profiling people is not acceptable when it comes to race or gender orientation. However, you will have to profile your target audience before you roll out any social collaboration portal. There are different types of users – Experts, Cheerleaders, Extroverts, Introverts, Skeptics and Non-Believers. This categorization will allow you to finalize your communication strategy before, during and post launch of the social collaboration portal.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: That’s three distinct communication strategies. They are – before you launch the portal, during portal roll-out and post launch. Pre-launch communication may involve creating awareness about the roll-out, co-opting Experts to seed the content (nothing short of great and insightful content is required) and provide orientation to Cheerleaders to keep the portal lively on a ongoing basis. All others should be provided with compelling reasons that justifies the launch of the portal. During roll-out, communicate dos and dont’s, incentives for contributing to the portal, continued orientation and town-hall style sessions (in-person or virtual) are the strategies to employ. Post implementation messaging could involve success stories of how people are benefiting from the social collaboration portal, how-to use features, gather feedback.
4. Track Usage Data: Track usage data in terms of features, quality of content (subjective), number of views, posts, comments, likes etc. While raw data is overwhelming, correlation to key factors that triggered the implementation should be measured to validate ROI (read my earlier post on measuring ROI for social collaboration projects) . This will also provide enough justifications for tweaking features, adding new features and removing existing features from the portal.
5. Be Ready to Handle Exceptions: In addition to having a policy in place that will govern content, legal, privacy and data confidentiality (yes, legal team will have a role to play), remember to establish a well-defined policy for users to report abuse, issues, and complaints. Designate key moderators that will be responsible for handling such exceptions.