“We have a great enterprise collaboration tool. Why aren’t employees using it?” Sound familiar? You’re not alone – we’ve heard this from many clients. They’ve established outstanding websites, tools, and functionality, often at significant cost, but they aren’t being used. Why?
In previous blog posts, we’ve covered the reasons this occurs, including lack of enterprise strategy and integration to work activities, lack of governance, and organizational silos. In addition, a common situation we encounter is a lack of internal communication and marketing surrounding enterprise collaboration initiatives.
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
“If you build it, he will come” worked out well for Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams, but building an enterprise collaboration tool is not enough to ensure its adoption and ongoing use. You have to market the capabilities and benefits to your employees through consistent, timely, and relevant communication. You need to introduce them to new ways to collaborate, show them what’s in it for them, model and incent use of the capabilities, and in some cases even tell them they must use certain pieces.
One of the best ways to ensure consistent communication about your collaboration initiatives is by creating and following an Enterprise Collaboration communication plan. However, according to recent Microsoft User Experience Research, a majority of people were introduced to SharePoint without any communication plan to drive adoption. Involving Corporate Communications (or the team responsible for internal communications) is critical.
A communication plan is always important, and it is essential if your organization’s previous collaboration efforts have failed, stalled or experienced poor adoption.
We’ve worked with clients on communication plans ranging from pretty standard to completely unique. While the exact plan will vary based on your organization, some common approaches include:
- Messages from executive sponsors and senior leadership
- Posters and/or tri-folds in cafeteria or break areas
- Mentions in company newsletters
- Digital signage
- Lunch and learn sessions
- Collaboration evangelists
- Inclusion in performance plans
- Ongoing involvement in enterprise collaboration initiatives
- Sharing of success stories
- Giveaways, like water bottles and coffee cups
One area mentioned above that deserves extra attention is the involvement of employees in collaboration initiatives. Surveys, requirements sessions, informal feedback, user testing, training, and other techniques allow you to build a solution that better meets the needs of the user, and to share the solution with the most influential users. People who are involved make better advocates and increase the amount of grassroots communication.
Since most of us are focused on building great collaboration environments rather than baseball diamonds, make sure you have a strategy and roadmap that will foster adoption and growth through communication and marketing.