Taking time to reflect, and connect

Re-reading articles from my Culture, Connectivity and Engagement class a year ago is really interesting. I realize that I’m in a much different place. I don’t know if that is as a result of additional classes I’ve taken, where work has taken me, or the fact that I’m not reading the articles for the first time. Most likely it is a product of all of these factors taken together.

I’m also more in the mindset of application and reinforcement rather than measurement. While measurement is of course important, I now realize there are plenty of models for that as well as organizations happy to do it for you. And that side of things is not really where my passion lies anyway. What is much more interesting is helping people to find guidance to address the areas they find need attention; and tools to support them on their journey.

Happily, I’m reminded of the myriad ways that the social intranet that I help manage has to support improving employee engagement and cohesion. For example,

Need to be more public about employee recognition?

  • Make a comment on an employee’s post telling the world why you think it is great!
  • Write your own post pointing to the exceptional work of a few select individuals.
  • Support an employee-led program to select exemplary individuals on a quarterly basis, and use your community to showcase the nominations and awards.

Is management trust lacking?

  • Commit to frequent, regular community posts that are authentically you.
  • Allow people to post questions, even the uncomfortable ones, and give frank answers.
  • Publicly ask “dumb” questions yourself when you have them to show that you are a real person, and that asking questions is OK.

Want to encourage more weak ties?

  • Bring non-obvious people into conversations when you know (or suspect) they have something to contribute
  • Encourage creation of areas for social collaboration
  • Promote open rather than closed collaboration, and allow “outsiders” to comment on conversations

Trying to encourage a learning mindset?

  • Make the class rosters public in the community
  • Spotlight when employees and managers earn certificates or degrees
  • Encourage discussions about learning rather than finished, shiny outcomes

And I very much appreciate the reminder from Lorsch and McTague (Culture is not the Culprit, HBR April 2016) that culture is the product of these kinds of changes rather than the place to focus your efforts.