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Collaborating in training : communities of practice
 

Collaborating in training : communities of practice

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With tens of thousands of employees, the Crédit Agricole Group places human beings and innovation at the core of its concerns. ...

With tens of thousands of employees, the Crédit Agricole Group places human beings and innovation at the core of its concerns.
The MIKE Club (for Management, Innovation, Knowledge Management, and E-learning), launched in 2011, connects all Group employees involved in innovative techniques in order to study new technologies that might have a real impact on our profession.
While maintaining a critical stance, we searched for the most relevant emerging applications to provide all employees with tools for grasping, understanding and adapting to the ongoing digital revolution.
This was originally an internal approach, but Crédit Agricole decided to share its view of innovation and collaborative processes in training, as well as its analysis and thoughts, with as many people as possible. That is why we decided to launch a series of white papers, called “HR Expertise”, that will shed light on a number of topics including collaborative work and serious games
This publication focuses on communities of practice and how they are used in a corporate context. True, this collaborative working method has key advantages and is an effective force for motivation, but we must never lose sight of the fundamental educational principles that make it so relevant both to the company and to the employees taking part.
We hope you will find this document useful.

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    Collaborating in training : communities of practice Collaborating in training : communities of practice Document Transcript

    • Collaborating in training COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE WHITE PAPER - VOLUME 1
    • WHAT IS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE?.......................................................................................3  The purpose of a community of practice........................................................................................... 3  Business-led communities of practice............................................................................................... 3  Project-led communities of practice................................................................................................... 4 Innovation within communities of practice.............................................................................................. 4  Nine good reasons to establish communities of practice.............................................................. 4  Advantages to employees .................................................................................................................... 5 CONSTRUCTING A COMMUNITY .....................................................................................................6  The 5 construction stages.................................................................................................................... 6  The life cycle of a community .............................................................................................................. 7 LIFE CYCLE OF A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE ............................................................................9  Learning in a community ...................................................................................................................... 9  How is a community led?...................................................................................................................... 9  Facilitation according to the community’s maturity........................................................................ 9  The roles of the community members ............................................................................................. 11  Drawing up a community charter...................................................................................................... 12  In short, for a community to work… ................................................................................................. 12 BEST PRACTICE IN THE WORKPLACE........................................................................................13  Alstom Collaborative Way .................................................................................................................. 13  Dan 2.0 for DANONE............................................................................................................................ 15 BEST PRACTICE IN THE CREDIT AGRICOLE GROUP ..............................................................17  MOCCA................................................................................................................................................... 17  The Young Talents Community ......................................................................................................... 19  The Sustainable Development Community..................................................................................... 21  The Community Managers’ Club....................................................................................................... 23  The www. creditagricole.info platform ............................................................................................. 25  The Customer Centricity Project Community................................................................................. 27 REFERENCES.....................................................................................................................................29
    • Summary document Page 2 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice EDITORIAL With tens of thousands of employees, the Crédit Agricole Group places human beings and innovation at the core of its concerns. The MIKE Club (for Management, Innovation, Knowledge Management, and E-learning), launched in 2011, connects all Group employees involved in innovative techniques in order to study new technologies that might have a real impact on our profession. While maintaining a critical stance, we searched for the most relevant emerging applications to provide all employees with tools for grasping, understanding and adapting to the ongoing digital revolution. This was originally an internal approach, but Crédit Agricole decided to share its view of innovation and collaborative processes in training, as well as its analysis and thoughts, with as many people as possible. That is why we decided to launch a series of white papers, called “HR Expertise”, that will shed light on a number of topics including collaborative work and serious games This publication focuses on communities of practice and how they are used in a corporate context. True, this collaborative working method has key advantages and is an effective force for motivation, but we must never lose sight of the fundamental educational principles that make it so relevant both to the company and to the employees taking part. We hope you will find this document useful. Isabelle Collignon Head of HR Development, Group HR, Crédit Agricole S.A.
    • Summary document Page 3 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice WHAT IS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE? “A community of practice is a group of people who are informally bound to one another through exposure to a common class of problem and a common pursuit of solutions, and thereby themselves embodying a store of knowledge.” Brook Manville (Director of Knowledge Management at McKinsey). The purpose of a community of practice A community of practice designates “the social apprenticeship process that emerges when individuals with a common interest join forces to work together”1 . The goal is to promote collaboration among members of the community of practice (CoP) by:  Sharing experience (successes/concerns)  Apprenticeship and the transfer of skills  Opening up, standing back  A common search for solutions. The three pillars of a CoP are sharing, formalising and capitalising. These principles are given shape through meetings and simple and efficient ways of communicating. In return, CoPs help members and their companies to develop, learn and be more efficient. There are usually two kinds of CoP:  Business-led communities of practice  Project-led communities of practice Business-led communities of practice A business-led CoP is based on mutual sharing. It enables members to share knowledge and tools that would be inaccessible to people without this common approach. Business-led CoPs add value by pooling content and sharing best practices. The value lies in:  Access to knowledge  Access to more advanced and reliable expertise Economies of scale from an activity carried out more easily by several people (monitoring and intelligence gathering)  Development of collective tools (e.g. summary documents) 1 Lave, J & Wenger E, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
    • Summary document Page 4 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice Project-led communities of practice “Let’s organise collaboration and resource sharing to make a project successful” A project-led CoP unites a group of people dealing with a common objective and forms them into a collaborative network. CoPs may have different but inter-dependent tasks in a short-term context. Their value added is evidenced in the project’s ultimate goal, through the deliverables or by finding an appropriate response. But it may also lie in the memory that can be preserved. Communities of practice:  Enable project content to be shared  Facilitate coordination among members  Ensure faster and more reliable project implementation  Capitalise on knowledge CoPs therefore create a common culture. This implies a management system that requires:  A culture based on teamwork  Awareness of the common objective  The instinct to capitalise  A cooperative mindset Innovation within communities of practice In some cases, business-led or project-led communities of practice generate innovation. This common effort will lead to a search for new solutions or processes, and more efficient operating methods. Innovation is triggered in the community by:  Establishing efficient collaboration around the process  Sharing strategic knowledge  Pooling common tools  An approach based on continuously improving the process concerned. Nine good reasons to establish communities of practice 1. Create ties and relationships that go beyond specific disciplines. 2. Provide a context for sharing and exchanging knowledge. 3. Ensure that knowledge reaches employees in time so that they can react quickly (cf. intellectual property). 4. Create an early-warning system and improve people’s capacity of to find answers to questions. 5. Assign specific needs to each person within the organisation. The more easily people can identify who does what, the faster they find the answers to their questions. 6. Create a shared social space for people who are geographically distant. 7. Develop innovation – exceed the problem-solving objective and start inventing together.
    • Summary document Page 5 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice 8. Explain how individuals can think collectively. 9. Ensure that training is a continuous process. Advantages to employees Communities of practice deliver benefits to their members immediately. They do so as soon as they are established, but also over the long term through the acquisition of new skills. In the short term the people involved will mainly have access to expertise. With collaborative work they will also develop the ability to contribute to a team and develop a feeling of belonging to the Group. In short, they will make their participation meaningful. In the long term, employees belonging to a community will find new opportunities to improve their skills and know-how. Working in a group will enable them to build a network and remain attentive to a subject, and to develop their professional reputation. Thus the two main benefits will be greater employability and greater appreciation of their work. These twin benefits are not only beneficial to employees but also to the company, because of stronger work motivation.
    • Summary document Page 6 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice CONSTRUCTING A COMMUNITY The 5 construction stages The first stage in building a community is to work on the group identity. That means determining common themes and identifying shared objectives. Next a group of individuals interested in those themes and goals is formed. The person creating the community will identify the potential members and clarify their roles and responsibilities. A key moment in building a community is when the working methods are specified. This entails suggesting activities to specific members and then laying down common rules. The aim is to get the group to draw up a charter, which is fundamental to the community’s operations. The next stage is to identify the resources need by the community. The members’ project must be assessed, the budget negotiated, and the necessary time allocated. The community must be provided with the collaborative and communications tools it needs. This stage also establishes the degree of members’ involvement and the management required to allow the community’s operating methods to evolve. Last, the community’s official launch requires a specific facilitation policy and sponsoring by the company. The community’s approach and objectives must be made known, as well as they way it functions and the benefits accruing to its members. The importance of organising an event is therefore enhanced. Members get to know each other better and have a stronger sense of belonging. Members should be encouraged to forge ties among themselves. Adopt common rules (charter) Specify roles and responsibilities Set shared objectives Choose tools and resources Bring people together through an event Build an identity Set up a group Specify the working methods Identify the resources Launch the community
    • Summary document Page 7 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The life cycle of a community Communities have precise themes and objectives, usually outlined in a community charter. They are created out of a need shared by several colleagues, and may evolve until such time as the community closes down (when the stated objective has been reached). Exchanges and operating methods differ at all stages in the life of a community: Source: Alstom Needs • A decision to come together, recognising the collective potential • Ideas are shared and best practices exchanged Design • Potential members are identified • Ways to cooperate are negotiated and established Launch • The community is officially launched Maturity • Members cooperate, discuss and develop new resources • Collective action is taken, new tools and knowledge created Dispersion • The intensity of cooperation slackens but the community continues to exist as a force and a knowledge centre Closure • The community is officially closed • The knowledge capital and relationship capital are gradually dispersed.
    • Summary document Page 8 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The actions to be taken, from identifying a need to closing the working group, also follow the community’s life cycle. Source: Alstom Closure Capitalising on past experience Dispersion The relationship network remains active, and members continue to seek each other out individually Maturity The leaders support and run the community Contributions from the active members Launch Organising an event for all members to approve the action plan Promoting the existence of the community Design Setting common objectives, roles and rules Needs Identifying the format of the community's requests
    • Summary document Page 9 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice LIFE CYCLE OF A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE Learning in a community The benefits of a community lie in setting up a participative learning process. For employees taking part, that means gaining access to a knowledge base and being able to call on experts. Learning is also acquired by analysing knowledge. Members will think and react or go deeper into the knowledge and tools shared within a community. They will also work on problem solving. Comparing ideas, holding discussions and other such exchanges are vital for learning and providing new solutions. Employees also benefit from collaborative learning by innovating and taking part in the creation of new knowledge and practices. The main way to boost communities of practice and benefit members the most is to stimulate and facilitate membership. How is a community led? To be successful, a community of practice needs to be “led” by one or more people. Their role is to make joining a community a tangible reality. As a result, facilitation is seen as roleplay. Drawing up a community charter is a vital stage because it defines these roles and enshrines a set of operating rules. The facilitators must also take into account the degree of maturity of a community and they must adjust their facilitation activities to each stage of advancement of a collaborative working group. In all cases, the teams in charge of a community project – first and foremost the persons designated as “facilitators” – must always be aware that a community is not directed; it is facilitated. Facilitation according to the community’s maturity As we have seen, communities operate in different ways depending on the stage of their life cycle. Facilitation practices must therefore be adapted to each stage of maturity. During the design phase, facilitators have several objectives. These include enabling identified members to emerge and assessing the collective potential. This first stage in constructing a community is also the time when the creation of a solid core of employees should be encouraged and their convergence of interests identified. There are several best practices for facilitation during this stage, including:  Identifying key players  Spotting potential members  Working out the community theme  Clarifying members’ individual interests. The aim of the facilitators at the time of launch is to activate the community and to unify and motivate members. Several actions may be taken:  Mobilise key players  Facilitate member recognition  Organise initial meetings  Adjust the network continually (its centres of interest, ways of cooperating, etc.).
    • Summary document Page 10 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice As the community reaches maturity, the objectives change. The facilitator must then encourage dialogue by forging closer ties between members and creating new knowledge that is useful to reaching the community’s objectives. The facilitator must therefore:  Promote the first practical results (by broadcasting success stories, etc.)  Transit from discussion to collective production. During the so-called dispersion phase, when the degree of cooperation diminishes but the community remains a knowledge centre, the goal is to redefine the group’s project. The facilitator, with the help of the members, has to find new forms of collaboration. The best practice in this context consists in:  Adjusting the scope and redefine the project  Identifying the new players  Assessing and adapting the system of interest  Making the most of exchanges between members During the community’s closing phase, it is important to transform and take advantage of all the knowledge produced in order to prevent the relationship and knowledge capital from being dispersed once the working group no longer exists. The facilitator’s role is then to:  Segment the community and initiate new projects  Preserve the knowledge  Exploit the residual identity of the community
    • Summary document Page 11 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The roles of the community members In the early days of a community, best practice also consists in identifying and distributing roles among the members. ROLES LEGITIMACY CONTRIBUTORS Produce content Take part in discussions MODERATOR Organises and stimulates debates Manages inter-personal relationships (conflicts of ideas) Motivates and leads EXPERTS Assist and enhance Confirm Enlarge, suggest new topics ADMINISTRATOR Organises day-to-day operations Manages resources Adapts tools (rights and access management ) MANAGER Leads the project Represents the community to other communities Takes responsibility for coordination with institutions and management Designs the tool and manages it on a daily basis SPONSOR Makes the project politically legitimate Carries the activity forward Steers the community’s objectives Showcases the community’s participants and results.
    • Summary document Page 12 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice Drawing up a community charter A community charter allows each community to clearly state its principles for sharing. The charter should deal with several key issues in community management:  Who belongs to the network?  What are people’s roles?  What commitments should members respect?  What are the community’s objectives?  What resources should members share? The community charter has a fundamental role by uniting the employees concerned in a common vision of their project. In short, for a community to work… To ensure member buy-in and to carry out its primary task, a community must bring together people with common concerns and similar interests. The work done within the community must provide genuine added value to its members in their day-to-day professional occupations. Finally, the facilitator’s role is crucial. He or she proposes operating rules that will encourage people to open up, listen, be generous to each other, and generally create a climate of confidence. To achieve the stated objectives while acknowledging the constraints, the facilitator will suggest effective activities and resources throughout the community’s life cycle. The facilitator’s task is also to prepare meetings between colleagues, summarise them and store the information exchanged. Last but not least the facilitator will also pinpoint members’ common needs and lead the working groups.
    • Summary document Page 13 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice BEST PRACTICE IN THE WORKPLACE Alstom Collaborative Way “A community network is ‘learning by sharing’” Alstom University set up the ACW (Alstom Collaborative Way) in 2008, based on 3 pillars: “People, Technology and Community Networks”. The purpose of this experimental laboratory is to gradually integrate collaboration and encourage knowledge sharing via communities that trigger the creation of synergies. The goal is to promote cross-functionality and exchanges between employees and consequently transcend functional, hierarchical, cultural and geographic barriers. Since they were established, community networks at Alstom have continued to develop. Which tools are the most and the least used on collaborative platforms? Corporate blogs have not been very successful. On the other hand, wikis are popular because they are easy to use. How do you encourage people to use a community? We have e-learning modules that explain to people how to use a community. We also organise informal occasions and events to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a community. I should stress how useful it is to have a sponsor in a community because sponsors have authority, and consequently are able to promote the community. What is the procedure for creating a community? The procedure takes place in five stages: constructing an identity, forming a group, defining the operating method (via a charter), mobilising resources, and finally launching the community officially. What media do you use to promote the use of communities? We use videos, “ambassador” kits, fluidbooks, community toolkits, e-learning modules, and dashboards. Walfa Chouki – Community Networks Manager Alstom is a world leader in power generation and transmission infrastructure, as well as in rail transport.
    • Summary document Page 14 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice Is there any follow-up once the community has been launched? One questionnaire is filled in at the halfway stage and another when the community closes down. Which best practice should be passed on to other companies? We drew up “Ten Commandments” for a successful community: 1. Have a well-known “sponsor” 2. Simplicity is the key to success 3. Buidling relations of trust takes time and sustained effort 4. People should learn from each other after sharing and collaborating 5. Start small and grow 6. Provide the community with the tools and support it needs 7. Promote face-to-face interaction as well as virtual dialogue 8. Manage, don’t control 9. The role of the community facilitator is vital 10. Each community must lay down its own rules. “The 4 Cs: Content, Collaboration, Community and Collective intelligence”
    • Summary document Page 15 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice Dan 2.0 for DANONE “2.0 collaboration around people empowerment” In 2003, Danone launched the “Networking Attitude” approach geared to sharing best practice and innovation among the group’s managers abroad and creating a networking culture around a business objective. The Networking Attitude approach triggered exchanges within the company about setting up discussion communities. Before trying to find a support tool for its Corporate Social Responsibility approach, Danone gathered information about the types of behaviour and methods that facilitate collaborative work, based on several key aspects:  Connecting people together to organise the sharing of best practice  Making collaboration easier  Promoting self-expression and empowerment  Encouraging innovation, which in turn encourages co-creation  Stressing speed, since people work faster together. Many communities were formed in the company between 2003 and 2008. In 2008, a tool based on a collaborative directory was put in place, combining all existing blogs, wikis and communities. What was your community approach? First you have to look at the context. Danone is a decentralised group and the entities and subsidiaries have a great deal of autonomy. So the aim was to connect people. The independent entities have to succeed in sharing best practice among themselves. From there we started with the premise that a 2.0 company has “zero constraints”. Within a community there is no hierarchy, and therefore no moderator. However, there must be a code of practice that explains how to use the communities and also states that anyone who posts a comment is responsible for it. We had to raise employee awareness. To do so, we presented the social networking concept as a culture with collaborative appeal. Nicolas Rolland – Director for Organisational Development Danone is a French agrifood group established in 1973. It has become a major international player in the production and marketing of fresh dairy products, water, baby nutrition and medicalised nutrition.
    • Summary document Page 16 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The presence of a sponsor is absolutely vital. I called on all the senior executives in Group Human Resources at executive committee level. It is also necessary to identify the key opinion leaders who have functional responsibilities and will subsequently enable me to identify key users who are the community managers. How did you approach the creation of communities? Creating a community must be easy. A simple request to create one should suffice. Once the community has been set up it should be tagged with a key word. The search engine will then identify any existing community dealing with the same issues. We designed a “See matching community” button that can be used to identify other communities that the user does not belong to but that have common interests. What was your marketing strategy for the community launches? We adopted a slightly unconventional approach called the “commando” method. This consisted in getting all the young people working at headquarters (interns and student trainees) to wear T-shirts with a bold logo and asking to circulate around the offices so that colleagues became aware of and learned about communities. If you want to make a successful launch, you need to create a buzz. So we started squatting every Danone event and manning a booth to inform people about the launch of a given community. Finally, we give everyone a flash drive containing all the videos, user’s guides and so on. That approach was designed for communities at headquarters. How do you reach those based elsewhere? We provide any interested entity with a kit containing a speech and a step-by-step method so that way they can learn how to successfully launch their community. “The concept is local; if it works, we go global”
    • Summary document Page 17 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice BEST PRACTICE IN THE CREDIT AGRICOLE GROUP MOCCA You currently lead two communities. Can you explain their purpose? We have two communities under SharePoint, each with a specific purpose. The first is the Mocca community, which promotes Group-wide deployment of Mocca services in collaborative areas. That is where the various company divisions find all the tools needed to set up a SharePoint community themselves. Tutorials and users’ guides are made available to help users get to grips with their area. Mocca also promotes help between members. It has an FAQ section where everyone can post questions or ask about any difficulties encountered and benefit from other members’ replies. There is no restricted access to this community; any one can log on and find out about the services on offer and the shared content. The second community follows on from the first one. We set up the Mocca Club, specifically designed for the managers and facilitators of SharePoint communities. The Mocca Club members meet in person four times a year to discuss best practices in community management and help develop our services offering. We hope that this second community will provide a platform for members to carry on with the discussions they started at Club meetings. How are these two communities led? The two communities exist in very different ways. The Mocca community is regularly consulted by users. To define the shared content, we meet every fortnight with the Mocca referrers in charge of tending to the communities. This kind of editorial committee also decides on the next action to take (e.g. user surveys, internal communications, etc.). In addition the community’s mutual help forum works very well. Previously, help was mainly provided by emails between the Mocca referrer and the user requesting assistance. Today we have a forum where answers can be shared transparently with all the users of the service. This promotes discussions between members. The Club community does not work quite so easily. We have observed that people are quite active and willingly participate during meetings, but that’s not really the case within the community. I think this is due to insufficient leadership on our part. Also, the community addresses a far smaller audience and the issues addressed are not directly related to the members’ core business. On that last point, we have observed that member participation is far more spontaneous and natural in the business-led communities we work with. For example, communities sharing best practice in enforcing banking Raphael Chassard – Head of Project Ownership and Collaborative Tools, IT Division Mocca facilitates internal and inter-entity collaboration for the entire Crédit Agricole Group.
    • Summary document Page 18 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice regulations such as Basel II are very lively. Their content relates to members’ day-to-day business and so people quickly understand the advantages of taking part. What factors are necessary for a community to succeed? First you have to spend time creating your community. You need to set a precise objective from the outset: to collaborate, co-construct or simply disseminate information. Next it is vital to identify just what the members will gain from the community. If your members don’t understand the value added, your community can’t exist. A recognized sponsor also helps legitimise your approach in relation to your members. Setting up an editorial plan enables you to determine the content and ensure that it develops over time. A facilitation/communications plan is very necessary, especially at the launch, to make your community known and to ensure that your members are consulted and collaborate with each other. It may be a good move to involve some of your members during the set-up phase. That way you can be sure they are interested in the content you want to share. It also encourages these people to use the community and helps them understand its value. They can then be the first contributors to your area and act as a staging point for the community’s facilitation and communication. When the community opens it is important to explain to the invited members exactly what they will find, how it is organised and how to use it. Collaborating through a community does not come naturally, so the change has to be managed. As I mentioned, you need to demonstrate the added value, if possible by positioning your community in relation to your users’ current everyday concerns (finding information, dealing with email overload, etc.). Furthermore you shouldn’t hesitate to organise virtual classes to help users find their way around the community. But a community’s success does not solely depend on the manager. The company’s cultural environment can help a great deal. Human Resources should be the engines for disseminating collaborative practice within a company, with obvious support at the highest possible level and assistance from management.
    • Summary document Page 19 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The Young Talents Community You lead a community called the Young Talents Community. Please explain. It’s a virtual exchange area for student trainees and interns working at the Crédit Agricole S.A. It is made available to promote experience-sharing and to create ties between members of the Young Talents community. It helps student trainees and interns get in touch with each other. The community is constructed around the working life cycle of student trainees and interns. There are sections with FAQs to help them integrate or provide information about the company. In addition there are also forums, blogs and micro-blogging sites to help them share information, formally or otherwise. The discussion area also has a calendar with all the company events as well as outside events relevant to internships or traineeships. Finally we have a special area with HR contacts and information about any available jobs to help users prepare for the next stage in their careers. Why did you set up the Young Talents Community? Two needs were expressed when we set up this community. The first was to allow student trainees and interns, who share the same values and lifestyle (for instance by dividing their time between school and work) to discuss similar problems. In fact, the community already existed physically, and the Young Talents Community was just a tool to make it easier to communicate. The second need was to have a special area in which the various departments in the company could communicate with student trainees and interns. They are regularly questioned about the company, take part in surveys or simply give their opinions on topics that concern them. How do the community members themselves perceive this initiative? We have carried out several surveys to find out how members perceive this community, and the results show that it is a total success. This is due to the fact that the individuals concerned belong to Generation Y. Moreover, the community provides an “innovative” perception of the Crédit Agricole Group. For the majority of members, this strengthens the feeling of belonging to the company. Having an area of their own in which they can debate and discuss is proof of the company’s commitment to student trainees and interns. It’s also proof of our trust in them, since they alone have access to the community. Benjamin Blard – in charge of HR Projects Human Resources Division The Young Talents Community is for all student trainees and interns working at Crédit Agricole S.A.
    • Summary document Page 20 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice What are the facilitation issues for this community? I’ve found two major difficulties in facilitating the Young Talents Community. The first is to find topics that interest all student trainees and interns. This is not a business-led or project-led community with pre-defined themes. The student trainees and interns work in very different departments within the company and so we cannot group them together around any one issue. The scope must be sufficiently broad to interest everyone. The second difficulty is getting the members to participate. As in any social network, the number of people who participate actively is fairly small. But they are obviously consumers of news, because almost a quarter log on daily. I have to be careful to suggest useful and relevant content, especially when dealing with information for new arrivals, since we don’t want to cannibalise existing intranets dealing with the subject. What are the next stages for this community? We are currently working on two projects. First we have to deal with the 2012-2013 school year. We are working with recruitment, communications and social reporting teams to prepare authorisations for new arrivals, and cancelling authorisations for trainees who have left the company. We have to work on content and try to meet the expectations of the new recruits as much as possible. We need to be creative and innovative so as to make an impact on new arrivals by means of a platform designed specially for them – something that most companies don’t have. The second area for development is to open up to the other subsidiaries. We have a Group-wide ambition for this community and hope that, in time, it will bring together all the Group’s student trainees and interns. That makes some 3,000 people in all! We therefore need to work on diversifying the content and arranging for the governance to be carried out alternately with the other subsidiaries. That’s our next challenge!
    • Summary document Page 21 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The Sustainable Development Community You lead the network of sustainable development correspondents in the Crédit Agricole group. Tell us more. The sustainable development community is a network of correspondents across all the Crédit Agricole group’s businesses. It has about 60 members from Crédit Agricole S.A. and its subsidiaries, in France and abroad, as well as some 40 correspondents from the Regional Banks. The community aims to integrate all the professions in the bank and make sure they aware of their own specific issues when setting their strategies. It also enables everyone to share best practice and allows Group colleagues with the same problems to get in touch with each other. What is the role of the Sustainable Development division? The Sustainable Development division acts as a coordinator that disseminates CSR strategy within the Group and provides some stimulus though its core strategies. It also coordinates, assists and advises all the entities with their sustainable development approach. Eventually we hope to act as a ringmaster for the community. We will continue to be the moderator and organise meetings, but participants would no longer necessarily need us if they want to discuss and collaborate either within or outside the community. What tools do you use to lead the community? Since the community was launched in 2002, our tools have changed in response to users’ needs and practices. We developed an intranet in 2006 that is open to all the Crédit Agricole S.A. employees as well as to the community. This allows management to disseminate information and make documents available internally. We added an e-room, that is to say a documentation-sharing tool for the Regional Bank correspondents. The aim was to facilitate cross-functional dialogue. That worked fairly well, but we are now replacing the e-room with a collaborative solution on SharePoint. It is not only open to correspondents but to all our colleagues working on sustainable development issues. This will put the emphasis on discussions between members. Last, we believe that leading a community also means meeting with its members, so we hold several get- togethers every year to review projects and best practices in the entities. These events allow the teams to meet and form useful ties throughout the year. Julie Bureth - CSR Reporting and Communications Manager, Sustainable Development Division, Crédit Agricole S.A.
    • Summary document Page 22 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice What are the challenges in leading this community? Like many communities, the biggest challenge lies in getting the correspondents to participate more actively and ensure that information flows easily between members. We need to create synergies and dialogue between them to bring them closer together and foster new ideas. Does the community affect what the entities do? At present we are seeing “healthy emulation” between members. When some of them progress, the others want to move forward too, triggering a virtuous circle. We encourage this, especially in the Regional Banks, by carrying out environmental surveys and producing a ranking that highlights the actions taken by each entity. What are the next stages for this community? We want to make sure that the community’s organisation and the Group’s global sustainable development strategy are understandable and transparent to its members. We will achieve this by implementing a formative policy (rather like FReD, our CSR) and activities to identify and share individual expertise.
    • Summary document Page 23 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The Community Managers’ Club You lead a community called the Community Managers’ Club. Can you explain what it is? The Community Managers’ Club is intended for colleagues working in communications and the Internet at the Crédit Agricole S.A. Group and its subsidiaries, both in France and abroad. The club focuses on topics such as e- reputation and social networking. This is a business-led community of practice for the purpose of sharing knowledge. It is managed by the Crédit Agricole S.A.’s Communications Division. Why launch this community and what are its main objectives? Community management was recently introduced into the corporate world, and an increasing number of employees are working on it. Several individual projects were launched as a result, so we decided to capitalise on those early experiences and highlight this fledgling expertise. Our objectives reflect those same considerations and are centered on sharing, learning and collaborating. The creation of a proper internal network has enabled us to spread information faster and more efficiently, and has given us a coordinated view of individual initiatives. We want the community to be a learning centre, so we invite web professionals to contribute and we capitalise on all the knowledge and feedback. We also have a collaborative objective: the community must enable people to think collectively about action to take and enable people to produce specific content together. How did you launch the community? The Community Managers’ Club was the result of a need perceived in the Communications Division and in several Group entities. We therefore started from the common desire to identify potential members and topics that we could broach in the club. When we launched the community, we brought together all the employees identified during a presentation meeting. The reasons for holding this meeting were to discuss goals, ways of collaborating and, above all, how to use the dedicated SharePoint software ware. We made the most of positive feedback from members to position the Club as a key forum for discussion on the issue. What tools are used to lead the community? The collaborative solution we chose is the backbone of the club. Here members can find a great deal of documentation as well as a database of useful links and tools for everyday use. A regular newsletter also highlights the latest content and contributions. It also helps us recruit new members thanks to the go-between role played by our colleagues. Sabrina Schmalstieg - Community Manager Communications Division, Crédit Agricole S.A.
    • Summary document Page 24 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice Furthermore we organise monthly meetings to promote our initiatives and allow members to speak. They are invited to submit their proposed topic and present their good practice, and these are key moments in the life of a community. What’s next for the community? We are now entering the mature phase. We hope to push the collaborative mindset still further by helping members share their knowledge and experience with a wider circle of employees. To do that, we will develop this collaborative tool by integrating a business community into “Com’On”, the SharePoint operated by the Communications business line. This community will be open to everyone working in communications at the Crédit Agricole S.A. Group.
    • Summary document Page 25 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The www. creditagricole.info platform You have been running the www.creditagricole.info website for the past three years. Can you briefly describe it and tell us about its objectives and target audience? www.creditagricole.info is a global web platform with a single entry point. It is first and foremost an information site for the Regional Banks directors and stakeholders, as well as for employees across the Group. In addition, it is open to institutional investors and opinion makers such as journalists, members of parliament and academics. The aim is to post public information on the Internet about recent events at Crédit Agricole and the Regional Banks. This platform also has an internal Web 2.0 area reserved for staff (and Regional Bank directors who file a request with their bank). It includes a social network and communities, or clubs. Group employees can discuss their careers and their areas of interest among themselves, and collaborate in online clubs either for the long term or for a one-off project. The key words for this unifying and interactive site are local presence and speed – practical information is just one click away. What sorts of communities are hosted on www.creditagricole.info? The clubs can be classified according to two families of criteria: the degree to which the membership is open and the community’s target. There are two membership categories: free access or controlled access. A free access club is accessible to all Group employees (and directors, on request to their Regional Bank) without prior authorisation, whereas a closed club requires the agreement of the community facilitator. The clubs are organised into four major families, depending on their target. 1. “High-status” clubs, reserved for Group management and which require specific management ranking to join. 2. “Business” clubs, which target people working in a specific business line in the Group who wish to share best practices. The clubs can have anything between 10 and 600 members, usually across France, who benefit from community members’ know-how through a Q&A system. 3. “Project” clubs attract all the people involved in a given project. These clubs last as long as the project itself and rarely for more than six months. This type of community relies on all the collaborative functions, and the project guideposts encourage members to dialogue constructively among themselves. Rodolphe Fleurance, deputy head of Publications and Multimedia at Fédération Nationale du Crédit Agricole (F.N.C.A)
    • Summary document Page 26 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice 4. “Company” clubs enable a Regional Bank to implement its corporate mission. A common online space is set up for all Regional Bank employees. The community can include working groups devoted to the corporate mission as well as discussion forums that help to transform the Regional Bank concerned. Do the www.creditagricole.info communities follow a common set of rules? Together we have drawn up a set of rules that all the clubs have to follow. First we ask anyone wanting to set up a club to prepare a letter of intent and we reserve the right to refuse a club if it does not comply with the following criteria: - a critical size of at least 10 people - a designated facilitator - a clearly identified target relative to the previous typology - relevance to existing communities - a professional relevance requiring 2.0 online collaboration Once we have approved the community, it can be set up very quickly – in just half an hour. We then train the community facilitator who will be in charge of managing his back office. Since there are a limited number of functionalities, the facilitator can charge by receiving phone instructions. Operating manuals are also available on line. In addition to the initial training given to the facilitator, we provide all community members with a telephone and email hotline service. We devote all our communications and educational efforts to promoting the use of these clubs. What tools are used to lead these communities? You need to be aware that facilitating a club demands a constant flow of recent and authorised content. Managing this content takes a great deal of time, and is not done by a tool but by the facilitator! Since our business is communications, we can advise on the nature of the content to put forward. We work for a Group whose core values include operating at grass-roots level. We try to have personal, human contact with all community members via our phone and email hotline, and we keep in regular contact with the facilitators. A club facilitator can choose to send email newsletters to all community members. The degree of member contribution to a club varies but, by default, each individual may add to the schedule, publish news items, comment on them, launch or take part in a discussion, add to the library or comment on a document. We may also launch one-off surveys or more comprehensive ones. We also have a community of our own, an e-liaison club open to all members, which disseminates information about open communities and provides an initial example of facilitation. What are the forthcoming developments for the www.creditagricole.info platform? We have an educational project to get employees more used to collaborative work and strengthen interaction among the clubs. This familiarisation effort requires, and will continue to require, considerable involvement by the Group’s management and senior executives. The transformation will occur slowly but surely – as surely as email took over from faxes within a decade!
    • Summary document Page 27 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice The Customer Centricity Project Community You are involved in LCL’s Customer Centricity transformation project. Why did you decide to create an online employee community for this project? One of the main goals of the Customer Centricity project is to increase customer satisfaction and help employees on an everyday basis. To do this, we have changed our managerial and sales practices to take customers’ needs fully into account. We had already created a physical community of 350 employees who experimented during the first half of 2013 with our new customer-centred practices. From this, we found it natural to make their work easier by building a website with content aimed specifically at them. We wanted an interactive site to better answer their questions, create stronger bonds between them and assess their use of new practices. We also have a community of 138 ambassadors. All over France, they speak for their colleagues any topic where there is room to improve our networks’ everyday operations. We began to see the obvious need to set up a dedicated website. Where does this community fit into your plan? The community is an integral part of our plan to develop and spread the Customer Centricity project, because it hosts all the training modules to be rolled out to LCL’s sales network. We initially imagined and built the community around document-sharing. It started out with about a dozen document areas, plus a discussion forum in a secondary position and non-interactive FAQs. But we quickly realised that this “documentary” architecture did not promote direct communication among the community members, nor did it increase the number of regular visits to the site. So we decided to move the discussion forum centre-stage and appoint a community manager to keep the discussion going and moderate exchanges between members. This paradigm shift helped us to boost traffic to over 61 individual connexions daily, a respectable tally for the community’s 350 members. Tell us a little more about the Community Manager’s role in developing the community? The Community Manager’s role was primary in building up the community’s use to make it a true working tool. The Community Manager sets the tone, reminds everyone of the rules and helps forge the link between the online community and the real world. We decided to base the rules on user-friendliness and professionalism, the same as for our sales network. The Community Manager promotes an editorial style that is neither corporate speak nor text language. The aim is not to post a lot of documentation, but to indicate people or documents that could provide the needed answers. Lionel Leroy, Head of the Customer Centricity project at LCL’s Strategy department
    • Summary document Page 28 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice What methods and tools is the Community Manager using to run these communities? The Community Manager systematically sends a welcome email to each new user. New queries, discussions and blogposts also generate emails inviting participation. Each participant receives a daily summary of all new discussions on the forum. If a question goes unanswered for too long, the Community Manager may contact the expert or experts directly. The Community Manager regularly conducts telephone surveys to find out how people are using the site and what improvements they would like to see. After a few months or a year, are you satisfied with what the community of ambassadors has contributed to your project? After four months, the two communities we lead have hosted 131 discussions, 225 new topics and 95 active members, those who contributed to the forum at least once. These communities have a lot to teach us about promoting participation. To mention three key success factors: the online community should be built for a definite purpose; as soon as it is launched, we should determine whether it is really meeting users’ needs; and throughout its life, we must check that the content is changing to meet members’ expectations. What’s next for these communities? And broadly, for the Customer Centricity project? The community of ambassadors will maintain its initial objective: help network employees in their everyday work life. The community’s 350 employee-members are experiencing the new sales and management practices (networks, Private Banking, e-LCL, Welcome Online Customers and more). It must grow to become “The LCL Community”. Other new communities based on business lines will also be launched.
    • Summary document Page 29 – June 2013 – HR Expertise: Communities of Practice REFERENCES Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Institut National des Techniques de la Documentation, Thesis: “Créer et animer des communautés de pratique”. E-book: “Démystifier le gestionnaire de communauté au Québec” Livre Blanc: les communities de pratique - Analyse d’une nouvelle forme d’organisation et panorama des bonnes pratiques-Knowings http://poncier.org/blog/ http://collaboratif-info.fr/ Stan Garfield: http://stangarfield.googlepages.com/ http://www.indexel.net/management/reseaux-sociaux-d-entreprise-deux-experiences-a-mediter-2888.html "Communities Manifesto" by Stan Garfield at http://docs.google.com/View?id=ddj598qm_44fx54rbg5 "Communities of practice: a brief introduction" by Etienne Wenger at http://www.ewenger.com/theory/ "Communities for knowledge management" by Steve Denning at http://www.stevedenning.com/communities_knowledge_management.html "10 Critical Success Factors in Building Communities of Practice" by Richard McDermott at http://www.knowledgeboard.com/lib/3465 "A bibliography on communities of practice" by CPsquare and com-prac at http://cofpractice- biblio.wikispaces.com/ "Books for Community Building" by Michael Burns at http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/2CBSJVLYZCG9F/ "Communities of Practice Resources" by Fred Nickols at http://home.att.net/~discon/KM/CoPs.htm "Caterpillar Communities of Practice: Knowledge is Power" by Sue Todd at http://www.corpu.com/newsletter06/cat.asp http://www.slideshare.net/poncier/sg-i-expo-juin-2010