Overcoming the Fear: What C-Level execs are afraid of when it comes to social intranets
Let’s face it, the biggest hurdle to overcome with a social intranet is often pure fear. The C-level can be hopelessly gunshy about employees displaying the slightest about of intranet-sanctioned social humanity. The idea of a social network behind the firewall wakes them up in a cold sweat at night. Where did this fear come from? And can it be overcome?
Presented by Deane Barker at the Social Intranet Summit 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
1. Lack of Social FiltersThere are people who haven’t beenindoctrinated into the social norms of theorganizationNew hiresNew professionals
2. ProductivityLess concerned with actual productivity lossMore concern with the perception ofproductivity lossImplied message: it’s okay to do other stuffduring company time
3. ConfidentialityInformation in an organization operates atgraduated levels of securityIf the default mode is “share,” too much endsup getting shared“Forward-looking statements”
4. Diffusion of Official CommunicationHow can an employee evaluate the“officialness” of multiple communicationchannels?How can employees determine what theyshould be accountable for?
5. Trails of DiscoverabilitySarbanes–OxleyEvery communication is inherently taxed bya “burden of discoverability”
6. “Concerted Activities”National Labor Relations Act protects unionorganizing activitiesEmployees are protected whenever theycollaborate to improve the terms of theiremploymentEfforts to censor this may be illegal
7. Mob MentalityIf one person complains, everyone willcomplainUnspoken critiques of the organizationshould stay unspoken, lest they multiply
Broken Window Theory Image by Flickr user “GloomyCorp”
Organizational Surface Tension Image by Andre Roberto Doreto Santos
8. Asymmetrical UsageSome people will communicate a lotSome people won’t communicate much…orwell.What value judgments will people draw fromthis?
The Benefit Must Be SoldAll organizational communication carriesriskAny attempt to broaden communication hasto have a larger benefit than the inherent risk
LocalizeDecision makers were much more receptiveto inter-team/unit communication thanorganization-wide communicationCommunication needs contextLocalization breeds context
Promote Respect for NormsTie the ability to contribute to time in theorganizationAccess and privileges expand with timeelapsed from DOH
Leverage Your Vendor’s Experience There’s a tendency to pretend irrational reasons don’t exist Be honest with your vendor, even if it’s embarrassing Ask what other customers have done to overcome these issues