The Corona pandemic has caused quite a stir in our everyday working lives: working from home, video conferencing, digital workplaces, and Social Intranets are just some of the terms that have reached even the furthest corners of the working world in recent months. In order to remain productive and keep the damage as minimal as possible, many companies that had previously had nothing to do with digitalization or digital transformation have now introduced a variety of systems. Googled it, bought it, and away they went. There was no time to lose. A great thing for the system providers – rather difficult for those who have to use the system in the end: How does this actually work? Who is my contact in case of problems? What can I do and what can’t I do? Why a new tool now?
And after a few days, those responsible in the company will ask themselves whether the introduced system should be used in its entirety without getting out of hand. After all, we have had guidelines and specifications concerning corporate behavior and corporate communication for years:
“Like and comment… can you turn that off?”
“Why do our non-desk workers actually need a profile? Oh, we’ll create user terminals later – saves money too. As long as production is at a standstill, the employees concerned do not need any information.”
“But we would like to prevent any use via Smartphone.”
“Can we please turn off the chat? They should be working, not chatting.”
“Does everyone really have to be in the system?”
And so, even in times of crisis, no hasty decisions should be made. Because, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And when the first impression, the first experience with something new, goes awry, it becomes difficult in retrospect to set the wheels straight and actually bring the system introduced to life.
So there are some points that should be considered from experience to make the “Social Intranet Project” a real success. The following questions can influence the preparation. Because many things can – but not all have to:
Which solution suits my company?
How can a selected solution be rolled out efficiently and effectively?
How will employees be trained?
How do you set up a Digital Workplace?
Where are we currently in the digitalization process and how much do we need to change? Are we ready to go in this direction?
Which functions should be available and what needs do our employees have? How can the system be applied here?
What happens to the solution AFTER the crisis?
And above all: Can we evolve as an organization, and how does the chosen system help us do so?
Ideally, the stages listed below should be thought through before a new system is introduced:
It becomes clear that the introduction of a Social Intranet is not just an IT project, but rather a topic for organizational development – it is about change management. The question arises as to whether one simply wants to digitalize or rather to initiate a digital transformation. For some people, the difference in terminology may be insignificant or even unimportant. However, when it comes to your company and, above all, your corporate strategy, you should pay attention to the terms – because pure digitalization and a digital transformation are worlds apart.
“Digital transformation is the key”
Nowadays, digitalization is almost compulsory – especially in the current situation. Digital transformation is the key. If you “only” digitalize, you are more or less on the safe side – a little chatting and a little video conferencing should not be a big problem. However, you run the risk of being left behind by your competitors who have recognized digital transformation as an opportunity for themselves. So take the time to take a close look at your company and your processes – so that the future belongs to you, your products, and your services. Because change will always come, sooner or later.
Change Management – One concept, many models
It is therefore not surprising that there are various models that shed light on change management, make it tangible, and, as a result, provide suggestions for possible organizational development. Frederic Laloux, for example, describes in his book “Reinventing Organizations” what a new evolutionary stage of organizational development could look like. We are already seeing characteristics of this in some successful companies today. As different as the individual existing forms of organization are, the Social Intranet Project is also approached in at least as many different ways.
According to Laloux, companies, for example, are organized in an archaic manner like street gangs and armies, in a modern manner like a typical corporation, and in a postmodern pluralistic manner like some start-ups. Each of these structures follows its own laws and has, therefore, led to breakthroughs in the past. For example, formal roles were created by the army, modern companies brought the principle of performance and innovation to the scene, and postmodern organizations are committed to empowerment and a values-based culture. Each level made it possible to solve more complex tasks. For Frederic Laloux, the highest level of organization is an “integral evolutionary organization“. This means: self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary sense.
Ready for change?
Of course, not every company will be able to become the king of creation, but individual aspects and success factors are definitely applicable. Each company should objectively assess what stage of development it is currently in and whether there is a common consensus to move up to the next level – along with all the changes that this entails.
In our view, organizational development should form the conceptual foundation for the project. For this, the focus is on the empowerment of the individual. The system is largely understood as a tool with which change is made possible and specifically brought about. It is essential that all relevant departments pull together when it comes to organizational development: IT, internal corporate communications, and management. The actual goal should basically be to integrate a platform that is actually useful, that users like to use, and that can be used to perform everyday work in the best possible and, above all, efficient way.
WORK OUT LOUD
Textbooks and personal experience show various catalysts (methods) that promote change within a company and that, above all, can be implemented within the new system.
WOL is a self-learning method based on the mentality of cooperation:
Find: Find relevant people and content
Share: Share your work where others can see it and benefit from it
Make: Let it become a routine in your daily work
Give: Interact – share, comment, and network with colleagues
Real collaboration through transparent networking outside of your comfort zone.
COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE is composed of entrants who work on similar tasks and have an interest in expanding their knowledge in this field through an informational exchange with the other participants. The aim is the exchange of ideas between experts on a specific subject area in order to optimize existing practices, learn new practices, and share experiences.
Independent solution for complex requirements – through communication, networking, and continuous exchange. Basically all these catalysts/methods have the following in common:
Which platform and which method you ultimately choose is, of course, up to you. But crisis or no crisis – see it as a chance to think things over and to optimize what’s already there. And if this is not an incentive – you can currently still see it as a competitive advantage. Because change is underway. And it is better to face it prepared.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” (Charles Robert Darwin).
Recognize the potential of strategically controlled freedom and invest the time in creating it. With the right software and the right method, your individual strategic goals can be achieved in the best possible way – and at the same time, the motivation, satisfaction, and commitment of your employees can be increased many times over. Recognize your employees as one of the most important resources and come out on top in the “war for talents”.