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Social intranets represent a cultural change at the company. Different people deal with change differently.
What matters is to support and accompany employees on the change journey. We will show you what points you should consider when carrying out a change project.
Technology alone is not enough. The new internal communication has to be embraced. This is the only way that a digital home (in the form of an intranet) can grow sustainably and establish itself. The corporate culture is the key pillar of a successful social intranet. The aim is to achieve lasting change and acceptance at the company, with employees motivated and empowered in the long term. A cultural shift takes time. The time needed to change habits. The time needed for new behaviors to take root in employees’ minds.
The challenge in this regard is to connect with all the various employee groups: whether opponents, skeptics, those who are neutral or plan to “wait and see,” or active supporters. A key role is played by the multipliers, who set a good example and support you in your endeavors.
What does that actually mean?
The corporate culture influences how employees respond to the social intranet, and vice versa. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the status quo, question the corporate culture and, if necessary, adapt it before starting the project. What should internal communication be like in the future? What values should be conveyed to the workforce? Dialog with executives is a key aspect during the project phase.
A vision and a rethink in terms of communication are also important building blocks, moving away from top-down communication to bottom-up communication. This means disseminating information from different parts of the company instead of just cascading it down from above. A formulated vision for the social intranet is crucial to gaining employee acceptance and understanding. After all, you have a good reason for launching a social intranet – so communicate the aims and objectives of the project to your employees in order to prepare them for the upcoming change.
Change takes time. Employees are continuously faced with change and innovation in their day-to-day working lives. It is often forgotten that “your own team” needs time to understand and accept the change. You shouldn’t try to change too much, too quickly. Change isn’t a project with a set deadline. It’s an ongoing process.
What does that actually mean?
Get your colleagues on board as soon as possible and inform them of the upcoming change. Emphasize the benefits of the new social intranet and communicate as transparently as possible – after all, the social intranet is supposed to benefit users and be an enjoyable experience. The earlier employees are informed and the better they understand the benefits, the sooner they will accept the new social intranet.
From the employees’ point of view, transparent communication is the be-all and end-all when it comes to change processes. When introducing a social intranet, this means presenting the specific benefits and ways in which a social intranet can simplify everyday working life. This is also important in terms of gaining multipliers for your project.
Are there any current problems that could be solved?
Consider the specific usage scenarios that are relevant to your target groups. Not every employee has the same workday, which means that different employees will use the social intranet in different ways.
A social intranet doesn’t just add value for the workforce. It’s a great source of feedback for you, as the person in charge. You get closer to your employees, allowing you to identify their interests and find out what information they are looking for. This is important in terms of providing the employees with interesting and relevant information in the future.
A rocky road lies ahead if you go it alone. Look for supporters within the company. First and foremost, executives are an important part of the change project, so get the leadership team on board as soon as you can. Here, it is imperative to provide them with a summary of the benefits of the social intranet for the company and the teams within it. At the same time, a social intranet should further the corporate goals.
Multipliers will remain a key success factor as the project progresses. They reassure the employees and bolster acceptance. When they see active role models, employees lose their inhibitions about using the new medium.
Eight questions that you should ask yourself:
- How can old ways of thinking be discarded?
- Why does the new social intranet make sense?
- In which areas does the social intranet support collaboration?
- How can a social intranet support employees in their day-to-day working lives?
- What specific usage scenarios apply to each target group?
- How can employees’ concerns about the changeover be dispelled?
- How does a social intranet further the corporate goals?
- How can executives be brought on board?