The Company Meeting

Part 3 of the Social Business For Real Work series

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The Challenge

Companies with employees distributed around the world find it hard to schedule a time for “all hands” company meetings – it always results in an inhospitable timezone for many employees. Even smaller companies can struggle to find a time when everyone is available, especially if employees are often out of the office visiting customers.

The Social Business Advantage

  • An enterprise social network can host an online, interactive, asynchronous meeting. A video recording of the presentations can be made available to all employees to watch when it is convenient, and these can be combined with questions from the audience before, during and after the event.
  • These are often far more effective than live Q&A sessions, because as well as reaching more employees, they give greater opportunity for both questions and answers to be more carefully considered.
  • This more open, transparent approach to company meetings makes employees feel better engaged and more motivated.

Example

With employees in US, Europe and Asia, the company has decided to hold its quarterly meeting online in the enterprise social network. The HR team creates a community for the meeting and posts the details for those people in the US office who are able to attend in person.

In advance of the meeting, the agenda is published, and employees have an opportunity to provide feedback on additional topics they would like covered.

The meeting is recorded, and after a quick bit of editing, the IT team post the video in the community. Employees in Europe and Asia are able to watch the recording and review the presentations when they get into the office the next day. US employees who are out of the office can watch it on their mobile devices.

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The HR team also schedules two online Q&A sessions that fit with the European and Asian working days. Carmen, the VP of Products, goes through the discussion forums and activity stream in the community answering questions raised before and during the Q&A sessions.

Make It Real

  • Create a community for each meeting
  • Prior to the event, use it to post logistics details and to solicit suggestions about the agenda and topics to cover.
  • Record the presentations, with particular attention to capturing good quality audio – although video gives a sense of “being there”, the audio is more important to following what’s going on in the meeting.
  • Publish the presenters’ slides to the community, as it can hard to record video of both the slides and presenter well.
  • Ensure the recording is in a format accessible to as wide a range of devices as possible – many conferencing applications record in an awkward, proprietary format that doesn’t work well on mobile devices.
  • Encourage employees who watch the recording to post their questions, and ensure that the presenters make some time available to respond, either asynchronously or in a scheduled online Q&A session.

A New Employee’s First Day

Part 2 of the Social Business For Real Work series

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The Challenge

Starting a new job can be a daunting experience. New employees are usually bombarded with information but are still often left with lots of unanswered questions. And existing employees are left wondering who this new person is that they haven’t been introduced to.

The Social Business Advantage

  • A dedicated community for new starters helps people joining the company access all the policy and procedure documentation they need, and digest it at the right time.
  • It also provides a place to ask any questions they have, and see what other new starters have asked.
  • A well-constructed welcome community can convey the company culture far more effectively than traditional induction meetings.
  • Member profiles enable other employees to find out about new starters and what they are working on.

Example

It’s Carol’s first day at the company in her new job as a marketing manager. The HR team adds her as a member to the company enterprise social network, and invite her to the “Start Here” community. As well as containing the usual policies and procedure documents, it helps Carol get a much greater sense of company culture.

The welcome message from the CEO sets out the company’s vision. The HR Director’s welcome guides new starters towards other useful resources and communities in the network, including the “Employee Library” which holds a wider range of procedure documents.

Before she started at the company, Carol had a vacation already booked. She can’t find details about how to book vacation days, so asks in the forum. The HR team monitors this forum regularly to ensure everything gets answered.

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One of Carol’s first tasks is to set up her member profile page. This is a useful exercise in learning how to use the enterprise social network, providing a checklist of getting started items and making suggestions on content, communities and network members to follow. It also helps existing employees find out who Carol is, and what she’s going to be working on.

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Make It Real

  • Create a induction community for all new starters.
  • When new members are added to the network, don’t add them to too many communities straight away. Direct them towards the new starter community, and use this to lead them towards other important areas of the network.
  • Ask senior managers to contribute welcome messages to the community, and keep them up to date.
  • Encourage new starters to ask “dumb newbie” questions in the starter community, to avoid cluttering other parts of the network. Keep these forums so that subsequent new starters can learn from them.
  • Ensure the HR team regularly checks the new starter forums to ensure questions get answered.
  • Assign tasks to new starters for any items where explicit confirmation of completion is required (e.g. agreement to key policies).
  • Make sure all new employees fill out their member profile, including a bit of information about themselves and what they’ll be working on.

Choosing The Right Candidate

Part 1 of the Social Business For Real Work series

sbrw1The Challenge

When hiring new employees in distributed organisations, it’s increasingly common for candidates to have multiple phone or Skype interviews with people from across the company. Collecting the feedback from each interviewer for each candidate often leads to chaotic mass of email communication, making it hard for everyone to see each other’s opinion.

The Social Business Advantage

  • Private, invitation-only communities allow HR, the hiring manager and other interviewers quick access to all information about the role, hiring guidelines and resumes of candidates. They can use the community to give feedback about each candidate, safe in the knowledge that this remains confidential.
  • Members of the team who work remotely or travel often retain access to the hiring process wherever they are, via mobile applications.
  • If, in the future, it becomes necessary to justify the hiring decision to people not involved at the time, a full record of the discussions leading to the decision can easily be made available simply by inviting other people to the community.

Example

Paris is the Marketing Director. She is hiring a new marketing manager who will support the sales teams in US, Europe and Asia, so she wants the Sales Directors for each of the regions to also interview the candidates.

Pam is the HR Director, and she facilitates the recruitment process by creating an private community to which she invites Paris and the Sales Directors. She uploads the resumes of each of the candidates, the job description and she posts the interview schedule. She also shares the hiring guidelines document with this community.

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As each interview takes place, feedback is left in the community. Brad, the European Sales Director, was delayed prior to his interview with one of the candidates, but using the mobile app, he is able to get access to all the necessary documentation while he is out of the office, and can provide his feedback.

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The team all agree that one candidate clearly stands out, and recommend that Carol is hired. Using a predefined task template from HR, Paris submits an approval request to hire Carol. This is a two-step process requiring first HR due diligence and reference checking, then final CEO approval.

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Making It Real

  • Create a private, invitation-only community for each vacancy you are interviewing for. These communities should typically be managed by HR to ensure consistency in the hiring process. Invite the hiring manager and other interviewers. You need to ensure the community is private and cannot be accessed by any uninvited members. For some particularly confidential hiring processes (for example, replacing an employee who is still in place), it is also important to ensure that the community is even not visible to other network members.
  • Upload the candidate resumes, job description, and other hiring guidelines. Hiring guidelines should usually be stored centrally in an HR community, not uploaded separately into each hiring community. This is to ensure that any updates are automatically propagated to all hiring teams, and no one is left with out of date policies.
  • Ask each of the interviewers to provide feedback on each candidate by adding a comment to their resume.
  • It may also be useful to start discussion forums if the interviewers need any clarification of the job requirements, and for an exchange of views of which candidate should be chosen.
  • Use tasks to complete the process by going through the formal approval stages.