Make fun of my website choices if you must, but this is my routine. This is my habit.
I became keenly aware of the habits we create for ourselves when rolling out a Yammer enterprise social network at my organization. “What makes you think I want another place to check every day” was one of the very first pieces of feedback I heard. “Why can’t we use email? I already check that every day.”
Every change in our lives require us to adopt a new set of habits. If I get a new car, I need to develop new habits to operate the radio. If I move into a new house, I need to develop new habits to leave for work every day. If my computer operating software is updated, I may very well need to develop new habits to retrieve files and use the internet. I develop these new habits because I must. If I don’t, I can’t leave the house, I can’t work my computer, I can’t listen to music in my car.
Successful adoption of Yammer, or any enterprise social network, requires a change of habit as well. If network users create habits to regularly review network activity to make meaningful contributions, network activity and engagement will grow.
1. Embrace Email
Strategically use email to bring users to your network. Don’t email actual content, but rather email compelling reasons for users to return to your network along with links to specific groups, conversations and resources.
2. Ignore Email
For the sake of item 3, ignore item 1. When a user is frustrated, or just does not care, and asks you to email them the info rather than them having to check the network, don’t do it. As the network administrator, you would just reinforcing an old habit without helping to create a new habit. Just say no. Email them a link to the content they want in your network, but if the content is mailed to the users with the loudest complaints, they will have no reason to use your enterprise network.
3. Bookmarks, Shortcuts and Reminders
Encourage users to bookmark networks and/or groups in their web browsers. Create desktop or task bar shortcuts. Put a reminder in Outlook to check the network every day. Anything that can prompt a user to check the network will help to reinforce habits that will ensure .
4. Use it
Don’t expect your colleagues to use your platform if you don’t. Realize the benefits of incorporating your platform into your daily routine. Show how it can work. Set the example. Change your own habits before you expect other people to change their habits.
5. What Would Work for You?
Imagine you are one of users. You want easy access to content. You want to be able to connect to colleagues. You want what you want, and you want it now. When you are trying to convince colleagues to use your online space for communication and collaboration, do so with empathy and understanding. Your colleagues will see that you understand their needs, and will be much more likely embrace change.
With a little patience and empathy, network administrators will see network activity and engagement grow. Be patient. Remember, we open up email every day when we get into work and on our phones because that is our habit. We can create new habits, we can support our work in new ways.