The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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Social Media in the enterprise – best practice #4

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Speaking about a client who never got anything done, an associate of mine once told me, “they are too in love with the process.”  TOC (the other systematic) stated in best practice #3 that governance is critical in the implementation and management of social medias in the enterprise.  I have to agree.  In fact, I’d generally say that governance is essential to the implementation of just about anything.  I must say however, that I love TOC’s “corollary” statement.  If too little is bad, so is too much.

When it comes to social media, the philosophy here is that a group of people with common interests should be allowed to go in whatever directions they feel they need to in order to collaborate or innovate effectively.

Like raising a child, there’s a responsibility to set a foundation that supports positive and healthy growth but one must step back and not interfere – most of the time. Groups will ultimately define their own priorities and tone, and to be valuable to itself and ultimately to the enterprise they shouldn’t be meddled with.  ((Systematic Viewpoints.  October 15, 2007.  “Social Media in the enterprise – best practice #4.”))

Here, it’s quite evident that too much structure and control over the process will limit their ability and comfort in communicating through this media.

Overly visible ‘management’ will almost certainly stifle open discourse, and that is the opposite of the exact value proposition that social media holds. With all the thought, care and consideration given to establishing an appropriate medium for collaboration and discourse it will be hard to step back and let this nascent environment develop according to it’s own needs.

While rules are important to govern interactions that may take on a life of their own, allowing the group some autonomy is really important.  It may have been TOC who wrote about a discussion group that had been implemented and quickly went too far down the road of negative and offensive conversations between co-workers.  Creating guidelines here is important, but creating too many guidelines may create long term negative adoption rates for the technology.  Knowing where the line is to stop creating guidelines is the harder feat.  The key for governance is to tread lightly and not go too far.  Here is one case where allowing more flexibility is better than not.

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