Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Push them into it: Forced Participation

Greetings Folks,

So that title is perhaps a bit provocative and maybe just a bit over the top.

The basic premise however, remains sound. A system made to collect; catalog and harness the knowledge of your employees as they move about your organization will not succeed if people do not participate within the system.

Due to data privacy concerns, no matter how intelligent you design the system to capture the data, people will have to opt into it or it could be a serious detraction when attracting fresh talent to the organization. So how do you encourage the use of said system?

I recently began playing with the build-your-own social network platform Ning. I built a whole community surrounding Learning2.0. (you can check it out by going to if you want) but, the point is that, shockingly, no one has joined it!

Seriously though, the reason no one uses it is because no one knows about it. Getting people to use any new system is primarily a marketing exercise. Here is a very common approach to getting people to use anything new. Many times, implementation teams will use a few of these concepts but the best results occur when you use them all.

  • Advertise the system to your employees! Leverage:
    • Email campaigns
    • Brown Bag lunches.
    • Blogs, Discussion Forums.
    • Company Intranet or Portal advertising.
  • It needs to have C-level sponsorship and endorsements
    • CEO should be aware and support it.
    • CLO or COO should be the primary driver behind it.
  • It needs to be tied to their personal income.
    • Set solid metric for expected participation. (3 flagged items per day?)
    • Include it in job specific goals.
    • Set metrics for usage. (read 2 entries a day?)

These methods won’t exactly force them to use it, but it will go a long way in encouraging they do.

As always I encourage your thoughts and comments.

- Matt