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Can you change behaviour with technology?

At the DWG Technology and Research Institute we are working to evolve and improve our offerings that will help organizations on their technology evaluation journeys. In our latest Technology Exchange, we borrowed the successful “VOP3: Voice of the Practitioner” format from our DWG Institute Technology Labs, where we hear from practitioners about their successes, challenges and what they wish technology providers would better understand.

We also experimented with a new optional “Overtime” feature, where we extended the discussion for those who wanted to take a deeper dive into the topics that had arisen during the preceding hour. We are now processing feedback from participants on the Exchange to help us make these sessions even better.

Our Technology Exchanges explore relevant and interesting digital workplace topics as well as cutting-edge technologies. In the latest session we covered the fascinating subject of “Technology-driven behaviour change”. Can applications and data help to drive better working patterns? Does technology drive behaviour? What do cutting-edge solutions that try to do this look like?

To explore this issue we were joined by two leading and well-established technology providers: TemboSocial, which produces employee recognition software that can integrate with your existing intranet and digital workplace; and Swoop Analytics, a leading provider of social networking and relationship-based analytics. We were also joined by customers of both platforms, who showed us the software in action.

Our sincere thanks go to:

  • Steven Green, CEO, TemboSocial
  • Dr Laurence Lock Lee, Co-Founder, Swoop Analytics
  • Chris Cucci, Enterprise Community Manager, Ricoh USA
  • Naomi Souza, Director of Presence and Assets, RealFoundations

Here are seven key takeaways from the session.

1. How do we tackle the next stage of adoption and use?

In our Voice of the Practitioner section, we heard from Chris Cucci from Ricoh USA and Naomi Souza from RealFoundations. Both highlighted respective successes in the digital workplace in breaking down silos and enabling successful remote working; however, both wanted to continue to extend adoption or drive deeper behavioural change.

With the rapid advances made in the digital workplace due to the pandemic, this feels like a situation many digital workplace and intranet teams find themselves in. Teams have successfully driven up the numbers of people using collaboration tools and digital channels, but what now? How do we extend the value of the tools and embed deeper changes? The insights from this Technology Exchange feel particularly relevant for this time.

2. Accessing recognition from multiple systems lowers barriers to adoption

TemboSocial is an employee recognition platform that helps to improve employee experience, talent retention and productivity. Walking us through the platform, Steven Green explained that the platform helps make employee recognition (both peer-to-peer and top-down) more visible and accessible.

One thing that stood out for us is that TemboSocial is available via multiple different applications – the intranet, Outlook, Yammer and Teams; this means that employee recognition can be very much part of the everyday experience. The feed displayed can also be contextual to targeted pages or Active Directory groups, so is relevant. The combination of the ability to integrate TemboSocial in different tools and targeted feeds lowers many of the barriers to adoption that you might get with a separate platform. It also potentially reduces costs and even the need to extensively involve IT.

3. Employee recognition programmes can provide tangible business value

For some, employee recognition programmes can seem like a “nice to have” with mainly intangible benefits around culture change and engagement. While these are certainly softer benefits, Steven explained that there are also some clear examples of tangible business value:

  • When employee recognition is formally tied to company values and the related behaviours that drive business success, the stories and examples that are surfaced can inspire and encourage these behaviours from others. This can have a real-world impact on customer service, for example.
  • Employee recognition can be tied to formal skills. Through peer recognition, this means you effectively build up a knowledge base of people with recognized skills and experiences, which can then be very useful for processes such as expert location or even building project teams.
  • An employee recognition feature that is integrated with an intranet can also help drive intranet adoption.

4. An employee recognition programme can make a big company feel smaller

During the Technology Exchange, we heard from Chris Cucci, Engagement Community Manager, Ricoh USA, about the company’s experiences with TemboSocial. The tool is integrated with the intranet and has been operating for a number of years. Unusually, the employee recognition feed takes up two thirds of the Ricoh USA homepage, as well as appearing on different departmental pages, so is very prominent and highly visible. Chris explained how this had consistently been very popular with employees and contains both peer recognition and feedback from customers. Managers are also notified when an employee in their team is featured.

The benefits for Ricoh USA have been numerous and include encouraging strong customer service by surfacing inspiring behaviours, driving connections between people, breaking down siloes by providing visibility of what different functions are doing, and supporting an employee-centric culture. At Ricoh USA, employee recognition is very much “part of the everyday” and has “made a big company feel smaller”.

5. Relationship data can reveal rich insights for individuals

SWOOP Analytics has been working on social network analysis for nearly 15 years, both as a consulting company and now through its analytics platform; so far, it has tended to work with larger organizations. Dr Laurence Lock Lee explained that these more complex organizations often struggle to find out what is really going on, but strong insights can be revealed through the interactions and relationships that happen every day on networking tools like Teams, Yammer and Workplace from Facebook.

What is unusual is that SWOOP does not just produce management insights but also reveals rich insights for individuals about their online relationships and digital behaviour, effectively “democratizing” analytics. In fact, the SWOOP dashboard that Laurence showed is mindboggling in its detail, revealing a variety of fascinating insights into everything from relationships, mentions and diversity, to responses, collaboration, and more.

6. Personas can prove to be a powerful “nudge” tool for behaviours

A popular feature of the SWOOP platform is the five personas that demonstrate different types of behaviour. Based on analysis of an individual’s interactions, the platform categorizes each individual into one of five personas:

Engager: someone who actively connects people.

Catalyst: someone who makes things happen.

Responder: a “care giver” who responds to others.

Broadcaster: someone who broadcasts but is less responsive.

Observer: someone who is mainly passive online.

These personas provide a tangible and engaging model for people to observe and think about  how they behave online and to follow behaviours that will move them to a different persona. For example, Laurence gave examples of companies that have used SWOOP Personas to measure the collaborative behaviour of leadership teams and encourage a stronger digital presence. Further analysis has also shown the positive impact an interaction with a CEO online has on encouraging more collaborative behaviour from others.

7. Collaborative behaviour is being used in performance reviews

We also heard a fascinating case study from Naomi Souza at RealFoundations, a 400-person real estate professional services firm. The company was an early adopter of both Yammer and Teams, and online collaboration and interaction is regarded as critical to them. The company is also a SWOOP Analytics customer.

To keep on encouraging collaborative behaviour, SWOOP Personas are used in performance reviews. People also get a “Work Out Loud” score. Different roles have different expectations around their persona; for example, people new to the company still might be Observers, but eventually more senior staff may evolve to be Catalysts or Engagers. Using the personas and scores in the formal performance review process has had a positive impact on how staff interact online.

Our thanks to Steven, Chris, Laurence and Naomi for an excellent and illuminating DWG Institute Technology Exchange!

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About the author

Steve-BynghallSteve Bynghall is a freelance consultant, researcher and writer specializing in the digital workplace, intranets, knowledge management, collaboration and other digital themes. He is DWG’s Research and Knowledge Lead, a benchmark evaluator and research analyst for DWG. Steve previously worked at accountancy firm BDO in a variety of knowledge roles, including managing its global extranet programme.

Connect with Steve on Twitter: @bynghall or on Google +.

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