How to 'KonMari' Your Enterprise Social Network

I've applied the KonMari method to most closets in my home, but I still refuse to verbally "thank" my clothing. Image: Amanda Whitesell

I've applied the KonMari method to most closets in my home, but I still refuse to verbally "thank" my clothing. Image: Amanda Whitesell

“Thank you for your hard work.”           

The statement, posted by a Facebook friend, was directed at a pile of discarded clothing. “She’s actually talking to her clothes,” I thought, feeling pity on her. “Has she lost her mind?”

Fast forward a couple years later, and here I am, seven bags of discarded clothing later.

You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo’s decluttering method, detailed in her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Kondo’s services are said to command a mile-long waiting list in Japan, and have spiked in popularity in the United States.

“Does this bring me joy?” is the premise for keeping an item, under the KonMari Method. The same can be applied to your enterprise social network, but by asking the question, “Does this appear to be generating value?”

Allowing members of your employee community the ability to create their own groups can and likely will lead to hundreds—or thousands—of groups in a community. While this ability is important in giving employees a feeling of ownership, it's doubtful all of these groups will be active, unduplicated and truly valuable. We’ve found this to be true of our small, but nimble employee community—and we have fewer than 30 groups.

Talk Social to Me recently applied the KonMari method to our employee community, archiving groups we no longer found to be of value. The goal was to help us better focus our efforts in places most fruitful for collaboration.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips:

Whistle While You Work: Commit Yourself to Tidying Up

If you’re in the planning stages of your community, consider yourself to have a leg up in this area. This is your chance to save time later by including a group cleanup policy within your community governance.

Your policy should specify an incremental time period in which you will clean up your employee community by archiving or deleting groups that meet certain criteria. Standards might start with removing groups that haven’t produced any unique content in the last three months or groups that have less than two members, for example.

Your policy might also include identifying groups that lack an administrator, as these groups are more likely to be inactive. Based on perceived past value, decide whether it's worth pursuing a new sponsor or volunteering for the job yourself.

Know that if you don't already have a process in place, it will be a timely, manual process that could take away you away from focusing on engagement. If you're a Yammer client, consider purchasing a tyGraph analytics integration for your network to save major time. I recently participated in a brief tour of the product, which includes a time slicer for which groups across your network have not had a message posted in X amount of time. 

Let’s Get Loud: Announce Intentions

Know the consequences of deleting versus archiving groups on your platform. Vendors vary on how this is handled. Sometimes, once a group is deleted, it can't be undone. Archived groups might not allow for any new posts, with the ability for reversal if there is a need to reactivate a seasonal group, for example.

As a community manager, you might consider taking matters into your own hands, if archiving group content doesn't result in permanent deletion. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Post your cleanup plans loudly and clearly in your network’s Group Leaders group before you get started.
  2. Reach out individually to group administrators of groups that are to be archived/deleted with a timeline as a heads up.
  3. Pin a note to the top of each group to be archived indicating the date it will happen.
  4. Indicate a group has been archived by pinning a post to the top of the group, editing the group’s description and/or editing the group’s name.
Deactivating a group varies by vendor. This is a sample screenshot Talk Social to Me used to indicate a group had been archived in Workplace by Facebook.

Deactivating a group varies by vendor. This is a sample screenshot Talk Social to Me used to indicate a group had been archived in Workplace by Facebook.

If your vendor doesn't provide a safety net for deleted content, it's like not being able to search the trash can on your desktop for "accidentally" removed files. It's recommended to work more closely with group leaders, as once content is deleted, it cannot be retrieved. 

Consider facilitating a series of educational webinars for group leaders, to help educate them on the importance of cleaning up their groups. The goal should be to make them feel empowered to evaluate and delete old or outdated content for the success of the employee community. At the same time, members take pride in their content contributions, so it's important to approach this with sensitivity. 

Set expectations and deadlines for leaders to keep the decluttering on schedule.

Always Be My Baby: Save Sentimental Groups for Last

Maybe you had high hopes and a powerful vision for the Region 7 Leaders group, but it never caught on due to lack of an executive sponsor. These types of groups will be hardest to archive or delete because of your involvement, and perhaps, emotional attachment.

Applying the KonMari method to your employee community can help shed light on the collaboration you envision. You can always re-create or unarchive a group later when you’re ready to commit.

Spoonful of Sugar: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

One of our community managers recently supported a 8,000+ person Yammer network in removing unused and duplicate groups. Over the course of three months, we built a process of notifying group administrators, supporting content migration, and informing users about new group homes. We also built out a naming convention for old groups to discourage usage.

While this process worked well, it was time consuming and took the community manager's focus away from driving engagement. Starting with a proactive group cleanup policy will make your future KonMari efforts more simple.

 

Amanda Whitesell, a community manager for Talk Social to Me, has experience consulting newsroom leaders across Michigan in digital audience development and social media. As a former journalist, her content has appeared in USA Today, Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal. She has applied the KonMari method to her closets, but refuses to verbally "thank" her discarded clothing. 

14 Hacks to Reverse Employee Community Engagement Decline

Does your company have an employee community or enterprise social network that is seeing a decline in engagement? Engagement decline is a serious problem that community managers have the power to address (or prevent if your community isn’t yet introduced!). Whether your engagement decline happens in the first two weeks or the first 100 days, it’s an early warning signal that you have more work to do to make the community indispensable for employees.

SBH Health System Employee Community Transformed with Workplace by Facebook

SBH Health System Employee Community Transformed with Workplace by Facebook

In healthcare making a difference for one person has network effects. For SBH Health System (SBH) in the Bronx, New York, implementing a Workplace by Facebook online employee community has produced several benefits for the hospital. In just 4 months the online community has...

Best Practices for Employee Communities in Highly Regulated Industries

Best Practices for Employee Communities in Highly Regulated Industries

If you’re launching or (or possibly already have) an employee community in a highly-regulated industry, the myriad regulations that concern your leadership are definitely challenges. But even in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, or education, employee communities are still viable.

Upcoming Webinars: How to Measure Behavior in Your Enterprise Social Network

Upcoming Webinars: How to Measure Behavior in Your Enterprise Social Network

If you’re running your company’s enterprise social network (ESN), you will inevitably be asked about the success of the platform—are people using it? How often and what for? What value are we really getting out of this thing, anyway?

How White Labs Uses Workplace by Facebook During Company Expansion

How White Labs Uses Workplace by Facebook During Company Expansion

Whether it’s introducing a new product, conducting an acquisition or expanding a brand’s footprint, it’s not rare for companies to experience growing pains. White Labs, an international yeast fermentation company based in San Diego, is no exception.

Introduce Working Out Loud in Your Employee Community

Introduce Working Out Loud in Your Employee Community

Have you seen people online talking about “Working Out Loud?” Maybe you’ve stumbled across a hashtag such as #WOL. What is Working Out Loud, anyway?

A concept originally created by author John Stepper, WOL is building meaningful relationships with others based on generosity and shared purpose. In short – the idea is to give your time and energy to others openly, without expecting anything in return.

One Surefire Way to Drive Engagement in an Employee Community: Take an Idea and Make it Happen

Ok, senior leaders. This one’s for you.

We get a lot of questions about how to drive engagement in a company’s enterprise social network. Companies put a lot of work into building fancy launch campaigns, creating fun reward programs for Champions, and printing posters about the benefits of the online employee community. These activities are valuable, and they create excitement, and they signal that the collaboration party is getting started.

However, there's a better way to foster the long-term adoption of and engagement in your community, and it doesn't involve a team of designers or event planners. Ready for it?

A Facebook at Work Progress Report: How It's Changed and Where It Fits

The past nine months have felt like a lifetime in the social software industry. 

We've seen customer communities slip away, new features introduced and removed, and partnerships grow between unicorns and legacy vendors. 

With that in mind, I wanted to revisit some concerns and predictions I made last year in a three-part review of Facebook at Work.

Much has improved with the product during this time, while some elements have remained the same. The product still needs work — what product doesn't? However, I believe it has made significant progress in becoming a viable enterprise-ready community platform, especially given the deprecation of human-centric capabilities in the competition.

From Idea to Action: Accountability for Innovation in your Employee Community

Have you ever posted an idea in your employee community or enterprise social network, only to see it get lots of "likes" and "great idea!" comments...without further action?

Without a formal innovation program, amazing ideas posted in a social network can quickly become a graveyard of lifeless words. According to HBR, "when left unmanaged, informal networks tend to inhibit innovation more often than they enable it."

Salesforce Lightning Bolt and the Accidental Community Manager

Last week, Salesforce.com announced a new online community framework, Lightning Bolt, which essentially allows customers to pick and choose only the most relevant features when creating an industry-specific online community of employees or customers. Building on pre-existing templates from Salesforce, customers and third party developers can now stand up instant, purpose-built communities designed to create engagement and action around a distinct and specialized topic, product, or industry.

Your Collaboration Program Didn’t Fail. It Just Needs to Evolve.

We’re all familiar with the Scary Analyst Headline: "Gartner Says 80 Percent of Social Business Efforts Will Not Achieve Intended Benefits Through 2015." Companies across the globe have trembled under the shadow of this warning, wondering if their efforts will be doomed into the darkness of Collaboration Failure. 

Tools, Schmools - It's Really About Community Management

“What we really need is our own private company Instagram, or maybe a chat-app just for employees” said no reasonable manager ever. So why is it that we’re seeing those very tools pop up in the enterprise market?

Modern enterprise collaboration leaders are on the hunt for mobile technology solutions that empower employees on the go. As knowledge workers spend less time at their desks, companies are scrambling to stay ahead in a BYOD, socially-fueled, cloud-based environment.

But as the enterprise seeks out the newest technology, we should take a step back and realize that the right tools are already here -- enterprise social networks.

When Your Intranet and Enterprise Social Network Get Married

Pop the champagne and get ready to celebrate: your Intranet and Enterprise Social Network are getting married!

As we prepare to toast this joyous integration, remember that the Intranet and the ESN are strong, independent entities with many individual merits. As in any marriage, each partner must remain unique with its own purpose. By tying the knot, however, the Intranet and the ESN will complement each other’s strengths (and minimize their weaknesses), improving the overall employee communication experience.

You Support Your Customers - Now Support Your Employees

A good customer experience is critical for any company, no question about it. Whether it’s a product or service being sold, a company can’t survive without satisfied customers. Online customer communities have been shown to be highly effective tools to provide service, relationships and knowledge that crate brand loyalty -- and more profit -- through more engaged customers who will spend more over a longer period of time.

It’s time to take that same approach with the internal employee social network.

15 Hacks and Tricks to Customize Your Yammer Network

"Yammer says we can't customize our network."

I hear this concern often, and this week's KMworld conference was no exception. I conducted a workshop with Catherine Shinners about how to launch an enterprise social network, and a gentleman from a large financial services firm expressed frustration that his company wouldn't be able to make a Yammer network look and feel official. "It's always going to be called 'Yammer,' he grimaced.

He's right. You cannot really "customize" Yammer, or any other SaaS solution for that matter. When you deploy a Yammer network, you're receiving the economies of scale of a SaaS solution. This means that your company, alongside thousands of other companies, are getting the exact same product delivered on-demand. This is why Yammer and other SaaS tools are relatively inexpensive compared to truly customizable solutions like Jive or Tibbr. You're paying (or not, depending on your license) for a simple, scalable solution that can be easily updated and maintained by the vendor who is coding, fixing bugs and sending you fresh updates all the time. What you lack in customization, you make up for in quick updates and not having to deal with the overhead of custom code. With Yammer, you're paying for simplicity.

What you CAN DO is "personalize" your Yammer network. Yammer offers many tools inside the product that give you the ability to make it look and feel like your own company's product. No, it will not be absent of the term "Yammer," but that is just how solutions in the cloud tend to work.