Well-informed employees are more motivated than others, but how do you get the little involved? The Lean method can improve communication on the intranet and increase customer satisfaction. However, some basic principles must be fulfilled to encourage young and older employees to exchange ideas.
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Mujibor de Graaf is the founder of IT solutions for the exchange of knowledge.
People are at different frequencies
How can people with something simple like communication - two parties talking on the same channel - struggle so hard? Company Actually, this is often a big problem. People are on different frequencies. They talk to each other, but do not hear each other. This naturally causes disadvantages, not least for the customer.
The solution to this problem is the Social Intranet. An intuitive platform on which all colleagues can be found regardless of department, location, expertise or level, where sharing, likening, reacting, adding and adapting is the most normal thing in the world.
How the social intranet can help
Studies * have shown that for companies with social intranet, approximately 92 percent of employees have access to this digital workspace. The problem obviously is not in the access, but in the use!
Many employees learn their social intranet as a mere addition to the normal work areas, not as a necessity. Very often, e-mail is considered the best tool for exchanging information and knowledge. But not everyone thinks this way.
The generation air must be overcome
E-mail is and remains a popular means of sharing information, but the popularity and use of the generation is shifting: it is mainly the older employees (55 +) who are sticking to emails. Youngers, on the other hand, often get annoyed by the flood of e-mails and feel more comfortable with modern social channels such as WhatsApp.
So there is still sufficient communication, but this happens via different channels. When both groups have their own vision and preference, they never come together in the social intranet. Something has to change, but what? And how? To go further, we use the Lean method.
What is the Lean Method?
A common but incorrect assumption is that "lean" refers solely to the improvement of production processes. In fact, this philosophy has its origin in the works of the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. But it includes much more. Lean relies on a process that is of utmost importance to every company: the ever-changing needs of the customer.
Lean offers itself as a method to prepare people for the challenge of constantly changing customer needs: how can we offer targeted and efficient services? Elementary for this is optimal communication. This shows the relationship between lean and social intranet: communication - also in the intranet - must be effective and efficient, focusing on the target: the successful projects and the fulfillment of the requirements on the part of the customers.
How does "lean" help a successful social intranet?
According to Frits de Vries, founder and managing director of LeanENT, a "lean intranet" can be achieved in four steps:
- Awareness. Do not hide problems but uncover them.
- Overcome paradigms. Change means resistance. But when paradigms are broken through, there is innovation and dynamism.
- Action. All theory does not help, the new corporate culture must be lived and lived. Give time, but stay tuned!
- Improvement. Learning, evaluating and improving together.
Two birds with one stone
In this way, the Lean method literally catches two birds with one stone: it improves the efficiency in the exchange and therefore the flexibility a company needs to satisfy its customers. This does not mean that the company must directly change all processes.
Some simple rules can already very effectively help to convert the social intranet to lean and thus prepare the way. The following five tips will help to use a social intranet in such a way that employees of all generations participate and initiate efficient processes.
5 Tips for activating employees all generations
- To give an introduction:Explain why and what the Social Intranet is for in a statement or introductory course. It is only when employees recognize the benefits and know exactly what they are allowed to do (and what they can not do) on the intranet that they can apply it correctly. This also prevents the platform from being "abused" for irrelevant information.
- Manage the exchange Determine which information is really necessary and which only distracts from the target (customer satisfaction). A community manager can help users and inform them if they do not use the intranet effectively. Also the removal of obsolete information is part of it, because only in this way the social intranet remains tidy, clear and relevant.
- Ensure a flat hierarchy Remove all barriers that could prevent people from coming into contact with each other. A lean intranet does not follow the hierarchy of the organization, but offers employees of all departments and levels the opportunity to read, supplement and provide feedback.
- Create timeliness New versions of documents should always be added directly, but also marked as such, so that no one has to be in doubt about the up-to-date information. Files and discussions that are no longer relevant, you should archive them. Thus, they are retained but do not burden the clarity and ease of use.
- Make it as easy and easy to use as possible For information to be really easy to find, you should introduce a categorization. This can refer to the project, the topic, the customer or the department. Of course, the user-friendly search function is also included. Also a simple and logical navigation menu.
Just start! As many tips as you take, the most important step is and remains: just do it! If the structure is well prepared, invite the staff and start uploading and interacting with each other. It does not matter if an older or younger employee takes the first step! As soon as one person starts implementing the social intranet as a new workplace, the others automatically join in.
Source: Entopic Intranet Monitor 2014
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