Sunday, 28 June 2015

The importance of LinkedIn for Internal Communicators

True to the need of navigating a digital business environment, the internal communicator's skill set has been evolving to strategically ensuring new ways of interacting through social media. But the role, while far more recognised than previous years, still contains gaps, according to people who have followed the evolution of the discipline closely over the last decade.

Some professionals may still wonder why they need to be looking outside their our own discipline and organisation's walls. But Chuck Gose, STRATACACHE's VP and co-founder of IndySM, believes that it is time for a full discussion to be held about the importance of external social media sites such as LinkedIn for Internal Communicators. And indeed, he offers proposals worth considering.

I met with Gose at the IABC World Conference to explore the opportunities given to internal communicators by LinkedIn. In this interview he shares advice on how to make the most of the social network, the relevance of owning your professional profile and the human nature of social interactions.

Gloria Lombardi: Nearly every internal communicator has a LinkedIn profile. But, you claim, just a few take full advantage of the social network. What are professionals missing? 

Chuck Gose: Many communicators think of LinkedIn back when it first came out - just as an online resume. Whereas, the site has made great advancements as an overall social network.

Some professionals still believe that only HR people and recruiters can benefit from it - indeed, they use it as they have learned how to take advantage of all the information available there.

But, internal communicators should be equally social on LinkedIn; they can have access to information that they would never find elsewhere. For example, becoming more aware of their peers in different companies and what other organisations that face similar challenges are doing.

LinkedIn is a chance for them to learn from each other.

GL: How can we encourage more internal communicators to use LinkedIn, and think that it is not a 'waste of their time'?

CG: LinkedIn gives internal communicators the opportunity to set the tone in terms of what they can bring to their organisation. Yet, I do often hear complaints from professionals saying 'Well, I don't have the time'.

The thing is, we have all the same amount of time; it is about how we choose to spend it. What I am trying to explain to professionals is that there is tremendous value in using LinkedIn. But, just anything in life, there are two keys to success: interest and effort.

If you are interested but you don't put any effort you are not going to be successful. If you put many efforts, but you are not really interested, you are not going to be successful.

With LinkedIn, most probably internal communicators have already set up their profile. Why don't taking advantage of that? Searching for people is a big part of what we do today. When someone searches for you on Google, what do they find? Even if you have a common name your LinkedIn profile comes up immediately.

The good news is that you can control what people find out. If what they see is boring or out of date, there will be a negative reflection on you. In contrast, if what they see is interesting, visual and engaging - all things you can easily do with your own profile today - they will make a different idea about you.

I can see that maybe, someone like an engineer in a construction plant may struggle - not that they cannot have an amazing profile though; it may not just be their natural ability to put their career into words.

But if you think about it, internal communicators are communicators - they should be able to write very clear, concise and compelling content. Ultimately, that is what people should be able to read when they go to their profile.

GL: Beside the relevant reputation management issue, could you give me other concrete examples of how internal communicators can make the most of LinkedIn?

CG: Different activities. It could be reading news - the content on LinkedIn is always very timely and updated; participating in groups; checking your requests to connect with peers; and even endorsing and writing recommendations for somebody.

But if there is one activity where I would like to see more internal communicators involved, then it is the publishing side. The platform is their chance to share ideas, which are immediately found through Google, and build an audience outside their own organisation'.

Some of the controversial topics about LinkedIn publishing tool were about the fact that many people already operate through their own blogs. Concerns were about duplicating content. But, while there may be some extra work, you are exposing your content to a brand new audience. People who would have never seen your blog can now see your content on LinkedIn. And, you can be creative and drive traffic back to your personal blog by adding at a link at the bottom of your LinkedIn post. To be fair, it should be a natural storytelling mechanism for communicators.

GL: What else about publishing?

CG: Internal communicators who publish content on LinkedIn don't have necessarily to write about their company's internal communications. It could about sharing their own personal observations such as on a conference they have attended.

And, it takes confidence, what I would like to see more of from this profession. LinkedIn is very transparent and wide open. Everyone sees who comments on your posts. You may receive some criticism and that is fine - as a communicator, you should be happy to respond and debate that criticism.

GL: You also have something to say about requesting to connect. 

CG: Yes. I would like to see more professionals getting rid of the default language - 'I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn' - when asking someone to connect. To me, that is a very low barrier to send a request to connect. It is obvious that they have not gone the effort.

I joke that someone should write instead: "Sorry, I was too lazy to write anything."

Even if you write "Hey, let's connect!" that is going to be better than some default language.

GL: You make the point that on LinkedIn, employees can become not only advocates for the company but also for themselves. Could you tell me more?

CK: Much of today's LinkedIn content is around company pages - the value of having your staff being the advocates for the business is great. But, employees have also the chance to become advocates for themselves by sharing their accomplishments and keeping them under their profile for anybody to see.

And, it comes across as human; it's you. You have none who polishes or edits your content as it may happen in a corporate environment.

GL: One more proof that social media can give power to the individual. 

CG: It is individual first, that's right. Within reasons, you should try to connect with as many people as possible. If you meet someone at a conference connect with him or her on LinkedIn immediately.
Also, it is not about where that person is now - in terms of company and position - but where they might be one day. Some people can say: "Why should I connect with them? They are only in X position."

But they are 'only in X position' today. You don't know where they are going to be in a year, two-year, or five-year time.

Plus, professionals change their work contacts as frequently as they change jobs. With LinkedIn, once you have that connection, you can always reach out to each other despite of all the developments in your career. Because you are not relying on work emails but your personal profile those connections keep seamless.

GL: What's your final advice to internal communicators when it comes to LinkedIn groups? 

CG: More could be done in this space. Many professionals like to complain that there is a lot of spam in groups or that nobody is participating. Probably there is some truth in that.

Yet, saying that in those forums there is no activity is just fingers pointing. If you want activity, go there and be active! You don't have to wait for other people to be the instigators; you can be the instigator.

The most worthwhile groups are usually well moderated, with a lot of quality participation where people ask great questions and get great answers from their peers. That is the whole point of groups.

For an internal communicator, your LinkedIn groups don't have necessarily be Internal Comms related. For example, professionals can join Universities or industry market groups. Also, there are communities based on age or geography. So, there are many ways to use groups, which actually create relevant conversations for you.

But again, you have to personally invest the time, play with it, test it and figure out what it can do for you. As with any other social media tool, if you don't experiment with LinkedIn personally, it can be very hard to use it professionally - it is not going to be natural; you are not going to grow and become an active participant.

This article originally appeared on simply-communicate

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Changing the Landscape: Informing the Future

This week I flew from the UK to California. I rented one of the Airbnb apartments in the Bay area, rideshared with Lyft, drank coffees Americano from Starbucks and had lunches at Whole Foods Market. This year's IABC World Conference 2015 couldn't have a better theme, 'Changing the Landscape: Informing the Future'.

More than 1,000 attendees and a variety of speakers gathered from across the globe to explore new ways of communicating, living and working. With over 80 sessions to choose from, not one day went by that I didn't feel I could make interesting connections and learn something new

The world began and will end with a story

APAC Director and Blogger Subhamoy Das, stories are the scaffoldings of business communications, but also of life. "We all live our lives through stories. We make sense of our world and our place in it through stories!"

As American novelist Reynolds Price once said: "A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homo Sapiens - second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter."

After all, plenty of scientific studies have addressed the impact of stories on the brain. For example, the brain releases dopamine into the system when it experiences an emotionally charged event, making it easier to remember and with greater accuracy. A story also activates parts in the brain that allows the listener to turn that story in to their own ideas and experience thanks to a process called neural coupling. Another interesting field of research is around the cortex activity and how well told narratives switch on our senses, motions, and feelings.

But, anatomy aside, why are stories so important to communicators? Das's answer is fivefold:

"Storytelling is the new differentiator; stories provide simulation - knowledge to act; stories provide inspiration - motivation to act; credible ideas make people believe; emotional ideas make people act."

If you think that this is just a pile of wood, think again. Das cited a study sourced by One Spot, which indicates that 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. On this premise, Chip Heath & Dan Heath's 'Made to Stick' can be a useful read, which explores six principles of sticky ideas: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories. 

However, some of today's most innovative stories are co-created - people tell their own stories, which are more trustworthy than any official company release. In the context of work, having staff who authentically share their narratives becomes a powerful means for employee advocacy. 

The new audience

From a storyteller's point of view, Das suggested distinguishing four types of stakeholders, what he called "the new audience". The Seekers like to go deeper into the story, exploring different worlds, and learning new things. Relaters want to discuss and share their favourite narratives with friends and family, in-person and online. Realists want stories that lead to personal growth, productivity, and all-around better living. Players are super-engagers and into just about everything - from following their favourite characters on social media to becoming characters themselves.

This classification can be useful in measuring a story's success. For example, communicators can look at the immersion of seekers - how deep and extended is their experience?; or the interactivity of relators - how proactive are they?; or the integration of realists - how wide and cross-platform conversions are they making? Finally, there is the impact on players - how inspired are they?
As a framework it of course may miss the nuances of communicating in a real complex world. Yet, it may be an helpful starting point for communicators who want to work more productively in the storytelling direction.

And, indeed today communicators have plenty of innovative tools to source their stories - from Storify, to Snapchat, Periscope and even cinemagraph (see picture). The latter is said to be the future of storytelling on Facebook - a mix of still imagery and video that the social network is encouraging the creative to embrace.

Be Curious, Humble and Playful

is power, they say. However, the has changed everything. Perhaps, we should ask ourselves if there is any power in not knowing. Often it is not what we know that matters, but our ability to learn. One obvious reason for this is that when we are new to something, we ask questions. We listen more. We are alert. We experiment. We do our best thinking.

But it seems that we have fallen out of love with ignorance. As Liz Wiseman, President of the Wiseman Group and author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, put it: "It is very easy to become comfortable and think that we have all the answers. Experience builds blind spots."

This is partly justified by a system, which requires people to "be qualified for" whatever job they are asked to perform or situation they have to face. However, according to Wiseman, it is when we are "curious, humble and playful" that we drive top performance.

There is another reason why businesses should pay attention: When leaders say 'We don't have all the answers', other people can step in and make a dramatic impact on the intelligence of the organisation. This is what 'Multipliers leaders' do - they attract and optimise talent, create space for the best thinking, stretch challenges and instil ownership and accountability among their teams. "Multipliers leaders see people as smart individuals capable of figuring out how to solve a problem."
Now, with today's volatility and unpredictability riding so high, would seem a good time to have more Multipliers at work.

Unfortunately, it's not so easy. Many workplaces still have to deal with the 'Diminishers' - the empire builders, tyrants and know-it-all micro-managers. "Diminishers hoard and underutilise their talent, create stress that stops thinking, tell people what to do, make all the decisions by themselves and manage every detail." Yet, as Wiseman pointed out, the latter leadership style rarely leads to innovation. Plus, employee engagement suffers, along with those who never felt connected with the company in the first place.

So, in the long term it may well make sense for leaders who want to maintain their best talent and nurture a culture of creativity to be listed on the Multipliers. "When we operate from a place of not knowing, we discover. It starts with asking and seeking."

Mobile workforce

the efficiency and productivity of front-line staff have improved dramatically. Indeed, mobile devices are appealing not just to employees, but to internal communicators: diminishing their burden, Shel Holtz suggested, mobility provides a boost to peer-to-peer communications. That was also one of the arguments made by Senior Manager of Content and Digital Strategy at Walmart Shane Mclaughlin. "Social and have shifted the employer-employee contract. It is about -to-human. Your device is part of you."

In the battle between IT and Communications, optimist Chuck Gose argued that is a chance for to finally come together, and prove their value. While the divide is still present and large in some companies, there should be a lot more cooperation floating around in near future. After all, technology is moving fast. If organisations are to keep up and deliver the best service to their employees, there is no choice but for IT and Communications to be better partners.

It should also be more alluring to change agents, since mobility is about mind-sets. Indeed, to transform this technology into systems of engagement, organisations need to adopt a mobile 'mind'. As Holtz put it: "Think ; the mobile - What do people when they are not at their desk? Social is immediate; it allows us to move quickly and change accordingly to the context."

When we talk about mobility we tend to think about phones and tablets. But, the phenomenon is much richer than that. Holtz pointed out that wearables are already entering the workplace. And plenty is also said about the arrival of robotics, drones and virtual reality devices. Hence, as Mclaughlin said: "It is important to continue to how can benefit the whole organisation. Think of the opportunities you are missing."

There is no reason why the same moral should not apply. It is a great idea - as long as it comes with the right purpose and intentions.

This article originally appeared on simply-communicate

Sunday, 14 June 2015

What makes a company innovative?

That creativity is one of the greatest assets of prosperous teams is something on which many can agree. And the case for creating a culture of innovation has wider implications for a company's success, as plenty of research shows. But, how to accomplish this in practical terms? Atmosphere, the virtual event run by Google for Work last week, offered thousands of viewers a flavour of how to think creatively and achieve business transformation.

Accomplish business innovation

Jonathan Mildenhall, the Chief Marketing Officer at Airbnb, holds a stimulating talk around disruption.

Taking a step back and looking at all the businesses that he has been exposed to over the past decade, he observes two approaches to innovation: 'corporate' and 'entrepreneurial' innovation. The former is usually driven by market research. "You get a lot of data analysts spending a lot of time looking at a space in the market place" and build a product to serve a particular user group. In his experience this approach only leads to small incremental innovation. "It never leads to disruptive change."

In contrast, entrepreneurial innovation rarely uses market research. "[Entrepreneurs] come up with an idea. They have an instinct that over time that idea will sync in the marketplace and become a huge disruptive idea." This is what happened at Airbnb. Mildenhall describes the founders' original efforts to launch the start-up into the world by going into every listing in New York with cameras to take pictures. "They had the instinct that great photographs of homes would work well on the digital platform. No market research, no data, could have ever suggested that this could be the right approach."

Still today, Airbnb maintains that entrepreneurial spirit across the whole organisation. But how can a leader strengthen that type of culture? Personally, Mildenhall has three mantras that he tries to bring with him each day.

The first is the power of belief. "If you believe it, then it can become a reality. I am a big champion in getting my team to dream openly and share those dreams."

Secondly, creativity. Mildnhall thinks that everybody has a responsibility to be creative. "In whatever job you do, whether it is HR, Finance, Administration or Marketing, bringing your full creative self to work can really create a step change in progress."

Finally, there is humanity, which is about bringing "empathy and compassion to the workplace."
Mildenhall has also something to say about taking risk. "Be prepared to celebrate both failure and success."

A nice example of how Airbnb puts this into practice is 'Our Fabulous Failures', a monthly celebration where employees talk about the ideas that didn't succeed the way they planned. The point of the whole exercise is to "actually learn from those failures and scale the learning around the organisation."

In his final analysis, the more a company celebrates failures, the more it becomes comfortable with taking risks. "And, the more a company takes risks, the more successful the results."

Work Rules! 

Interesting insights around cultivating innovation within teams comes also from Laszlo Bock. The Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google and author of the new book 'Work Rules!" reminds us that: "we spend more time working than we do anything else in life." Yet, for many people work is just a means to an end. "It is not much fun. It is not inspiring. It is not what it should and could be."

When it comes to innovation, there are different models and mechanisms. At Google, Bock tried all of them "because there is no single answer. You have to create opportunities for people to be creative, and the answer is that it depends on what kind of product you have; what kind of environment you have; and what kind of people you have."

Yet, by stepping away from that observation, Bock claims that the major drivers of innovation are "making the work mean something and giving people freedom."

Those two crucial factors are applicable to all types of work. "You can find meaning - the connection to something bigger than yourselves - in any job. If you can drive that connection, people are more productive. And, if you give them the freedom to do that, they will be happier as well."

Bock's claim is not just opinion, but is backed up by solid research. For example, he mentions a study conducted by MIT, which looked at two T-shirt factories in Mexico. The first factory was very traditionally managed, with managers telling people what to do and how to perform their jobs. In contrast, the employees of the second factory were asked to figure out their goals and how to achieve them. The results? On average, the latter produced 140 T-shirts daily as opposed to the 80 pieces of garment made in the tightly controlled manufactory site. The same big impact was seen in higher levels of staff happiness.

It is also refreshing to hear Bock talking about Millennials. He does not think that this generation, which is often described as if it were a 'different species' entirely, is that different after all. "If you talk with them, what do they ask for? They want freedom. They want control over their destiny. They want to do meaningful work. They want well-being and to be able to chart their course."

This may seem contrary to received wisdom, but, Bock who is now over 40, claims that when he was 20 he wanted exactly the same things. And, he goes even further. "My dad, when he was 20, he wanted the same things too."

The only big difference today is that Millennials are more connected and vocal. Bock shares an interesting perspective: "I do not think that we should manage them differently. I think that we should manage just everybody the way that Millennials are asking to be managed."

Bock offers a final piece of advice around data. "A lot of decisions we make are based on our gut - how we conduct interviews, the way we hire, the way we promote." But, he believes that there is a much better way of making decisions, which is objective, fact-based and reliant on data.

Now, talking about freedom and rules on the same line of thought may sound contradictory. But, in reality Bock stresses the fundamental concepts that work should be about contributing to society, focusing on a larger outcome, and achieving both our personal and organisational goals in the most productive and meaningful way.

Is there a formula for creativity? 

"There is no formula," says Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change by Design. Instead, there are certain behaviours to consider.

First, Brown talks about mindsets, "ways of addressing the world." Being curious and challenging assumptions are good starting points. "Why things are happening that way? Why does the world work the way it does? Unless we are curious, it is very hard to come up with new ideas."

He has a point. Brown claims that re-framing a problem by asking different questions is often the way in which the most creative ideas are born. "It is an art form but the more you practise the better it gets."

Where should we begin? "Think of the creative process of starting with the question, not the answer. We think of creativity as being all about 'I have an idea!' But in reality, it is all about "I have a really interesting question!'

"So, go home, go back to work and start wondering about the interesting questions. I ensure you that you will get to interesting ideas."

Easier said than done. And, certainly the creative process does not stop there. We need to do something as a response to those questions. We need to explore the idea. "You can think of it as an experiment or a prototype. The question is the instigator. Then, the things that you are going to try is when you will learn whether it was a good idea or not."

In fact, most good ideas can take a large number of iterations before getting to the end. This case touches on the particularly thorny issue of creating confidence: "our natural ability to have new ideas and then, the courage to act on them, actually doing something. Because, this is what creativity ultimately is all about."

Another important lesson to take from Brown is around 'failure': "It is not really failing. It is about learning by doing things over and over again. Every experiment is a learning process, and part of that learning is to knowing what doesn't work and what does."

Creativity does not confine to any specific department

"It does not matter in which piece of the organisation you are working - it could be Marketing; it could be HR; it could be anywhere. It is about having the attitude that there can be better ways of doing things." Indeed, taking the world as it comes it is not very creative.

Brown mentions the role played by new technologies, which "help us to make better connections, find all sorts of things, bring them together and curate creatively." Certainly, the rise of the smartphone is driving this possibility forward. "We all carry those little devices." In fact, at IDEO employees take pictures of everything, all the time.

Brown says that those images are the beginning of the creative process inspired inside the company. "People come back from trips with lots of pictures of how people work and live their lives. Then, we start asking the question, 'Could that be different?'"

Ultimately, for Brown, nurturing creativity is a no-brainer. "You have to. We live in a world today where change is everywhere. Nothing stays the same for long. We really need to bring creativity to everything we do." In his view the gain is twofold. First, it is much more enjoyable and rewarding to try to figure out how things could be different from how they are. On the other hand, "it is also what we need as individuals and organisations if we want to stay competitive."

Innovation start with us 

For any organisation, no doubt, there are invaluable benefits in fostering a culture of innovation. For those ready to embark on the creative journey, the tips shared by Brown, Bock and Mildenhall seem like a good place to start.

Indeed, not everyone is and will become the next IDEO, Google or Airbnb. And, that is OK. That is not even the point.

It is about recognising that forward-thinking businesses and teams can and should be nurtured everywhere. We often do not recognise ourselves as part of the process. But, as those three luminaries show, it starts with us and our willingness to think creatively and innovate boldly.

This article originally appeared on simply-communicate

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The future of work is now

"The future of work is right here, right now," says Chief Executive Officer at Jive Elisa Steele (pictured right). People have started expecting new ways of working as a consequence of technology changing their lifestyle.

Steele's leadership story is interesting. She became CEO of the leading communication and collaboration solutions provider a few months ago. But even before joining the company, she was a passionate customer. It was in 2007 when Steele adopted the Jive platform for the first time. A massive change was going on at the place where she was working. "I learned as a customer how technology can bring people together."

The mission

To fully explain what Steele means by "the future of work is now" tools alone are not enough. In truth, she refers to a type of transformation that is about the individuals. "To accomplish great things, people need to know each other very well. Colleagues need to find the way to connect and collaborate together as a competitive advantage."

Liberating as well as challenging: a few companies today are really working that way. But, Steele's mission is to make it happen elsewhere. She believes that if social collaboration were a standard, then the entire world would be a very different place. "Faster innovation, better connections, more transparency and greater efficiency."

Not an easy task. Sure. But, Steele is a woman with convictions, passion and determination.

Keep up with the change

One thing that comes up in technology all the time is talking about 'the next trend' - everybody has a point of view and opinion on it. But, not all those forecasts are prescient. The reality is that it is very hard to predict. Something that in the past occurred over the course of a year now takes place in minutes.

"Everywhere, something new surfaces: a new start-up; a new idea; a new piece of software."

Steele is not speaking defensively about it. The opposite. She enthusiastically sees this rapid pace of change as an opportunity for people to think in terms of more possibilities. "At every moment something new is happening. People can choose to embrace it or not. They can choose how to communicate, collaborate, connect and work."

Ultimately, she believes that this fresh deviation from the usual is transitioning into a style, which people can use at their own advantage and in ways that could not have been even imagined in time gone by.

Business transformation and diversity

There is a challenge: the rate of change happening outside of work is much faster than inside the enterprise. But, why do we need to do things differently when it comes to work? Particularly, if we think that work technology can be as modern and fast as the one we use in our personal lives. Imagine if we could just naturally make the switch.

Steele talks about embracing workstyles: "different ways in which employees want to get their work done. They have their own favourite tools, apps and methods of communications.

"If you can bring all those workstyles together and create a way for people to connect and collaborate, then you will gain more power."

Sharing knowledge in a very transparent way is also dependent on how people experience the platform. "The product has to be smart, simple and beautifully designed, bringing to life the ability to connect with people."

It is a new way of thinking, which is important to welcome. As consumers we connect with others in ways that we choose depending on the type of relationships and needs. The same should apply at work.

A multigenerational workforce

There is a lot of talk around Millennials. The common belief is that this generation works and communicates very differently than Baby Boomers and Generation X. Steele believes that this is true because "Millennials have grown up with technology at their hands." However, she also sees that the digital workplace transformation is impacting all.

To such an extent, it is crucial to consider the multigenerational workforce and how collaboration can support the changing nature of labour - freelancers, part-time staff, people on the move, and access to talent across the globe.

The future of work is now

There are other factors that support Steele's vision. For a start, there is intrapreneurship. "Culture needs to change to embrace talent. Talent wants to work in an entrepreneurial way, be empowered, make decisions and work in an environment free from bureaucracy."

The Bring Your Own movement is also changing the rules of work. "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Bring Your Own Apps (BYOA), Bring Your Own Office (BYOO), Bring Your Own Whatever...Organisations need to equip staff with whatever they need to be able to work productively in different settings."

Steele also mentions the Quantified Self and the ability to use digital technology to monitor activity on the platform and give real-time feedback. Steele sees a huge potential in this space: "We are going to see more and more in this area to motivate teams and bring people together on common objectives." In fact, gamification activities that allocate points to staff depending on their behaviours can be an instrumental means of strategic alignment. But, Steele also acknowledges the less positive side: "How far will you go to get underneath the performance and skills of people? Sometimes you can go too far - you may end up with employees having plenty of points but still their objectives are not met."

That is a useful warning. It reminds organisations to be smart, and maintain an intuitive and disciplined sense of how teams are run. Ultimately, it prompts to remember the importance of human connections. As Steele puts it: "You still need to have that human component to understand people's capabilities - you cannot do it all with the technology.

Cultural change

Culture sits at the heart of the question of whether a company is ready for the new way of working or not. "An enterprise that is open, transparent, fast, wants to share and believes in the power of collaboration is close to doing that."

Indeed, there are situations where coaching and training is crucial to drive cultural acceptance. "Change is difficult, as we know." 

Sometimes it happens when a new leader joins the organisation. "At Jive, we see many examples of new leaders coming in and immediately using the platform to have a direct and immediate connection with their people. They can get feedback, and talk about the direction of the business."

Going HQ-free

Not surprisingly, at Jive they use their own collaborative platform and enterprise app. "We run the whole business that way. We use it all day long to connect, collaborate, share and ask questions. Everything happens on Jive."

But Steele has brought the collaborative culture even further. A few weeks ago she announced that the company will go HQ-free. "All the Jive's Executives are based in Palo Alto, California. This is the place where traditionally the HQ has been located. However, the daily work is done on Jive. The real HQ is everywhere. So, I recently decided that we don't need an official HQ because the heart of the company is being held inside our product - Jive is where we all come together."

Indeed, employees seems to have responded favourably: "Everyone at Jive is excited about that, feeling that they are contributing no matter their role and location."

To celebrate going HQ-less the company designed a 3D image, which symbolises the connectedness of Jive's people across the world. "We mapped all of our employees around the globe and created 'Our Jive World'."

That irreplaceable face-to-face 

Steele thinks that HQ-free companies will become more prevalent in near future as they want to acquire, maintain and nurture their talent. "Access to technology has changed everything. The notion of having one specific location where the magic happens is not relevant anymore; working from anywhere and everywhere is now the way of the world." But the special value of people getting together in the same location is still absolute.

Asked if the human contact can get lost as a result of this way of working, Steele says, "nothing replaces face-to-face. Any business needs it. It is hard in a world where you have dispersed workforce, but it is important to make time for it."

Therefore, going HQ-less does not mean that the online world replaces everything. In contrast, it complements and adds value to the physical world.
This article originally appeared on simply-communicate