What Dance Lessons taught me about SocBiz, Part 2

Blog Post created by melissabarker on Dec 12, 2012

Earlier this week I explored how to get employees primed to make the switch to a social intranet: building confidence and answering the question "What's in it for me?" Whether you are in the beginning of your journey in adoption or well on your way, external motivation is also critical to sustaining the behavior as new employees join.


Continuing my analogy from thelast post, we can think of external motivation as a group dance class. You've learned the basic steps, a few spins and dips. Now, it is time to put those individual skills to use in a group setting. External motivators are not a "one-size fit all" approach. You must utilize a variety of tactics to provide that extra push and motivation.

Here are six ways to provide external motivation:392028_10151170585544716_1325338651_n.jpg

1. Get executives to engage. If I don't keep an eight count when demonstrating the footwork for salsa dancing, how can I expect my students to? Getting executives to lead by example is essential to show commitment. Not all your executives must be active all the time, but a few must. Start with the executives that are already engaging in social outside of work.  I shared six steps to getting executives engaging in social media in a previous post and the same tactics can be applied to get executives to engage on a social intranet.

2. Find ways to feature employees. Public recognition accomplishes two things: (1) encourages the person being acknowledged to continue and (2) gives others something to work towards. Highlight active participants in your community. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as a simple status update (@mention the user), adding an "Ask the Expert" widget to groups or spaces, changing the monthly Featured User on the community homepage, a monthly blog post featuring a top participant, or installing the Jive props app (which is free and allows you to give predetermined "props" to employees), to name just a few. I recommend working with a director in each department to pick his or her top participant for the individual's departmental Space (with larger companies, you'll want to recognize more than one person a month).

3. Create opportunities to compete. In a group setting, an effective teaching mechanism is competition. I might demonstrate a complicated set of moves to see who could accurately emulate them. People like to compete, especially in a work setting. Extrinsic motivators like contests are effective at causing a spike in participation. Heather Burks, on Jive's Professional Team, recommends using contests to "highlight a specific feature of the community or to develop content that can be used to help community members." For details on how and when to use contests, check out her post on improving engagement with contests. If you're looking to incentivize participation or sustain specific behaviors, you may want to consider adding Gamification elements to your community.  Curtis Gross, Senior Technology Marketing Manager at Jive, explains in his post How to Bring Gamificatin to the Enterprise that Gamification can be applied to work and social communities to increase adoption, training, employee connections, and maintaining community engagement.

4. Integrate with existing programs. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel (or an existing dance move!). Integrating with existing recognition programs makes it easy to reward employees without requesting funds and personnel to set up a new acknowledgment system. It is best to start by working with your human resources department to determine what the reward programs are in place and how you can leverage them.

5. Elicit and share success stories. I always ask "Have you had a chance to put this to use? How did it go?" Sharing success stories of people who are equally new to dance is a great way to motivate others. This principle holds true for a work setting. Make a conscious effort to seek out success stories and find creative ways to share them within your community. You might consider doing written Q&As, video interviews, or screen captures that include stats or quotes on how productivity was improved using the social intranet . All of these assets also make great content to feature in a blog or on the community homepage.

6. Encourage effort to be part of performance reviews. Setting goals in dance and assessing progress helps improve performance. This same lesson can be carried over to the workplace, where encouraging managers to set goals for employees around participation, such as weekly internal blog posts on project status, can payoff in productivity gains. In addition, progress in reaching goals should be reviewed to inspire improvement. These goals should be reasonable and purposeful; otherwise, you can end up with an employee posting blogs about trivia or finding herself simply too overwhelmed to perform well. As with dance, establishing goals that are achievable, desirable, and measurable will result in an optimal outcome for your dancing and social endeavors.

What external motivators do you utilize to energize your community?