I’ve been thinking a lot about online community guidelines for the workplace. Or more specifically, for the modern Housing Association. I’ve grown up online around bulletin boards and online communities in my life outside work, but now lots of organisations (including the one I’m part of) are using “social business platforms” internally.
Given that its a workplace, and there’s no option for anonymous trolling, its pretty straightforward. But from time to time, some interesting conundrums occur, so its good to step back and think about what we’re trying to achieve with our internal social platforms. For us, its all about diversity of viewpoint, the wisdom of the crowd, the idea that between us we almost certainly wiser than any one individual. And that growing the skills of collaboration and co-creation is a good, but sometimes hard, thing. My Norwegian chum @TheArly told me once how early years education in Norway focuses very much on collaboration, community and play; so that kids grow up with a sense of the collective good being important to harmonious living. Education in the UK (or mine at least) felt very different to that. Yet another reason to love the Nordic-Nations in my book.
So here’s my first stab at drafting community guidelines for the workplace. What could make it better?
- Share views and opinions openly. Explain why you hold them. Be OK with people disagreeing with you.
- Its OK to disagree on things. Explain why you disagree.
- Play the ball and not the (wo)man*: disagree with the view or idea, don’t knock the person holding that view or coming up with the idea.
- Sometimes, we as individuals won’t agree with the company line on something. That’s OK too. But lets be clear that its a personal view, and recognise that (sadly) the world doesn’t always get to be the way we want it to be.
- Ideas are precious, fledgling things. Put as much effort into seeing if they’ll fly as killing them off.
- Present a full, balanced picture of the story we’re telling.
- Customer case histories can help everyone understand what an organisation does. But don’t breach confidentiality and take care not to have a case conference on the internal community platform.
- Asking for help is good. Offering it is too.
- Be OK with making mistakes or being wrong from time to time. We’re all fleshy humans and none immune from imperfection.
- No hate speech. Obviously.
*this has been shameless nicked from another chum @mickfealty – the chap behind the brilliant Slugger O’Toole website. It hosts plenty of debate about Irish politics, in a robust, but courteous fashion. Great examples of how to disagree and argue constructively can be found there. And their community guidelines are pretty great too.
If you’re using social platforms internally at your organisation, it would be good to hear from you. Do you have community guidelines – could you share them with us in the comments? And what platforms are folks using?
We decided to go with using Jive, as it enabled us to have the social network functionality of yammer AND replace the old intranet with one single platform. We worked at the tech so that we have single sign on (no, I can’t remember passwords either, and I hate seeing those post-it notes wacked on screens with folks’ passwords….), and we’re evolving how we use it all the time.