Q: How can a company encourage its employees to use 2.0 tools which have been put in place in order to foster collaboration and commitment? A: By bringing them into the decision-making process, training them, and rewarding them.

Getting Employees to Work in Collaborative Mode Requires Human Support

Interview with Jérôme Colombe, Head of Web Governance at Alcatel-Lucent, on the sidelines of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit held last week in Paris.

L'Atelier: We've seen that you don't make a success of 2.0 just by setting up an internal collaborative platform and then announcing that it's there. How can a company get its staff interested in the longer term?

Jérôme Colombe: We’ve noticed that the first signs of employee-engagement are the exchanges of ideas that begin when staff are trying to find solutions to all sorts of demands from top management - on company transformation, strategy, innovation, etc. Staff are often motivated to give their views on topics outside their own work field and this is an indication of the potential of Entreprise 2.0 to help employees go beyond the confines of their organisational structure or field.

However, this kind of engagement requires ‘maintenance’ to keep it going. Staff need to see a response to the ideas they’ve put forward, to know whether their suggestions have been put into practice, or what action has been taken to take them to the next level or apply them. Communication therefore comes into its own here for helping to manage ‘Maintenance 2.0’! In addition companies need an overall programme to orchestrate best practice and to push those who haven’t yet got involved in 2.0 to do so, by providing training.

L'Atelier: A fashionable concept these days is gamification. Do you see that as a good way of motivating staff to work on a collaborative platform? And if so, what system are companies likely to turn to?

Jérôme Colombe: We can appreciate that this is a very hot topic when we see the level of interest at every ‘2.0’ conference over the last few months. I would imagine that as a first step companies will test out several initiatives and measure the success (or failure) in meeting the objectives set. We can already see that the way the principles of gamification are taken on board tends to differ from section to section within an organisation or even from one country to another.

On the other hand, if staff training is set as the clear objective, I don’t think there’ll be any controversy. But as far as the adoption of the tools or more general involvement is concerned, a company will be taking a risk if it tries to do all the thinking for the staff. That’s why we wanted to test 2.0 adoption at Alcatel-Lucentwithout any constraints in order to try to understand employees’ needs and expectations by observing actual usage. We are now in a position to think of using gamification ideas to promulgate best examples of 2.0 usage to the maximum.

L'Atelier: Do you need a reward system?

Jérôme Colombe: That depends on the company and the means already deployed to reward staff initiatives without the gamification initiative. However, with gamification you can increase the type of reward and the knock-on effects - e-reputation, prizes, awards, status, etc. With our ‘Engage’ platform - the internal community at Alcatel-Lucent - we can measure levels of employee engagement using a system of points and rankings but without any relation to staff key performance indicators. We already try to reward our engineers’ innovative initiatives through our Alcatel-Lucent Technical Academy – ALTA, and entrepreneurial initiative through, for example, Défi Entreprendre, the French version of Alcatel-Lucent’s international ‘Entrepreneurial Boot Camp’. Altogether, around a hundred staff have so far been rewarded for their engagement and their contribution to the company’s technological excellence.