Fostering Corporate Innovation and Collaboration: Leverage Those Wikis and Blogs

You might have heard that businesses like GE and Accenture are doing away with annual performance reviews as part of a commitment to agility, innovation and collaboration. Good news, right? Reviews have always been a bit of a headache for everyone involved, and if a company is engaging in open communication, there should be few mysteries about someone’s performance and growth trajectory with the organization.

Even so, removing annual performance reviews isn’t the only way a company can spark innovation. Encouraging workers to think differently about their organization, processes and day-to-day challenges can arise from various inspirational sources. However, companies have to get out of their own ways to break more traditional approaches to problem solving and communication.

So what secret do organizations known for their innovative and collaborative cultures hold? The answer often lies in top-notch, transparent internal communications, typically housed on a social intranet.

Two of the most popular components of a social intranet are wikis and blogs, which – surprise! – aren’t just for external communications. With a few tips and tricks on how to best leverage these tools, you, too, can become one of the corporate titans heralded in the news for an outstanding work culture.

Wikis

Wikis come from the Hawaiian word “wiki-wiki,” which means “quick.” The idea is to give overviews of subjects and provide quick resources for more thorough investigations.

Wikis’ role is similar in a social intranet. They’re designed to be quick fact sheets, serving as a reference on a call with a potential buyer or an easy point of access when people have specific questions.

Consider these ideas for implementing wikis in your corporate social intranet:

  1. Document corporate quarterly and annual goals. The best way to keep your organization on track is to share goals across the entire company. It’s also a best practice to show and track your progress toward those goals. As long as the “failures” are presented as opportunities for growth, employees will be motivated to work harder.

    Documenting your objectives in an open forum such as a social intranet ensures that everyone is on the same page, as well as provides employees across your entire company the opportunity to contribute to those goals. It’s a little like a fundraiser – when you can see the progress, everybody gets more and more excited the closer you get to the goal.

  2. Post job descriptions and goals for each person in the company. Okay, this might sound like a bad idea, but hear us out. By publicly declaring roles, responsibilities and objectives, people start to focus more on the work to be done and hold one another accountable.

    Blame and criticism will melt away as people look at the descriptions, understand their relationships to one another and see how they can help. See? Collaboration is possible.

Blogs

Wait, what? Aren’t blogs for public consumption? Yes, and no. Blogs can also be for internal audiences and serve a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Employee introductions. Some people say they aren’t gifted writers, but everybody has a story. Have employees share their personal stories via an internal blog. Just because it’s a “blog” doesn’t mean people have to use words; they can use whatever medium suits them best. They could record audio or video or, if they’re in the mood for a challenge, tell their story with photos.

    Keep in mind that these posts should accomplish the following three things: introduce themselves, define their role at the company and share their areas of expertise.
  1. Meet the manager. Many times managers fill their positions with limited introductions to their teams and departments. Their direct reports – or the executives to whom they report – can often be left wondering who are they? What makes them tick?

    You guessed it – blogs can help fill in the gaps. Using the format of “If I were…” let managers’ imaginations take flight. This can serve as a great teambuilding exercise to enable workers to get to know their higher ups. Employees need to know they can trust and go to their managers with questions, concerns and praise. And an “If I were…” blog post is the ticket to doing just that.

Fostering innovation and collaboration in a corporate environment isn’t impossible. Use the ideas outlined above—and maybe get rid of that dreaded annual performance review—and you’ll see employees working better with their colleagues and managers, across teams and departments to come up with new ideas. And, you’ll see desired results, too: more goals and outcomes being met on a quarterly and annual basis.
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