Increasing Social Intranet Adoption: You Can’t Force Change

change-same-switchSurely no one reading this ever dug your heels as a child and flat out refused to do something simply because you were told to, did you? And no one would ever respond negatively to the line of reason “because I said so,” would they (we really need a sarcasm font)?


These serve as prime examples, even in the workplace, that forcing change can be met with serious backlash, especially when it comes to implementing a social intranet within your organization.

Social intranets bring about a lot of transformation within your company, and when you consider that no one likes being told what to do without an understanding or firsthand experience of why change is taking place, they can be met with roadblocks. Forcing change and adoption can lead to discouraged employees who are simply following orders without any thought about how new processes can improve your business.

The bottom line is you can’t force change, and any successful organizational adjustment begins with good management and leadership. Successful adoption of a social intranet has to ultimately be organic and employee-driven because they recognize its benefits for it to have any positive business impact or staying power.

For most type-A people (and if you’re a business owner or manager, then it’s likely you are one), it’s difficult to take a laissez-faire approach to something that you so eagerly want to succeed. Forcing new patterns of behavior isn’t your ticket to that success, however, and taking some alternate approaches can take ensure genuine adoption of your new social intranet platform.


1. Don’t Be a Helicopter Boss

We all know the term “helicopter parenting,” but it applies to bosses and managers as well. Want to drive people away from genuine collaboration? Simply hover around their desks, breathe down their necks and chastise them until they’re behaving in accordance with your goals. That always seems to work.

If you want to encourage successful adoption and collaboration, give your employees space to figure out your social intranet collectively as a team, and let them gravitate to the features that suit their needs and projects best.


2. Equip Employees With Training

You might have tried the hands-off, hover-free approach already with little success. But, how much training did you provide during that phase? While training employees might seem counterintuitive to being hands-off, it’s actually essential to encouraging adoption. Ensure your training is interactive, casual and focused on what employees want to know about the social intranet, not what you think they need to know. When it’s tailored to their everyday tasks and needs, they’re a lot more apt to pay attention, be excited about it and put what they learn into practice.

3. Inspire With a Case Study or Success Story

Another easy way to improve social intranet adoption without forcing it on your staff is to inspire them with success stories. Applying names, situations, metrics and stories to your new platform will get your employees excited about what they could do. Provide your employees with the knowledge and training they need to effectively use the new platform and create space for organic growth and adoption. After all, what employee wouldn’t want better office camaraderie through the chat feature or to increase productivity and improve feedback with document collaboration?

We know you’re eager to get your social intranet firing on all cylinders, but we implore you to resist the urge to force it on employees. Sometimes social intranet adoption is a practice in patience – though that doesn’t mean you need to sit around twiddling your thumbs while you wait for it to take off! Practice our above tips to encourage – rather than force – adoption.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the other tips in our “Increasing Social Intranet Adoption” series from the beginning to help ensure your new platform is a success. And catch our full on-demand webinar with 451 Research on “The Top 10 Tips to Improve Social Intranet Adoption and Collaboration.”