It's about people...but employees are special people

By Bertrand Duperrin posted 06-04-2010 12:02


One of the most common thing we can hear about enterprise 2.0 is that "it's about people". Despite that's the undisputable truth, this idea may sometimes be misleading when it has to be turned into an action plan.

So it's about people but...

1°) It's for the company

We need, for sure, to take people's needs, expectations and constraints into consideration but the first thing that deserves attention is the company's needs. There are two reasons to that. The first is that no money will be invested in anything until businesses are sure they will get some kind of benefits from it. The second is that in today's business world, people are more than resources, they are assets. Companies only want to get the most of their assets and that's all. Maybe some would like a more humanist explainations but the truth for many organizations (there are exceptions of course) is that they want to get the most of what thy invest in human capital

2°) Then it's about people

Once a given organization understands it has to provide people with the right tools and change a couple of internal and external business practices to let their people deliver their full potential, then things become to be about people. What matter is to understand their needs, constraints and help them to adopt new ways of doing things (keeping in mind it has to comply with internal governance and be aligned with corporate goals) because it's about putting them in a situation where they can give their best in the way that's the most comfortable to them. They are the only one who decide what they give so businesses have to care a lot about sense and listen a lot.

3°) But at the end it's about employees

I know that enterprise 2.0 things are not limited to employees as social business has to involve all stakeholders, either internal and external, but the fact remains : nothing works if employees refuse to play the game, what in most cases means it makes no sense to them. Web 2.0 is about people and Enterprise 2.0 is about employees...who are a special kind of people and most of all is some cultures where privacy and personal/business life and practices separation matter. Employees are paid to do things and their work is evaluated. People may want to try things and have fun, employees try to put themselves at risk because, unlike web people, they have a lot to lose (their job or future opportunities for instance). People are human, employees tend to be political. Should they be told that it's the beginning of a new management era, they need evidences first. People may say on the web "this product is not as good as expected" but if they work at the company that produces it would they say the same and sugest improvements ? They should, businesses expect them to do so, but they often fear the consequences because their own managers are seldom aligned with what the company now expects. Saying employees "now you can behave as people in the worplace" is like saying "go to swin in this pool full of sharks...they promised they won't bite anymore".

So Enterprise 2.0 is, of course about people but the main challenge is to make employees behave as people. This is not an adoption issue but a cultural and managerial one.


#Management #culture #enterprise2.0