One of the biggest points of resistance to social learning for talent development is a fear of losing control. What if people can't get along? What if people are inappropriate? What if they share incorrect information? What if no one uses it? What if they spend all their time on it?
Lots of what-ifs.
So let's talk about what you can do to support meaningful peer-to-peer learning and productive collaboration via a social learning network.
Simon Sinek It
Start with why. When you get clear on the reason you're using a social learning network to grow the talent in your organization, everything falls into place. You'll feel more confident in defending the decision and doing what it takes to make it work well at your organization. You'll also be better able to plan your launch and connect the right people to the cause.
Some popular why's:
break down siloes and increase collaboration
boost feelings of belonging
grow the existing learning culture
quit "reinventing the wheel" when it comes to training
Plan for Participation
The surest way to fail is to go live without a plan-- no launch leading up to the big day, no structure to the network, no plan for community building.
Without a plan, you'll either get chaos or crickets.
Take the time to get to know your users and their needs. Pre-enroll people into groups or channels of interest. Schedule posts in advance so the network isn't empty. Upload branded content and images ahead of time.
Do what it takes to make it look like a soon-to-be-thriving digital space for connecting with colleagues.
You'll need to set clear expectations and boundaries without going overboard. Think guidelines, not policy manual.
Come up with a few rules that capture the spirit of your code of conduct, and place them somewhere visible in the social learning network-- whether that's a pinned post, featured resource, knowledge base article, bot prompt, or something else.
Determine what to do if people break those rules. Will you have conversations? Will you delete posts and comments? Will you suspend accounts?
Identify moderators who can help monitor the social channels and ensure everyone is participating in a positive or productive manner.
Choose Your Champions and Align with Influencers
Change management 101 -- you need people to champion your change, especially people of influence.
Identify folks who are excited about your social learning network, and figure out who it is that people listen to. Invite them into the process.
Ask the Change Champions and Internal Influencers how they want to participate and leverage their talents in a way that works for all.
Ultimately, you will need a balance of individuals serving:
You can learn more about who to choose and how to work with them in this post.
Review User Data
Social learning networks grow organically, which is wonderful, but you shouldn't just set it and forget it.
Use data analytics about participation and trending conversations to continue serving your people what they need and want to thrive at work.
Recognition & Positive Reinforcement
Reward can be a powerful motivator, as can demonstrations of gratitude.
Take the time to recognize those who are using the platform in a way that enhances your organization's learning culture.
You might create a celebratory post to mark the achievements of your team/team members. You might even award badges as people achieve goals or hit milestones.
Ready to implement a social learning network at your organization?
Learn more here.