The seventh change management benchmarking study conducted by Prosci uncovered lessons learned from change practitioners around the world, examining topics ranging from advice for new practitioners to the application of social media on change projects. This action-oriented report is aimed at improving your change management work by helping you draw on the experiences of others.
This tutorial contains an excerpt from the seventh Best Practices in Change Management report outlining the use of Web 2.0 and social networking tools.
We took the opportunity in 2011 to ask some new questions in the change management study. Some of these questions stemmed from the direction of the field of change management, while other questions were in response to frequent inquiries from participants in our trainings. This tutorial features a set of questions inspired by the latter.
Findings on the use of social media from Prosci's 2012 edition of Best Practices in Change Management
With all the 'buzz' around social media in today's world, change practitioners wanted to know if social networking tools were being used to facilitate the management of change, or as a supplementary communication vehicle. If so, what tools were being used?
Interestingly, almost one in five participants utilized Web 2.0 or social networking tools (Figure 53).
Social media and Web 2.0 tools used
Participants who reported using Web 2.0 or social networking tools identified four categories of applications that they used. The respondents reported using internal group information sharing and discussion media twice as often as any other response.
Internal group information sharing and discussion media This most common response indicated that exclusive, internally used networking applications were the most common application of Web 2.0. Examples of tools that were identified by participants included blogs, wikis, discussion boards and internally created project portals.
Public web-based tools The second most commonly used tools were applications for sharing information and prompting dialogue in a public forum in the form of 'conventional' social networking tools.
Outward communication tools In utilizing Web 2.0 tools, participant responses indicated the use of one-way information delivery, such as message boards, email, podcasts and video on demand.
Collaboration tools Tools designed for collaboration were a fourth application of Web 2.0 and social networking tools identified by participants. Examples included poll and vote technology and questionnaires.
Benefits of social media and Web 2.0 tools in communications
Three primary benefits were identified by participants who used Web 2.0 or social networking applications.
Get messages out The most commonly cited reason for using Web 2.0 and social networking applications was to communicate messages to a broader audience, faster and more efficiently.
Engage the organization Respondents reported that Web 2.0 and social networking tools were used to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment by encouraging a more open dialogue within the organization. Additionally, these newer methods of communication were used to engage all generations.
Informal feedback and tracking A third benefit identified by participants was the availability of informal feedback and monitoring of staff's perceptions regarding the change. This ability helped to identify and manage resistance or potential resistance and solve misconceptions or problems early on in the change process.
Recommendations regarding social media and Web 2.0 tools
Five primary recommendations for others who were looking to use the new communication media offered by Web 2.0 were provided by participants who had used social networking applications:
"If it works for you, use it."
Consider the culture of your company and the audience you are trying to reach before considering the use of Web 2.0 and social networking tools.
Dedicate someone to be responsible for monitoring and responding to postings, email or other communication media.
Determine how you want to use the application before using it.
Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.