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5 Critical Questions to Ask Before Implementing a Team Collaboration Tool

There are a lot of benefits to implementing a team collaboration tool like Workplace by Facebook. As I’ve written before, an enterprise social network can improve communication, streamline collaboration, and even improve and strengthen the culture of your organization.

5 Critical Questions Before Implementing a Team Collaboration Tool

But as great as the benefits are, implementation shouldn’t be done too hastily. In order to truly reap the benefits, organizations need to implement any enterprise collaboration tool in a strategic and considered way. 

Before implementing any tool, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do You Have Executive Buy-In?    

It’s obviously important that C-suite executives sign off on the adoption of any team collaboration tool, but sign-off alone isn’t enough. Company leaders need to take a more active role—they need to be active on the platform from day one and (at least initially) be some of the most regular users. 

“Having executives ready to lead by example and show their support in this initiative will be critical to achieve high levels of engagement and trust,” says a Workplace by Facebook implementation guide. It recommends that:

  • An organization arranges a workshop for executives to go over the benefits, goals, and day-to-day use of the platform
  • CEOs post welcome videos on the work collaboration tool that users see when they first log onto the platform
  • C-suite executives post live videos on the platform during the week of launch to explain the reasons behind the initiative and encourage employees to adopt the platform

2. How Will You Roll Out the Team Collaboration Tool?

Making a team collaboration tool available to 20,000 employees on a single day is not a good idea. Before you implement it across an entire organization, you want to start off on a smaller scale and make it available to a few select departments only. By doing this, you learn  what works and where the points of friction are. You’ll also quickly be able to tell if your deployment plan is solid, or if there are some gaps and oversights that need to be addressed before you scale the tool. 

“While a company’s first instinct might be to jump in and quickly deploy Slack across the organization, successful teams take a moment to slow down before they speed up,” says the Slack blog. “Take a step back, think about the company’s vision for using Slack, and then lay out those goals in a project plan.

“To ensure success, especially at larger scales, you have to set boundaries and ground rules for Slack. Determine which business processes and workflows will benefit from being incorporated into Slack channels and which will remain as they are. There are most likely several managerial oversight meetings you can skip once project discussions take place in channels, but maybe there are financial regulations that require some meetings to continue unchanged. If you have a goal of transparency, make rules about when and what subjects are acceptable in private channels, while setting other channels to public by default.”

Microsoft agrees. When it comes to implementing Teams, the company recommends that companies “create two or three teams and channels for a select group of early adopters. By first rolling out Teams on a small scale, you'll learn Teams by using Teams and gain valuable insights to inform how you deploy Teams across your whole organization.”

3. Do You Have a Communication Policy in Place?

Once an enterprise social network has been rolled out across an organization, a lot of communication will be taking place on it, which means companies need a way of monitoring and managing all these conversations. As with email, a work collaboration tool can become a conduit for harassment, bullying, and other inappropriate behavior, so a communication policy is key. 

Your organization probably already has an internal communication policy that clearly outlines what acceptable communication looks like. This document should be used as the foundation for an enterprise collaboration policy that explains what employees are allowed to share and discuss on the platform. 

At the same time, your HR department should be empowered to monitor platform use and investigate any accusations of inappropriate behavior. This means putting some kind of monitoring solution in place that flags unsuitable content, and archiving all this data to ensure that a complete, defensible record of communications is retained.

4. Have You Considered the Data Security Risks?

Just as employees can have inappropriate conversations on enterprise collaboration platforms, they can also share sensitive information. Because of this, companies need to have a data loss prevention strategy in place before rolling out a team collaboration tool. 

This means organizations have to be able to:

  • Monitor activity in enterprise collaboration tools to identify inappropriate data sharing
  • Have posts and conversations flagged as soon as sensitive information is communicated
  • Place flagged data on legal hold to prevent disposal as part of regular retention scheduling 

As is the case with email, an enterprise collaboration platform can quickly hold incredibly large volumes of sensitive data. IT security teams need to be able to find and manage all this unstructured data in order to prevent data loss/leakage.

5. Do You Have Champions Who’ll Drive Adoption?

Both Slack and Workplace by Facebook emphasize the importance of early champions in the roll-out of a work collaboration tool. 

According to Slack, champions are “a key resource for helping others get started with Slack. Have them available to answer questions either in direct messages or, better yet, in a #slack-help channel you create to let anyone in the company post questions and read answers.”

Workplace makes a similar statement. “Having early adopters and influencers supporting the change management across locations and departments guarantees that the value of Workplace is understood faster while reducing administrative work on your side. We recommend having 5%-10% of your total employee size as champions.” 

Workplace recommends:

  • Identifying champions early on and inviting them to the platforms a couple of weeks ahead of the official launch
  • Training these champions on proper use of the platform so they can assist others
  • Encouraging champions to post content in groups ahead of the launch to ensure that new users see relevant information when they first log on

A Strategic Approach to Enterprise Collaboration

As the Slack blog puts so succinctly, when it comes to implementing an enterprise collaboration tool, it’s important to slow down before speeding up. The last thing you want is a rogue install that mushrooms until a large portion of the organization is using it without oversight. Before simply allowing employees to start using any platform, it’s crucial that a comprehensive governance framework be put in place. By taking the time to make sure that your organization retains complete control of what is shared through a team collaboration tool, you greatly reduce any associated risks and ensure you reap the maximum benefits.

Pagefreezer assists companies with the monitoring, collection, and archiving of enterprise social networking data to mitigate risk, prevent data loss, and enforce communication policies. Learn how we can help your organization by speaking to one of our experts.

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