Having good technology on offer to support the profiling of employee expertise is a helpful capability in collaboration tools. Add to the mix the right balance of human behaviours, and you have a situation ripe for benefit. Three such behavioural aspects of making employee profiles work are:
- Define the Profile Baseline. It is useful to have a minimum standard for profile information, modelled by senior executives, and for this to become an accepted way of working at your organisation. While people should feel free include more details in their profile, there are at least four items which should be included in your minimum standard: an up-to-date professional photo, a contact phone number, the geographical location in which the person usually works (which signals time zone details), and a job title. Of course if Skype for Business (or something similar) is a part of the mix at your firm, a couple of these items are handled even better with Skype: a Skype contact name instead of a contact phone number, and a presence and availability indicator to show availability independent of normal geographical location.
- Senior Executive Modelling. If your senior executives want the collaboration tool to succeed, they should model the behaviours they seek from others. Their own profiles should be up-to-date with more than the minimum amount of information. Executives should be active in using the tools for day-to-day work. They should emphasise to their direct reports the importance of creating a viable place for collaboration in the product or service being used. While executive involvement isn’t a silver bullet for success with collaboration tools, few organisations succeed in the face of active executive resistance.
- Don’t Ask for Dumb Data. Employees should not have to fill in “dumb data,” which is data that is already authoritatively stored and known from other systems. First name, last name, email address, phone numbers, office location, manager, assistant, and similar data should not be requested from employees when filling in their profile; those details are well-known, and should be auto-populated. In some cases an employee will need to correct the data (which should be done in the kingpin system and then flow through), or an employee may not want particular data broadcast across the entire firm. In the latter case having the ability to add security permissions to data elements is a useful system capability.
What other behavioural aspects have you seen making a difference in the effective use of employee profiles?