I was part of an industry advisory type forum recently where I actually got a bit frustrated with how professional communicators were getting so caught up ("constipated" might be a better word) in the minutia, that I thought I would die.
It took the frustrated plea from a person representing a company that was likely 80 years old or more, and headquartered in the Midwest, for me to begin to see their key point of frustration.
The breakthrough concept:"Every company (management team) is at a different point in the spectrum of readiness."
For high-tech companies, it could likely come faster and easier. For others, not necessarily the case.
It was suggested that a timeline, noting different stages of deployment, be put together. Such a timeline may help people show their management teams, or visualize for themselves, where they could start the journey, and how systems could move forward, at whatever timeframe works best for that particular company or industry.
With that motivation in mind, I put together a slide to represent EMC's journey, from my vantage point, toward a state that has been referred to with terms such as:
- Web 2.0, or Social Media-Savvy
- Workplace 2.0
- Open Culture
- The "Connection and Collaboration" culture
- The 21st Century model for employee engagement (or organizational communication)
- Employment Branding, leveraging open/transparent behavior norms
As I started to write this post, I quickly realized that this will have to roll out in a series, as the discussion for each year, while only a snapshot, is long enough to be considered a full post.
Here is a look at just Year One of our journey -- that is, the first year in which heat got into the organizational system on the subject. Don't be fooled for how it began. Key people were at the table and watch out -- YEAR TWO was a HUGE year of activity!
Disclaimer: The timeline reflects just my poor-memory look at the some of the steps we took from a vantage point of the Employment Brand Office. This slide is one we could and likely should build-out to show the the richness of approach, reflecting the priorities from many organizations at EMC. If you're reading, Len Devanna, Chuck Hollis, Mark Twomey -- have at ... add to its bounty and truthful depiction!
"SOMETHING IN THE AIR:"
There was a now-famous Board of Directors meeting (which I did not attend) around November of 2006. At the meeting, there was a powerful sentiment that "there was something in the air" with social media for business. Marketing was tasked with "looking into it." Jack Egan, a member of our Board and an exec with deep roots in the IT industry and with VCs, was a key player that day. Whether he knows it or not, he helped provide a type of encouragement, and likely air-cover for current and future storage industry bloggers. How? With this simple sentence, "Chuck, I like your blog."
EMC had about three "mainstream bloggers" at that point -- bloggers like Mark Twomey (aka Storagezilla),field tech out of Ireland; Mark Lewis (Mark's blog) an EVP (now divisional President); and Chuck Hollis (Chuck's blog), Marketing VP & CTO, come to mind.
Where was I?
During 2006, I had just moved into HR and was at the starting gate of understanding what comprised a desirable place to work, and what EMC needed to work on.
By way of workplace collaboration tools, we had eRoom, and e-Mail. We had in-person meetings, web conferencing numbers, and Webcast ability -- and just as often, we forgot to Webcast our internal meetings, so that our colleagues on the West Coast or in Europe could see the presentation as well. Our tools and face-to-face behavior were an increasing source of frustration for many of our workers. (Examples: College students joining EMC expected more than we had to offer in terms of collaboration tools, web access, and telecommuting. Acquired companies and operations outside of Massachusetts had to remind us all too often to consider time zones, and the virtual sharing of content to be discussed.)
I had been reading the early blogs, and advocating for more social tools (ala IM) inside of EMC. I was love/hating the prodding we were getting from our recently acquired West Coast companies/divisions. It seemed, to me, that they were ahead of the game with regard to workplace collaboration. I was concerned EMC wasn't moving fast enough.
NEXT POST: YEAR TWO
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What do you recall about your workplace norms in 2006? Where were you/your company?
-- Polly Pearson