Navigating the Challenges Associated with Social Software

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We here at Quandora are pretty confident that our software provides companies with a valuable, easy-to-use service that enables them to quickly and effectively capture employee knowledge that would otherwise be lost.

That said, we’re not the ones who need to be sure of our product! If you want to reap the benefits of Enterprise Q&A software usage that we describe on this site, it’s your employees that need to be convinced about the benefits that such a system entails.

Realistically, social software installations often face push-back from employees who view any added demands on their time as being either unnecessary or deliberately frustrating. At the same time, other employees will avoid participation to prevent being seen as over-eager “kiss ups.” Neither one of these issues means that your employees are “bad” – they’re actually perfectly normal responses to change within an organization.

But whether they’re understandable or not, dealing with social software problems in your Quandora launch or ongoing management sure isn’t fun! Keep the solutions described below in mind as you go to avoid missing out on the benefits that an Enterprise Q&A system can bring to your business.

PROBLEM: Your Knowledge Base is “ghost town” empty

Think, for a second, about the success of Facebook and Twitter. Sure, both of these social platforms offer innovative services – but there are plenty of other companies that provide great services without ever building the momentum of these two social giants. Really, it’s the number of people that are actively using Facebook and Twitter that have made them so successful!

People like to follow crowds, so if your Quandora Knowledge Base is devoid of activity, employees will be naturally hesitant to join in. They may be afraid of looking “uncool” for jumping into something that no one else has adopted, or they might simply want to avoid being singled out in any way – even if they’re supposed to be actively contributing to your Enterprise Q&A system.

In this case, the solution is to seed your Knowledge Base with sample questions and answers, before employees even set foot inside of it. You can also enlist a core team of employees to start adding their own questions and answers to the system in order to give it the visible level of participation needed to bring about more widespread adoption.

PROBLEM: Employees aren’t taking your Enterprise Q&A system seriously

Remember earlier when I said that employees are often hesitant to go out on a limb or seem over eager? This desire to fit in often manifests itself in workers who either shirk off their social posting duties or who do the bare minimum needed to pass baseline expectations set by your organization.

To minimize this effect, Quandora includes several game dynamics features that allow users to accrue points, build their reputation and capture bounties based on their participation with the system. But if that isn’t enough to encourage the level of participation you’d like, you may need to offer either a stronger carrot or a stronger stick!

“Carrots,” in this case, come in the form of employee incentives – for example, special employee privileges or tangible rewards. And, conversely, “sticks” includes the negative consequences – like lower review scores or other disciplinary action – that may be necessary to motivate even the most recalcitrant of employees to make use of your new knowledge management system.

PROBLEM: Employees are squabbling over posted answers

One final social software issue that your organization may encounter following your Quandora launch is internal disagreement over what constitutes the “best” answer to any Knowledge Base question.

In many organizations, employees disagree over the best way to carry out different corporate policies and procedures. These squabbles can carry over to your Enterprise Q&A system – especially if you’ve set up a highly permissive user role system that grants “Editor” access to more employees than necessary. If you’ve structured your system in this way, petty disputes may find their way into your company’s questions and answers, with employees changing one another’s responses to suit their particular agendas.

The obvious solution here is to limit the number of employees with “Editor” access. If disputes still arise, disciplinary measures may be necessary to return the focus to the good of your organization – not of a particular worker or department. By taking the time to set up your user roles appropriately and to put a system of incentives and punitive actions in place, you’ll help your company to avoid these common issues that plague social software program launches.

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum.

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