By | Prabodh Sirur | In search of Postitive Intranets at In search of Positive Intranets
“Suresh, you are sitting on a goldmine of stories. We want to help you put all these stories on paper. It will be a shame if you don’t write”, My colleague Pankaj and I were nudging a CEO of a Leadership training company. Ultimately he lowered his guard and allowed us to help him write his first book.
We had many employee communities in our company. All these communities were managed by a central committee that was elected by employees. It was great fun conducting the elections where many ‘parties’ contested.
My story, this week, is about our Writers’ Club.
Our Writers’ Club had members from various business units, Some were juniors, some others were senior managers. Some were from technical field, some from support functions. All of them had a common passion – writing. They had created an intranet page on our company website and would religiously write their blogs. Some would write stories and some would write poems. They would meet regularly to assess the quality of output of each others’ creations. They also maintained statistics about the visits to their pages and comments received from other employees etc.
This went on for quite some time. As Head of Employee Engagement, I would attend some of their meetings. After a while, I saw that their enthusiasm level was going down; probably because their readership was restricted to the club members only. Very few employees outside of their members visited their creations.
We had to find a way to keep the club going.
Suresh’s company had helped us a lot in our leadership development efforts. It was a year-long programme. Suresh himself conducted all the sessions for our senior managers. We all had great affection for him. He cared deeply about the growth of our leaders; every session demonstrated his concern for our people. He was not a vendor; he was part of us.
We saw a great opportunity of showing our gratitude to him if we could help him write his book.
We spoke to the Writers’ Club about this project. They were happy to help. It was an opportunity for them too to show their writing skill.
Every month Suresh would make a visit to our office and explain a chapter to the club members; they would, together, pen the chapter. This went on until the book was complete.
What did we achieve from the whole exercise?
We created a concrete programme for the Writers’ Club. They will never forget this gesture. Suresh will always feel indebted to our company for creating an author out of him.
I want to re-live those memories and remember the contribution of some of the Writers’ Club members who participated in the crowd writing exercise – Lizzie Lewis, the backbone of the club, Dheeman, Piyush, Rathish, Pankaj, Ameya, Venky, Sharath, Shalini, Srividhya and Pranab. I don’t know where all of them are today. Wherever they are, I am sure they are leveraging from this experience.
Most large companies invest in employee communities. Many of these companies reap great results when they direct these communities towards nurturing employees’ talents and towards using their talents to serve the community at large.
Teaching your team to write will be a great personal gift from you to each member of your team. Your crowd-authoring experiment will be a unique team building activity. What’s more, what your team creates for your business/company will be a useful business artefact. It will also add to your personal brand.
Here’s how you can do the co-creation exercise.
- Set up a monthly meeting to co-create an article, something of interest/benefit to your company
- Brainstorm for the content of the article (with first half an hour to think individually/google for content, sharing)
- Agree writing guideline (word count – between 600-1200, agree on the keywords for better SEO, should have a research orientation ….)
- Who should manage the meeting/collate the content? – the team member who celebrated his/her birthday most recently.