Governance – A Critical Element for Enterprise Social Success

In our final #OfficeHours online customer jam session, we got down to talking about one of the hottest topics on our customers’ minds, governance. Whether you are far into your enterprise social network journey or just starting out, a good governance plan is super important to your collaboration community success.  Read on to hear what we learned during #OfficeHours.

What is governance?

One of our members summed up governance perfectly - “to help ensure a better and more successful community experience.” The term governance in the enterprise social context broadly covers the broad range of things you need to do to keep your network healthy including policies and procedures, onboarding new people, creating new communities, content and sharing guidelines, and an archiving strategy. Anything that helps keep your community healthy, happy, and moving along makes up your governance plan.

Restrictions vs. Freedom

A number of our members were really interested in each other’s take on finding the balance between a tight community governance model and the freedom to grow organically. As with most things when it comes to enterprise social networks the answer is often varied and depends on your specific culture and level of social maturity. 


Most of our customers fit somewhere in the center of this, trying to make their community governance model non-restrictive but also keeping check on the things that are important to maintain upkeep and order. I predict the balance to become more clearly defined in years to come.

Policies and Procedures

It’s without a doubt that policies and procedures are required to help your enterprise social network thrive. But do you need to reinvent the wheel on this one or can existing company policies suffice? The views were mixed. Some of our customers have created dedicated terms of use documents and require all users to accept them. Others capitalize on documents which are already in place like a social media usage policy or employee code of conduct. Whichever route you take, giving your users guidelines around expected behaviors is paramount for any governance plan.

Design Factors

Another consideration for a governance model is the ability to update, edit, or alter the design of your sites. Since Sitrion works on SharePoint, this can go as far as accessing SharePoint Designer to make significant changes to the way your site is constructed. I believe that good governance also means a solid user experience and interface. Inconsistency across your communities can lead to confusion and lower adoption levels. I encourage you to be consistently simple in your approach to design, and don’t allow your users too much freedom to get creative with the user experience and interface.

Governing Your Community Managers

The last part of the conversation was around governing your community managers and providing them with the right toolkit to get their jobs done. But the overarching message from everyone in our fold was, whether or not you deliver face-to-face online training, to have strict or relaxed community manager onboarding. One rule remains the same; you must continue to engage your community managers right throughout the entire community life cycle to ensure their ongoing success.

Next year!

This was our final #OfficeHours online jam for the year. We’ll be back in 2015. Happy holidays!

Luke Sinclair, Director of Community

Luke's personal mission is to to make employees smile and love their workplace by lighting up social networks and online employee communities, empowering the voice of the employee. Luke’s roll is critical to the survival of humanity; by nurturing better relationships at work, people are happier, healthier and have a better life which in turn leads to world peace! Luke brings his vision for engagement to all things Sitrion where he helps make social a reality for businesses around the world.


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