Why Culture Is Crucial to Any Launch Strategy

NewsGator Adoption Framework and Competency Program

One of my favorite aspects of working at NewsGator is working directly with the rock stars who make social real for customers every day. In part, they do this through the NewsGator Adoption Framework Competency Program where we learn to apply the Technology Enablement, People Engagement, and Business Alignment expertise to ensure NewsGator customers realize the full potential and value from their enterprise social deployments. The Adoption Framework was crowdsourced with our partners and customers, and it continues to evolve as we evaluate real organizations that are going through, or have gone through, social implementations. By using our combined knowledge and experience, customers are able to evaluate and accelerate their social implementations to new levels.

NewsGator Adoption Framework

Meet a Rock Star

One such rock star is Jenna Rifkin, a Solutions Consultant at Synergy Corporate Technologies.

Jenna has some great stories to share that illustrate why understanding an organization’s culture is key to success, stories that also touch on several elements of the NewsGator Adoption Framework.
- Tobi Anderson NewsGator, Director, Training & Education

Read below to hear directly from Jenna about why culture should be a key component of your launch strategy.

The Crucial Elements

In my years working as a Synergy Solutions Consultant, helping clients design and launch socially enabled SharePoint intranet portals, I’ve learned that the most crucial element of a social launch strategy is ensuring that the plan is culturally appropriate and aligns with a company’s vision, mission, and values.

Highlighted Elements of the NewsGator Adoption Framework

What Is Culture?

In the modern working world, nearly all of us will experience working in different types of corporate cultures throughout our professional careers. Each of us has seen and experienced first-hand how different corporate environments impact how employees interact, communicate and collaborate. But what exactly is a culture?

According to John Kotter, a contributor at Forbes.com, “Culture consists of group norms of behavior and the underlying shared values that help keep those norms in place.” Culture is notoriously difficult to change; so, when launching any new tool or solution, ensuring that the launch and implementation strategy fits within and complements the existing culture, will help you succeed.

Recognition and Education Elements

For example, in a corporate environment that is very focused on peer recognition of accomplishments, you need to encourage those same behaviors in a digital space. Similarly, when launching a tool in a very structured and hierarchical culture, you need to take extra care to educate employees prior to launch — explaining appropriate posting tips and examples, so that employees can feel confident participating in the new platform.

The Elements in Action for an Open, Creative Culture

I have seen this principle prove accurate time and time again in my experience consulting at Synergy. We recently worked with a large apparel company to launch a newly designed, socially enabled portal. The culture of this company has a reputation, internally and externally, for being very open, humorous, fun, and creative. The company places a strong value on recognizing peers for their accomplishments, but enjoys doing this in a casual and relaxed way. When planning the best approach for their launch, Synergy recommended the use of short, humorous training videos to help employees understand how to use the new toolset in a way that suits their relaxed culture. The launch also included NewsGator’s rewards and recognition capabilities to encourage employees to engage with the tool and recognize their peers. These two strategies created an incredibly successful launch with a tremendous buzz of enthusiasm for the new portal. The portal continues to be successful and to evolve because the team has an ongoing focus to encourage adoption and usage with culturally relevant methods.

The Elements in Action for a Knowledge-Focused Culture

This premise also proved to be true during Synergy’s work with an international business services company. The culture at this organization was very focused on professional knowledge sharing, with a high value placed on expertise and contribution to the organization as a whole. By understanding the focus of this corporate culture, it was clear that any implementation of a social tool would be most successful if it was able to capitalize on the value of knowledge sharing. To do this, Synergy recommended the use of NewsGator’s social learning capabilities with practice-focused communities. The company also implemented NewsGator’s expertise discovery functions to help determine where the true expertise in the organization resided and to recognize accomplishments with digital badging. The launch was a resounding success, garnering praise from employees who had been frustrated and vocal about their dissatisfaction with the prior portal.

Culture is Crucial

While these are only two examples in the range of companies that Synergy has worked with, it’s been consistent that culture plays a big role in the success of launching a social portal at each and every client.

Learn more about the NewsGator Adoption Framework Competency program — or contact us to help you make your social portal an enterprise-wide success!


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