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If you were thinking of launching your internal social network with a big bang, think again.


At Deutsche Bank, they barely told employees about MyDB at the start – but within a year 62% had signed up. The figure is now 97% of the bank’s 100,000 worldwide staff.

It’s been so successful that large parts of the bank’s original intranet are about to be switched off because they’re no longer needed.

Anne-Marie Imafidon (pictured right), assistant vice president and enterprise collaboration strategist at DB, will outline the ‘Five steps’ needed for a successful social intranet at IoIC Live in Brighton on Friday May 1.

She refuses to reveal them in advance but says her presentation will be about the MyDB’s journey.

“It’s about having a social network and getting such widespread use that you get to the point where it becomes the company intranet,” she explains, although she admits to being surprised by the quick uptake.

“That level of participation is remarkable,” says Anne-Marie. “Those of us involved in setting it up all had bets at the beginning of what adoption would be after the first year - and the closest person was half of the actual figure.”

MyDB, which is based on Jive, works because it’s made life easier for employees with quick answers to a range of questions and challenges.

“It filled a communications gap,” she explains. “It’s become like a Google for work. In the past if you wanted to find out something internally, you might be able to find a contact email for someone who might know, you’d email them and you’d probably get an ‘out of office’ and it could take weeks to get the information you needed.

“Now you search for something and almost always you’ll find someone has talked about it – you can then post and say ‘What’s happening?’ or post something yourself. That’s a big difference.”

It’s also the wide range of subjects covered that make MyDB so useful.

“You might want to find out about anything from being a carer or day-to-day admin to what’s happening with a new initiative or understand more about senior leadership…it could even be about which DB employee was once a drummer on Top of the Pops!

“It’s like an internal Google that covers everything you want to know.”

Anne-Marie also thinks it’s important that uptake spread by word of mouth, proving that the softly, softly launch was the best way to go.

“A big bang is normally what we’re in the habit of doing in comms,” she says. “With MyDB, we didn’t really tell anyone about it but with staff just discovering it and whispering to each other, we’ve got this far.”

Part of the soft approach was to take the attitude of ‘This is here. If you want to know how to use it, let us know’, even with senior leaders.

Now that MyDB is established, the ‘nudging’ continues.

“We integrate it with other things and you nudge people to participate a little bit more, along the lines of ‘It’s great for you to search but how about you generate some content?’,” says Anne-Marie.

“We encourage people to put as much material on as they can, we use phrases like ‘Work out loud’.”

She admits there has been some resistance because, in a financial organisation, many people often work on a ‘need to know’ basis.

“Also, occasionally some sensitive information has gone on but generally people self-police and we’re quickly alerted to anything that shouldn’t be there,” she adds.

Almost all Anne-Marie’s work goes on MyDB. “I put minutes from meetings on, draft reports, publish blogs, all kinds,” she says.

“Of course MyDB is my job, but that’s not the only reason I put material on there – I do it because it works.

“That’s why so many people have become advocates and champions and why the uptake is so high – because they get so much from it.”

Anne-Marie Imafidon will present her ‘Five steps to a social intranet’ at IoIc Live in Brighton on Friday May 1.

Other speakers will include Angela Ashenden on what to do when employees don’t want to use social collaboration, Dean van Leeuwen on the comms generation gap, Sheila Hirst on the IC professional as coach, Saskia Jones on becoming a trusted advisor at Oxfam GB and Greg Stewart on communicating health & safety at Tesco via a cartoon superhero.

To download a full programme or book your place, click here
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