Apres Le Deluge
My home town of Hebden Bridge has been in the news this week, inundated with surface water causing floods for the second time in a matter of weeks. As we watched a month’s rain fall in only three hours, news came through that roads were closed and that even properties on the hillsides were awash.
- How do you generate that emotion or desire to be involved? A flood, some other breaking news story, talent show or sporting fixture is not the same as your new HR policy. Why would people get so passionate about your in-company policies, procedures and developments (unless they were under threat of losing their jobs)? How do you ensure that the passionate are at the forefront of the communications? How do you generate the excitement required to drive the information flow?
- How do you deal with misinformation? For the most part the misinformation in this instance were innocent mistakes, but the lack of barriers to involvement mean it is pretty easy to spread malicious disinformation should one wish. How does an organisation build its credibility and ensure that news from official sources – like the Police in this example – are properly checked out and posted appropriately? Who manages this and monitors the information – correcting errors and limiting the spread of rumour and half-truths? From a user generated process which is more efficient and requires fewer resources have we moved to a situation where a whole new set of skills, protocols and, potentially, staff are required?
- How do we ensure that something happens once people have the information? Promulgating information is not enough for something to be described as learning. If social media in learning is merely about speeding up and bringing new dimensions to our communications then that’s fine, but let’s understand that that is what it does. If it is about changing behaviour and enabling people to do things differently and do different things (surely what training is about) then let’s also recognise where it falls short and needs the back up of other interventions. The main lesson from this dreadful experience in my community was that it was the existence of that strong community, bolstered by real connections in the analogue world, which made the digital mobilisation work.
Robin Hoyle is a writer and consultant working with organisations large and small to implement change through people development. He has a long track record of strategic L&D leadership and materials development and design - working for a wide range of organisations in private, public and voluntary sectors in the UK and throughout the world...