Undercover Boss: How SharePoint Can Help Management

After the Superbowl, where the “Who Dat Nation” conquered the Indianapolis Colts, CBS previewed a new program called Undercover Boss.  It is an intriguing concept.  Take the CEO/President of a company and have them work undercover for their own company.   I DVR’d it and had the opportunity to watch the first episode last night.  In this episode, the President/COO of Waste Management worked at five different locations doing different jobs, from recycling, to port-a-potty cleaning, to riding a trash truck, to picking up trash in a land fill.  Along the way, he got to experience how his decisions and policies as an Executive affected the front-line employees in his company.  He was even “fired” by one person for not picking up trash fast enough.  The one thing that he kept saying was, “I didn’t know”.  He didn’t realize that the cost cutting measures they instituted created a situation where one lady was actually doing the work of three to four individuals, but getting paid as admin staff.  He found out that lady truck drivers had to pee in a coffee can because of the production quotas they had implemented.  He found out that some employees were being docked two minutes of pay for each minute they were late.  He also found out that he had some real good and loyal employees.  Employees who needed recognition.  Employees who had good attitudes and ideas.  Employees who were the face of his company to their customers.

So – how does this relate to SharePoint?  One thing I love about SharePoint is that it is a social computing platform.  It enables team building.  It encourages collaboration.  It enables the flow of information to flow efficiently in many directions.  Used effectively, C-Level Executives don’t have to say – “I didn’t know.”

Here are some ideas on how Management can leverage SharePoint in their company.

  1. Executive blogs.  I don’t care what company you work for, all employees are interested in what the Executive Team is doing to make sure that they have jobs in the future.  It doesn’t take much time for a CEO or President to  jot down a few notes about the direction of the company.  It is commonly known that successful companies have leaders who are visionary, and communicate that vision to the company.  When employees feel that they play an active part in that vision, they are more productive and loyal.  When employees see the CEO communicating his personal thoughts in a blog, managment becomes more real instead of some faceless entity handing down edicts.
  2. Surveys.  Want to know what people think about a certain subject?  Ask them.  SharePoint has surveys right out of the box! And, they are easy to create.
  3. BI.  SharePoint has some pretty good BI tools.  With Dashboards, LOB data integration, Excel services, and workflow, among others, SharePoint is positioned to be an efficient platform for surfacing BI data.
  4. Search.  How many times have you known a piece of information exists in the company but you can’t find it, so you recreate it.  How many hours do you spend searching for the right piece of information? Sam Goodner has blogged about what CEO’s don’t want to hear.  He also talks about what they do want to hear.   In one of his examples, he documents how it costs $28,125 per year per employee because of poor findability in their company.  Now I don’t know if these are actual numbers but think about it,  can you quantify your informational findability?
  5. Workflow.  Whether you use the OOB workflows or create your own with Designer or Visual Studio, processes can be automated making your business more efficient.
  6. My Sites.  While this is most likely one of the most controversial parts of SharePoint in an organization, if an organization embraces My Sites, you will have realized the 360 degree aspect of social computing.  What happens when I need to know who in my company is an expert on a certain subject?  I can do a People Search to find someone who is an expert on that subject?  I can then visit their site and find papers and such that they have published on the subject.  I can establish a relationship with them and invite them to collaborate something I am working on.  Just think of the possibilities for organizations that have offices throughout the world.

These are just some ideas.  Look around you.  Social computing has taken hold in our everyday lives. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare becoming household words, employees are expecting that same type of interactivity and socialization in their company.  Executives that embrace these technologies and actively participate in these technologies, will never again have to say, “I didn’t know…”.

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