Ch-ch-ch-changes - turn & face the strain

Supporting organisational culture change through collaboration

How do you drive successful change in large organisations?  It’s a challenge facing many across the public sector, often with a focus on the digital transformation of services and ways of working.

While all instances of effective change take time to plan, implement and adopt, bringing people together in an online group can help to ensure colleagues are on board, feel a part of the plan, take ownership and work through any issues affecting them directly.

Over the years, Knowledge Hub has worked with a range of public sector colleagues and organisations to support the development of their online groups. These groups have long been adopting their own cultures to support the sharing and transfer of knowledge, while meeting their members’ needs. Some of the learning from this approach could assist cultural change in organisations.

Steps to success

One thing we noticed is that there are a lot of similarities between the steps that are taken to build a culture change programme and developing an online group. identified 9 steps to organisation change that include evaluating your current culture, clarifying your vision, values, behaviours and priorities, engaging your team, defining goals, managing and measuring against those goals, managing communication well and keeping people motivated throughout.

Similarly, when it comes to building an online group on Knowledge Hub, we have identified the following 10 steps to success:

1.       Define the purpose - what, why, when, who and why

2.       Develop a plan to set direction and keep momentum going

3.       Build a core group of members to be involved and champion the group

4.       Select the right technology for your members’ needs

5.       Seed the group activity with interesting and timely content

6.       Recruit your initial members

7.       Engage your initial members - build trust and encourage participation

8.       Prepare for growth - invite and welcome new members

9.       Review your group’s progress and value to members

10.     Promote your group by reinforcing it as a trusted, reliable working environment

Why does it sometimes go wrong?

When it comes to why culture change fails, Forbes has identified 6 key reasons, such as lack of foresight, strategy and alignment, poor leadership, failure to involve all organisational layers and culture not being seen as a priority.

Much of this seems familiar when we look at why online groups might struggle.

1.      Lack of members

2.      No content or activity / run out of content

3.      No clear purpose or understanding of what’s in for them

4.      Becomes a content dumping ground / copy of content is available elsewhere

5.      Opening the doors to too many members too soon, with little content

6.      Lack of member engagement / new members not welcomed to the group

7.      Facilitators lose interest or lack the facilitation and engagement skills

8.      Lack of responses to questions / lots of forum categories but little content

9.      Forum post are just links to content elsewhere

10.   Little or no communication with members

What can we learn?

For those that have been through any organisation culture change, you’ll know that it takes time and resilience and can potentially create a strained working environment.

It seems to us that the key to making culture change stick is exceptional communication. Online groups can be an effective way to start building a more communicative, collaborative culture. A group can help you build trust, develop plans and crucially provide a space for two-way communication and engagement.

Whether your objective is to introduce a smarter way of working, to implement a more transparent procedure, or to break down silos across departments, creating and building online groups can support it. Perhaps you should give it a try.

Find out about creating a new online group on Knowledge Hub - please note, only registered members can request a new group and sign in is required.

Or, consider building a Knowledge Hub Network to support a collaborative culture across your organisation.

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Paul Whiffen 3 Years Ago

Couldn't agree more about the Communication point - 80% of change management is about communication in my view - I have been doing this and learning from both some successes and the occasional pratfall for 20 years now.


The single most effective thing I have found is a weekly / or two-weekly email to all staff or as many as have shown an interest in the topic (Knowledge Management in my case) sharing some ups and downs and what is going on - people seem to like this.


Also, you need resilience to lead change. Hard to overstate this, comes with practice.