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CILIP KIM Summer Webinar - 27th May 2020
"Supporting virtual communities of practice through an internal social media platform: a case study Arthur Robbins, Roche UK" by Dion Lindsay & Stephen Phillips


Arthur runs a small Library and Information Services (LIS) supporting 1500 staff at Roche UK in Welwyn Garden City.  In 2015 Roche piloted Google+, long since withdrawn from the public domain but still available as an enterprise app, to provide an internal social media platform to enable employees to develop a range of internal communities. 


Community cohesion

Four types of community emerged following the production deployment in 2016:


    • Location based communities: across Roche's global office campus to share local stories
    • Practitioner based communities: around groups with common business interests
    • Network communities: for people with shared characteristics: e.g. the early careers network
    • Communities of interest: focused on hobbies and personal interests.  These sites enable employees to bring their whole selves to work and have been increasingly popular during lockdown

LIS established its own vibrant community to drive engagement.  To bring this to life, LIS organised events to promote social media.  They regularly posted content to their own site as well as providing material to other sites.  Later they worked with technology colleagues to enable Google Cloud Search to maximise the value of the sites, improve the utility of the platform and drive more activity.


Lessons learned

Arthur reflected on some challenges of social media in an enterprise setting.  Firstly the lack of effective governance led to the proliferation of sites (over 6,000 across Roche).  There are many hundreds of poorly maintained or redundant sites.  Whilst each site has at least one moderator, they were provided little guidance and were over delegated authority to manage, maintain and remove content. 


Secondly, when enabling the Google Cloud Search capability, no one could anticipate GDPR which required private posts (especially in Communities of Interest) not be discoverable.  On reflection, a more strategic approach should have been taken with the role of the moderators.


Tips &Tricks

The impact of Social Media has been hard to measure and although extensive metrics are available Roche have focused on the qualitative benefits of the system.  The LIS team go out of their way to collect stories about the benefits of the platform. 


LIS set aside time to build content to share on their own and others' community pages, content must be published regularly and be evergreen (nothing to date it): examples include Wednesday Wisdom, TED talks and other regular features.


Finally, don't give up.  People are interested but may not interact.  Studies have shown that 1% of a community are content creators, 9% are editors (commenting, liking, forwarding) and 90% are "lurkers" or "takers".  It is vital to create momentum by cross fertilising content between communities, introduce creators to one another, encourage new creators to step up and generally raise awareness between communities.  


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