My friend Sutter Schumacher literally just sent me a wonderful article by Steve New on the Harvard Business Review: Don’t set process without input from frontline workers.
What Steve is talking about is the power of process standardisation in conjunction with actually checking and testing it with front line staff. In the process they become engaged, and if you work with them rather than foisting the process on them they will be more compliant.
With two clients I’m working with I’ve seen both ends of this situation. In one case each group has their own way of doing almost the same thing, and no desire to change because past experience has taught them that anything “from the business” isn’t plastic enough to incorporate their needs. In the other case consulting staff and working with small groups to do needs analysis has evoked comments like “no one has ever asked me about my job before” and “I wish I could be more involved in the intranet project, you guys just get it”.
If you’re an intranet or digital workplace manager read the article – and go and talk to your front line staff!