Working out loud is doing your work in a way that is open, visible and helpful to your co-workers.  

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“Working Out Loud starts with making your work visible in such a way that it might help others. When you do that – when you work in a more open, connected way – you can build a purposeful network that makes you more effective and provides access to more opportunities.”-John Stepper, Author of Working Out Loud

Going Beyond The Daily Whirlwind

Let’s face it – every individual and every department at your association should share the organization’s mission and do everything it can to help advance it.   
Unfortunately an association’s staff usually has far too much to do, too little time and resources, and lots of pressing deadlines.
This combination results in merely putting out the fire of the day versus moving the organization forward. Individuals and departments get siloed and laser focused on the task at hand.  The membership department focuses on member acquisition and retention, the events department focuses on driving registrations and booth sales, etc.  Staff also gets bogged down in emails, meetings and searching for information.  ​
Association staff need organization wide visibility and collaboration to maximize success – but how can that be done?
How can this be changed so that the organization can make meaningful progress towards its vital mission?

One Tool Can Make All the Difference

Working out loud can be facilitated by one enterprise tool.  This tool can cut meetings and emails by over 30%, increase employee engagement and idea generation and empower staff to locate information and expertise faster.
A private social network can enable your association to rise above the day
to day whirlwind and make meaningful progress towards its vital mission.  
What tool is that?  Private social networking software – think of it as an internal social network for your Association. Examples of these tools include Salesforce ChatterJiveMangoApps, Yammer and Convo.  Think of these tools as a social network that’s entirely focused on your association.

How Does It Work?

So how does a tool like Chatter actually deliver these benefits?  The answer is multi-layered but lets look at it from a high level:
1.  Team Collaboration – Individual Updates
Individual staff members can post what they are working on and post any challenges they are facing.  Other staff members can see this is part of their feed and respond.  I keep up with my college friends and extended family by checking my Facebook feed a few times a day.  Similarly I keep up with all that is going on at NimbleUser by following my Chatter feed.

I reached out to the team on Chatter for content related to this blog:

within minutes I had responses:
2. Team Collaboration – Groups
Often there are things that you need to share either privately or on an opt-in basis. For example, at NimbleUser we participate in the Salesforce 1-1-1 program and we have a group where we post updates related to that program. Team members that want to follow that group can do so and any updates will be part of their stream as well.
3. AMS / CRM Automated Updates
Here is where it gets really interesting. Imagine if your Association Management Software could automatically post information on things that are of interest to you? With Salesforce/Nimble AMS every object and record is Chatter enabled and can be followed.
Here are some examples that our customers use:

  • Membership group that shows every new member join to the group. A membership staffer or executive can follow this group to be notified of all new member joins (for high volume organizations we also have configured so that a summary posts goes out once a week):
  • Accounting group that has a daily post of A/R Aging including a link to the full report:
  • A committee group that gives details on committee activity:
4. Search – Your Association’s Social Knowledge Base
Every post is easily searchable and it acts as a mini knowledge base and helps reduce silos from department to department.  
5. No More All-Staff Emails!
Our customers have seen a dramatic drop in those burdensome all staff emails.  Group emails are highly inefficient but (until customers started using an internal social network) have refused to die.  
6. Team Member Information
One thing that is great is the ability to look up a co-worker and learn a little about them from their Chatter profile.  This is great for onboarding new staff.

Advantages of Working Out Loud 

Salesforce did a customer relationship survey in 2013 on how Chatter transformed their organizations.  5,288 responses were received and the results were amazing:

  • 43% improvement in finding information and expertise quickly
  • 38% increase in employee connections
  • 36% improvement in employee productivity
  • 36% increase in employee engagement
  • 36% increase in employee satisfaction
  • 34% increase in idea generation
  • 31% reduction in email usage
  • 31% reduction in meetings

Oh – It Is Also Very Inexpensive

All of these packages are very reasonably priced.  Chatter is free for up to 5000 users with the purchase of one Salesforce CRM License (Chatter is included with Nimble AMS).

Don’t Forget

Business social networking will be a paradigm shift within your association.  Be cognizant that it will take time to get fully adopted.  It has been our experience that internal communications make a gradual shift towards the network and that full adoption can take months.  
Leadership can help by making some simple policy changes.  For example a policy that all staff notifications should be posted to the social network instead of via email.
Also, there needs to be an attitude shift within the organization towards transparency and trust.  I.e. team members should not be afraid to post challenges they are facing.  Wave 6 has some great tips on how to overcome challenges when implementing a business social network.

Get Loud!

If you are looking for new association software, make sure it has strong private social networking.  If you are using a legacy or non-platform based AMS consider adding a private social networking tool anyways.  While your organization will not be able to leverage the tight integration and automated updates from the AMS, it will still be a move in the right direction.  
At NimbleUser, we have never looked back on our use of Chatter – it was one of the best decisions we have ever made and has helped us to get further faster.  LeadingAge, one of our Nimble AMS customers, also had a transformational experience with Chatter.
Less emails, less meetings, more collaboration and better ideas are yours for the taking.  Good luck!
Contact Nimble AMS to learn how you can work out loud with Chatter.