Welcome back to part three of our journey! One of Barnet Group’s key business values is ‘one team’ and we encourage our people to work together towards a common goal. It can be difficult to promote this to staff against a corporate background that is constantly shifting, and in our case, transforming the business.
Ensuring that there is debate, discussion and information-sharing across a diverse workforce spread across a large borough is essential to our success. This is the reason why we invested in Clearvale, our new intranet system, which was officially launched in October 2013.
Clearvale is an intranet system made up of a network of users, called communities, linked together by departments. This means we can share information with each other, have live discussions (therefore cutting back on email trails) and upload videos, blogs and images.
My major challenge as a head of service for an operations portfolio in housing management is communication. It’s really important to lead and inspire my staff by engaging them in the vision of the organisation, the performance of the services and monitor how staff feel about our direction of travel and their contribution to the journey.
Our investment in Clearvale has brought enterprise social networking to The Barnet Group; the hardest part of our move to social collaboration was getting started, along with implementing the cultural changes required for success. To overcome this, we agreed a mandate from senior management to apply social networking principles to real business issues.
We backed this up by encouraging our ‘super-users’ to create service area communities and loading engaging content that gives our staff a reason to join the network when invited.
Our staff have really embraced the new technology and the network is growing. We can now communicate daily operational issues across teams and service areas. For example, we recently had to manage communications to our residents during some severe weather conditions. With Clearvale, staff were able to share live updates on the situation with each other and use the same information to relay to our residents. This resulted in a joined-up working approach to find solutions and improve customer service.
My personal vision for this system was to enable, empower and engage our people and the early indication is that our investment is proving a great success. Social networking for our business is a new concept and we can see already that the efficiency, transparency, and serendipity created by working socially will have a positive impact on the bottom line, so it is well worth the effort.
Mandy Dunstan is head of business transformation at The Barnet Group.