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Standard Chartered Bank hopes Jive will help it shift from email to social collaboration

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez May 14, 2015
With tens of thousands of staff spread across 74 countries, Standard Chartered hopes Jive will help spread best practice and appeal to the under-30s.


Standard chartered Bank
Intranet and email are no longer cutting it as communication tools for Standard Chartered Bank. With over 90,000 employees, over half of which are aged under 30, spread across a 74 countries, the global bank has decided that it needs to try and shift towards a social collaboration platform to help better spread best practice, share ideas and retain more staff.

Standard Chartered has just embarked on a roll-out of Jive's internal community solution, which Mark Devadason, the bank's project lead and group head of sustainability, believes may prove to be a differentiator for the organisation when hiring staff and hopes will encourage better cross-border collaboration.

But collaboration projects are not the easiest projects to get right. From building a business case, to getting user engagement, to managing communities across a number of geographies, collaboration platforms can quickly become a nightmare.

However, Devadason believes that this is something that Standard Chartered needs to do both to cater to new styles of working amongst its younger employee base, as well as strategically stay ahead of the competition. I spoke to Devadason, who explains that although he's not entirely sure what the outcome will be from the project, he hopes to be “pleasantly surprised” by new behaviours. He says:

As an organisation we have people from multiple cultures and we have always understood that one of the biggest differentiators that we have is the ability to operate across border. To find products and solutions for our clients across border. And that's been a driver - networking and collaboration has absolutely been a part of our past, but it's something that we now need to dial up.

We believe that it's in our strategic priorities, that to move to the next stage of growth, we need to dial up collaboration across markets.

The under 30s problem

Devadason adds that over half of Standard Chartered's staff are under 30 years old and most of these are already working from home using various social collaboration tools, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. He says that they are already used to a way of working that he aspires to in the workplace, which is why the bank needs to move beyond its current approach to communication.

Although Standard Chartered does have an intranet, called iConnect, Devadason is hoping that the bank can begin discussions about phasing this out early next year if Jive is successful. He also believes that workers may become less reliant on email. Devadason says:

We are going to have to run iConnect in parallel for a while, while we are still in rollout and adoption mode. We see that iConnect will start to fall away and in Q2 we might start getting into decision making about whether we can phase that out or switch it off. The other one is email. I'm finding that I'm starting to use less email and I'm starting to operate and communicate more using Jive. You want to share a document? You want to collaborate on a document? Jive is so much easier than email.”

As you know large organisations have been evolving from a data-based world to an email world; we have got intranet solutions, but these solutions are pretty much digital newsletters. They are one way transmissions of data. And basically we are aware that the new way of working needs to be not just one way transmission, but a two way process.

But Standard Chartered is keen for this tool not to just be about getting business done, but also used as a tool for people going on induction, for leadership programmes and most importantly for rapid migration of best practice across borders. Devadason isn't being too prescriptive about what the bank expects, but he is hoping that Jive will challenge the old ways of working. He says:

I would very much say that this is not a HR solution at all. It is very much seen as a facilitator for effective communications. It is seen as something that should break down barriers between people, for people that operate across cultures, languages and regions.

He also hopes that by adopting a social collaboration platform, high rates of staff turnover may be reduced, as some employees begin to view it as a differentiator within their work environment. Devadason adds:

We are 90,000 people and like many organisations we see staff turnover in the 10-15% range. If you think about that, that's 10,000 to 15,000 people a year that are new. Most of those will be young, most will therefore embrace this technology. And over a matter of years we will expect to find that this is such a natural way of working. It will be an attractive differentiator. I know some international banks are still using Lotus Notes – we think Jive will be a real differentiator with some new recruits.

The importance of advocates
standard chartered.jpg

Standard Chartered hasn't gone big bang with the rollout for its Jive implementation. Having got some advice from other organisations, such as PwC, it has decided to roll the platform out to select groups in a number of phases. The thinking behind this is that Standard Chartered will both be able to build up a strong group of advocates for the platform, who can mentor and advise when it goes global, as well as allow its Jive environment to be populated with best practice so that when new employees on-board, they can see how it should be used. Devadason says:

So we have got a series of wave launches. We did a few we called Wave Zero, that was a very select group. As of two weeks ago we launched Wave 1, which was about 20 different communities with users that we have helped set up, coached and mentored. We are now going through a period of six to eight weeks where we expect to see some viral uptake around these use groups. And then in June we expect to go live with a bigger announcement internally.

But we are going to use this period to train a fairly large group of what we call advocates. These are going to be virtual coaches and people that are going to be distributed throughout our network who can dive in and help people and coach people. We expect a natural social media way of helping people to take place, rather than training courses.

We are going to build an internal marketing campaign, but the thinking behind the waved rollout is that we wanted the users to go online and see best practice. So we didn't want them to go online and see a blank sheet, then make it up or revert to their home habits on Facebook. The idea of this Wave 1 launch is to really populate the bridge with some great best practices – from HR, to compliance, to business, to induction. Once they see all that, then they understand how they can use the tool.

Standard Chartered already has about 3,000 people using Jive. But Devadason is honest and states that he doesn't yet know what 'success' looks like in terms of user adoption. He realises that the bank will reach nowhere near all of its 90,000 employees, often because many staff are tellers or work in back-office operations, where the need for a collaboration tool is limited. But he hopes that even if 20,000 to 30,000 employees are using the platform, it will make a significant impact to Standard Chartered's business. Devadason says:

I would say that the realisation of the need for better and more effective collaboration, for more rapid migration of best practice, or even elimination of worst practice by alerting people, is something that we have always wanted, but have increasingly been struggling to know how to do that with email or one-way intranet. There has been building demand for this type of solution.

I think we also had a greater need for enterprise search, that's a fascinating opportunity. When I joined the bank we were 12,000 and now we are 90,000. If I wanted to refer an opportunity, if I was in business, to the head of corporate banking in Uganda, for example, it's pretty hard to do that at the moment unless you know who he or she is. But with this I can search for him or her. So I think it's going to help us get to know each other a lot better.

However, that doesn't mean that Devadason isn't concerned about the project. Given that this is the early stages of the rollout, it's very hard to determine its success. One of the things that he is apprehensive about is that the people with the loudest voices in the organisation – senior management – are probably the least likely to take full advantage of the platform.

Also, if Jive does get strong adoption at Standard Chartered, Devadason is hoping that the platform is intuitive enough for staff to not need too much additional support or training. He says:

I think that quite often in a big organisation that the people that want to have the strongest opinions about something like this will be our most senior people. And they're the ones that are most likely to struggle to get the best out of this product. So I think that sometimes that part of the challenge of rolling out something this big is that the top 300 or 400 people have got all the opinions, whilst 50,000 people below are actually desperate to get hold of it. That's an ongoing opportunity and challenge.

The other thing that we are worried about is that if the take-up is landslide, and our call centres and hotlines are inundated, will we be able to keep up with the volume? We have hired people to be technicians, we have got back office technology support and we have this network of advocates

Businessman co-ordinating teamwork icons
(© Arpad Nagy-Bagoly - Adobe Stock)
that we have been building, so we think we will be okay. When people ask me what sort of support we have got, I often ask them: are you on LinkedIn? When did you go on a LinkedIn training course? They realise that they worked it out themselves. If it's as intuitive as that, we shouldn't need to create training courses.

My take

Interesting to see an organisation of this size, operating in a a fairly traditional, process driven sector, looking to new ways of communicating. The drivers are admirable and the expected outcomes are ambitious. I am a firm believer that collaboration platforms have the potential to give organisations a strategic advantage over other more rigid tools, such as email and intranet.

However, as the project is in its early days, it's too hard to tell whether it has been worthwhile. Collaboration projects are notoriously tricky and difficult to measure in terms of ROI. It's not really about the money saved. But we will be sure to follow up at a future date to find out how the bank is measuring its success.

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