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Meme – Revolutionizing Workplace Collaboration

These days, organizations are struggling to manage communications for the new-age workforce. Gen Y today is very technology savvy and creative. They not only create very strong informal connects, speak their minds out, have a digital form of expression but also despise archaic systems and traditional modes of communication at workplace. Organizations are quickly realizing that in order to yield benefits from close collaboration at workplace, they have to look at the newer ways to engage these young employees and create an organization of tomorrow.

With a similar aim to establish strong communication channels with Gen Y and to harness their energies efficiently, HCL Technologies (HCL), a leading global IT service provider and the modern management company looked at creating a social collaborative tool which was dynamic and interactive in nature. Through this innovative idea, we intended to give them a platform to freely share their views, exchange ideas and participate in discussions around the globe. With a fair representation from Gen Y within the organization, HCL leaders came up with a fresh new platform on “Business to Employee” model to quench the “Y” thirst. And this is how a new platform called MEME was born.

Built on the concept of “Decoding Individuality” through Connect, Learn ,Share and Grow, this platform featured a flurry of standard applications like network of friends and colleagues, tech forums, posts/comments, pictures, tags, document share and group conversations.

From its initial date till January 2012, MEME user base grew at around 111% (from 28, 100 employees in April 2011 to 59,185 employees in January 2012). Within the first 4 months of use, over 25000 HCL employees created strong social network connections with each other by creating 521 groups, posting more than 4300 comments and sharing more than 1030 photographs. Today MEME engages around 75000 employees through 2057 groups, 175 pages and 71,568 posts. Looking at the powerful employee contribution to this platform, it would be right to say that this platform is certainly succeeding in helping HCL employees meet the challenge of building effective relationships which are vital to working in large, distributed enterprises.

Some of the unique features and benefits driven from MEME initiative are:

1. Generating ideas worth millions 

  • There are over 300 + project specific work groups on MEME. These groups have helped in creating business ideas with benefits of over USD 25 million+. Several of these ideas have been appreciated by the customers and have been implemented in their organizations.
  • Over 25+ ideas generated by employees on MEME platform were utilized while ideating discussion topics for HCL’s CIO straight talk, a platform launched in 2010 to facilitate peer-to-peer exchange of practical ideas amongst senior IT practitioners on a wide variety of business and technology topics. The idea driving Straight Talk is that IT professionals can learn as much, if not more, from their peers than from “full-time experts” – consultants, academics, analysts, management gurus. The platform has gained immense popularity among the IT community. So far the platform has featured more than 25 CIO level executives (and their insights) from the global corporations.

2.  Improved Efficiencies

One of the most noteworthy achievements of MEME has been in its ability to significantly improve employee productivity. MEME users leveraged this platform extremely well by creating a direct interface with various enabling functions like Human Resources (HR), IT Help Desk and Other Service Desks. Rather than going the traditional way, employees directly sought answers to their queries in a virtual fashion. For e.g Top 5 pages on MEME platform are dedicated to resolving HR. recruitment related queries across various business units.   Some significant results are -

  • Till date over 4190 + HR related queries have been resolved though MEME itself. This has helped HR team in bringing down the significant query resolution time by 90%.
  • Similarly, over 2000 + queries in the area of IT service desk have been resolved through MEME, saving over 1000+ of man hours.

3. High levels of employee engagement

MEME is also being leveraged by various enabling function to conduct different surveys in most the transparent manner. For example HR did an online survey on MEME to gauge employee satisfaction levels and received immense response from over 25,871 employees. MEME has also played a key role in promoting other employee specific initiatives within HCL. Sharing the success of two of such initiatives -

  • 360* feedback, an annual exercise to seek feedback from the peers, managers as well as subordinates. In the last one year, there has been a huge surge in employee participation, for example, around 48099 employees participated in 360 feedbacks in the year 2012 in comparison to participation by 32816 employees last year.
  • EPIC (Employee Passion Indicator Count), an annual survey to help employees understand their passion drivers.  EPIC received overwhelming response from 516555 employees this year versus 41403 responses last year. Geo’s like USA and Mexico recorded 100% participation this year.     

 4. Beyond work

One of the distinct features of MEME is that the platform is not governed by the organization but by Memers (Employees) themselves who drive the communication on the platform. Here is one of the eg of how employees create and run unique initiatives through MEME. After identifying a popular demand of blood bank requests from across the organization, a Virtual Blood Bank (VBB) was hosted on MEME platform and within a week of its launch around 1201 employees utilized this blood bank.

Looking at the immense success of MEME within HCL, we anticipate that the social collaboration tools will play a crucial role in changing the face of organizational structure in the coming years. Every company wanting to kindle open communication with its new –age workforce will need to create a platform that allows free flow of knowledge and communication as Gen Y are used to, in their daily lives. We can already see our architects, business leaders, sales staff, technology experts, policy makers promoting, ideating, drawing decision making on this platform and nurturing the platform which is shaping up the future workplace environment at HCL Technologies.

HCL Beyond the Contract