Why I use 2.0 tools at work. Why I’d quit if I couldn’t.

My job is a quite serious.

Head of HR in a Ministry (called Federal Public Service in Belgium).

Sounds like boring? Ever heard about “Don’t work. Have fun”?

I work for the Social Security Federal Public Service. In a nutshell, the Belgian ministry is taking care of defining strategies & policies related to social security, paying allowances to disabled people and victims of war, controlling the right payment of social security taxes by entreprises and independant workers. We are also in charge of managing the gov SLA’s for 17 social security gov agencies (ONSS/RSZ, ONP/RVP, INAM/RIZIV, …).  Serious work, isn’t it?

We launched the Yammer free version on a Friday morning of late March 2011 as test within the HR department. We were 50 members after 4h, 100 members at the end of the day. Yep, quite successful experience ;-))) After 6 weeks, we are 350+ members, 450 pending invitiations, about 30 groups and 5 communities. We are 1100 in Belgium so almost 35% of our staff in on Yammer.

You know, Yammer is a kind of Facebook for entreprise. We use it as a support to intern communication, as collaborative tool for project management (linking distant teams) and, of course, as social network (personal posts and groups related to tips & trics, music, culture, teams, PMO, management theories, …).  It’s free (well at least the basic version that suits our needs), it’s user friendly, it’s intuitive and collaborative, it’s somewhere in the could, there is no ad and no data mining. What do you want more as HR professional?

We don’t have any policy for 2.0 tools. We trust our people and we are sure they can handle it with integrity, openess and positive mindset. So far, we are right and we are sooo happy to be so.

Our organisation hosts the Belgian “Banque Carrefour / Kruispuntbank” for social security, gathering all social private data of Belgian citizens and residents. So yes, I confirm : our levels of security and confidentiality are one of the highest in Belgium. And we care extremely seriously about it. But nevertheless yes, we use Yammer, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, WordPress, Dropbox, Yousendit… during our working time, at our “desk”.

We are convinced that productivity increases dramastically by sharing ideas, information, connecting people. We are convinced that trusting people is the key corner for performance. We are convinced that respect of individuals, ideas and personal data is obvious when we – as an organisation – respect people.

We are about to set up a “2.0 for Dummies” Summerschool in order to make our colleagues (50% of our staff is more than 45y old) more comfortable with this 2.0 environment (Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, …).  We believe in our responsibility as employer to keep our colleagues aware of new technologies  and skilled to use them.

We are convinced that “Freedom + Responsibility = Performance + Happiness”. And Yammer, Facebook, Twitter (namely) help us to better achieve this managerial equation. That’s why we use them. And that’s why I’d quit my job if I couldn’t work in a 2.0 environment available wherever and whenever I want.

You would like to know more about us? We will be happy to share ideas and experience with you.

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