Looking Stupid and Other Risks of Emergent Collaboration


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The topic of risk isn’t new and I’ve discussed it here along with a risk assessment framework. However the typical types of risks we keep hearing about are those which pertain to the company as an entity. What about actual risks to employees that work at these organizations? We haven’t really spent enough time talking about these things have we? Think about it, what are the risks for employees using these tools at their companies?

One of the biggest risks that employees face is the fear of looking stupid in front of co-workers. It’s blunt but it’s true, in fact this is the exact wording that was used several times by employees who described their risks to me. It’s almost silly but at the same time it’s very real, nobody wants to look stupid especially in front of co-workers. This was a problem that was experienced at Oce when they first rolled out their collaboration tools, nobody wanted to participate because of the fear of being judged and being perceived as being weak and stupid in front of colleagues.

Imagine your an employee at a large company that just rolled out a collaboration platform. Let’s say you have a few questions on a project your working on or need some help with something, would you be willing to publicly admit your weakness or tell your colleagues and co-workers that you are unable to do something that you were assigned? The reality is that many employees at companies are not comfortable with sharing such information, especially when many organizations are so competitive with employees going up against each other for the same job.

Other risks that employees personally face are:

  • time and effort needed to learn a new technology which can cause a temporary slow down in productivity
  • not wanting to share information because employees might lose their competitiveness
  • risk of other people taking credit for or using work that employees share

Regardless of how great a product is or how integrated it is into employee workflows, if employees don’t feel comfortable using it for whatever reason then they aren’t going to use it. Let’s not forget about the very real human and personal aspects of emergent collaboration.

What other risks do you believe employees are faced with?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).


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