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Staying connected to colleagues and the organization

I recently had the opportunity to discuss the current business challenges we all face and the use of SAP Jam with a great friend of mine, Jeff Stevens.

Jeff Stevens has been the Chief Human Resources Officer for several major academic medical centers and universities, most recently Jefferson Health and Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, which is where I first met him.

Jeff has led major merger initiatives and deployed technology in novel ways to facilitate integration and employee engagement.  I have had several enlightening discussions with him, where it is invaluable to get a very different viewpoint on the application of technology to improve the working environment and productivity of our employees, and he has real experience and insight he has shared with me on multiple occasions.

I asked Jeff initially, what his thoughts were on the COVID-19 challenges we face today and discussed with him the contents of the blog I posted a couple of weeks ago:

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/05/06/tomorrows-business-answers-to-todays-crisis/

Jeff first set out the following initial context to me: Long before the Co-Vid pandemic, HR leaders were confronted with requests, that by the necessities of today, now seem like no-brainers:  Can I allow my staff to work from home?  Can we limit the number of in-person meetings?  Are all employees “essential” for purposes of having to be at work for a particular reason?  Can social-media technologies be used for business purposes too?

Already I could associate with this, having recently discussed the new challenges of the work environment at a seminar, and how it has affected so many of the customers I work with. This was not new news to me, but I suddenly realized that some of the reasons working from home may have been discouraged in the past, had been reversed in an instance to a compliance requirement. I also was aware that almost none of the previous business contingency planning ever considered the multiple scenario’s impacting business continuity today.

I asked Jeff, what he thought were some of the key challenges facing organizations today?

Jeff: We talk about how critical it is to align with millennials and younger generations (now greater than half the workforce), the ubiquitous presence of rich media and on-line engagement in our everyday experience, new types and methods of learning that are needed to capture one’s attention in a world moving at warp speed.  And yet, relatively few organizations have built online systems to address those needs and more.  HR departments are still overly enthralled by manager and employee self-service capabilities within their HRM systems (of great benefit in reducing HR departments’ administrivia, but not exactly solving broader organizational challenges).

As the business owner for SAP Jam here at SAP, I was keen to see if in his experience, Jeff felt the solution could be more valuable today in view of this situation:

Jeff: What if you could use an off the shelf platform, like SAP Jam, both for its native ability to join intact groups into collaboration forums, but also to imagine organization-wide communities, such as wellness, recognition, diversity and inclusion, HR benefits (topics of importance to huge populations in organizations that are weakly promoted when internal communications relies on just intranet or email?

I asked Jeff to give me an example.

Jeff: myJeffHub, a first-of-its kind employee portal at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia, was launched and grew to be adopted by 80% of the organization (35,000 employees) in just nine months!   No big IT lift, just a couple of very creative types in HR fanning out to topic owners for content and presentation ideas in order to erect their communities.  Communities at the top of the organization, divisional communities for each part of this newly merged organization, and departmental/unit communities that connect employees most locally.  Connections at every level.

When coronavirus hit, Jefferson didn’t hesitate to build, and dynamically enroll, key groups of employees, into a CoVid 19 community, disseminating critical information and direction to doctors, nurses and other front-line staff.  Communities on other key organizational topics are routine in myJeffHub, a visually engaging learning, information sharing, collaboration platform that no one imagines ever doing without.  It’s the future of employee engagement.

I know Jefferson Health is not the only SAP Jam user who turned to this platform to support and drive business continuity. With SAP Jam in place, even here at SAP, it was easy for the business to simply switch more of our daily activities onto the platform and to continue driving focus and business outcomes to the entirely overnight virtual workforce. I have so many inspiring stories of how our customers are maintaining their business by leveraging SAP Jam.

We felt so strongly that SAP Jam could really help several of our customers during these challenging times. So SAP also decided we would offer a free upgrade to our flagship version: SAP Jam enterprise edition. for all existing customers for a limited period. You can find more on our SAP Jam Together offer in this news article found here:

https://news.sap.com/2020/05/free-upgrade-sap-jam-enterprise-edition

By the way, if you wish to take advantage of this offer then reach out to your SAP Account team urgently, as it is only going to be available for a short time.

I always feel as a leader, you need to think of the emotions of your team. Now so many of them are suddenly isolated and working without the networks they rely on for support and encouragement during their working day! Taking advantage of Jeff’s experience, I asked him how tools like SAP Jam could maybe help with the emotional well-being and “connectedness” of the workforce.

Jeff paused for a moment and then responded: I remember visiting a clinical unit at one of our hospitals and sitting with 30 or so nurses and doctors and asking a simple question:  What do you like about myJeffHub?  The answer was surprising to me who, like many in HR, had been thinking employees wanted a wall between their work and homelife.  Their answer:  We love staying connected to colleagues and the organization.

That was the point. You can only handle/suffer so many conference and video calls in a day. Sometimes you just want to browse through a tailored environment for you, that connects you to what matters, the people who can help, and the processes to make it happen. SAP Jam for example.

Jeff was a finalist-awardee for SAP’s prestigious innovation award in 2019 and is currently consulting within healthcare and other industries.  His practice highlights include a unique assessment of HR functioning, and a database culled from working extensively with industry-partners of best and most current practices, across the range of human resources functions.

I asked Jeff if he wanted to help any of our customers who maybe wish to see how they can use solutions like SAP Jam to provide business continuity for today’s ongoing challenges and build in more resilience for the future.

 

Jeff replied: If I can spread the magic, I was fortunate to help create for one organization using this solution, please reach out to me at Jeffreystevenshr.com.

 

Thank you, Jeff…

Anthony

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