Highly regulated financial firm UBS is in the midst of a corporate quagmire as it looks to increase engagement among employees on its internal social collaboration platform Jive.
The Swiss company, which employs 62,000 people around the world, initially implemented Jive's social collaboration software in a private cloud setup in 2010. However, following a scandal in 2011 in which a rogue trader lost the firm over $2bn, the system was shut down. The shutdown was not related to Jive, but rather a cultural shift that resulted in a significant increase in accountability and greater regulatory requirements, according to UBS's global head of online media IT Peter Barnes.
"The lawyers felt we didn't have enough control on what employees could or couldn't comment on," he explained at an event attended by V3. "I then had the joyous task of putting millions of controls in so the lawyers were happy that we weren't going to get sued and that everyone felt they knew what the rules of the game were."
Jive looks to increase employee engagement across all types of businesses with its software, which includes news feeds, groups and enhancements to traditional communications platforms such as email.
The positive effects of implementing such a system made Jive worth revisiting, despite the hurdles Barnes' team would have to overcome.
Now, 41,000 of the firm's 62,000 employees use Jive, with around a quarter actively posting on a regular basis. The rest, he said, are more of the "lurking" type who consume corporate content rather than creating it. There are still three countries in which UBS operates where Jive cannot be used due to regulatory problems, although Barnes was unwilling to name them.
Furthermore, different areas of the business were very specific in the ways in which they wanted Jive to work, requiring extensive work on UBS's behalf in order to customise the experience. "For the financial advisor group in the US, not only do I have to prove who has access to a post, I have to also prove who's read it. That becomes quite tricky and complicated to do."
On the subject of gamification, a service which Jive offers to allow business to score their employees based on their Jive activity, Barnes was both optimistic and sceptical, admitting there were numerous extra hoops through which UBS would have to jump before it could be properly implemented.
"Germany does not like Jive very much because it has a points-scoring system. They don't want a points-scoring system to be a part of a HR performance compensation system. They didn't like [scoring points for] presence either because they didn't want managers to judge employees based on whether not being at your desk means you're not performing."
While Barnes admitted that his firm's implementation of social collaboration software is not yet perfect, the amount of time saved by employees every day when looking for documents or people made Jive a worthwhile investment.
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