Kickstart your Plek with our unique implementation
If you choose Plek, we will help you with the rollout of your own platform. As a consultant, I help organisations with the implementation, in which we build your platform based on your wishes and organisational goals in a unique, involved way. As a consultant, I’ve already helped dozens of organisations to set up their own Plek and I am happy to share my findings with you.
On average, an implementation process takes two months. Long enough to fill the platform properly, short enough to work enthusiastically towards going live. The implementation process starts for us, the consultants, with an alignment moment with your organisation. In this first contact, often with HR or communications, we go through the planning and discuss the launchdate of the platform. The answer to the question when you want to go live with your platform is in almost all cases identical: as soon as possible. In practice, we see this is easier said than done. In many cases, filling a platform is a tough job, as a lot of content and information from other systems is transferred to Plek. This information often needs to be updated: manuals, forms and static company information for example. But the good thing is, when going live, these manuals are immediately up to date ;).
The process for you starts in the preparation phase with setting up the platform itself. A blank Plek environment is the starting point for the kick-off with a core team appointed by you. A core team generally consists of a project leader, a communication manager and a technical admin. During a core team session, the corporate culture of an organisation is quickly exposed. Despite the fact that companies are in the same sector, their culture can differ greatly from one another. In a hierarchical organisation, we see that the platform is often used to provide top-down information. The employee is the receiver and the organisation the sender. Information is shared with a limited group of colleagues. In an open culture, there is often more organisation-wide interaction, so that collaboration also occurs across departments.
During the Plek implementation, we obviously try to take the DNA of your organisation into account as much as possible, but we also try to bring in our own expertise. We believe that when you encourage users to freely use the platform, this has a positive effect on the adoption and use of it. With many of our customers, we see that the communication platform, just like the communication environment we use within Plek, has a strong social character. For example, there are groups in which sports activities with colleagues are planned, a cooking group where you can exchange healthy lunch recipes on a daily basis or the cycling club that encourages people to take the bike more often. Such groups not only promote the engagement of colleagues across departments, but also encourage low-threshold cooperation.
After the core team has made the agreements, we always let the end-users have their say. During the so-called work session, we collect information from the employee's perspective. It's important to know what they would like to see in the platform, as they are the ones that will use it the most. I always find their observations and opinions to be very useful. The ideas that emerge are things that the core team alone could not come up with. A strong example is of course when an organisation has both office and non-desk employees: for example, construction companies, schools foundations, transport companies. Office workers, especially HR and communication, have a completely different view of the organisation compared to, for example, the truck driver who is never in the office. He also needs different information than the office workers. We advise to involve these people in the process as well.
By inviting a cross-section of your organisation to the work session, you combine all the expertise. Do not try to invite board members to the ambassador session yet. The danger lies in the fact that participants may not show the back of their tongues and will wait and see what the management team might say. People in such a worksession are usually extremely enthusiastic and the ideas they bring in are contagious. Soon there’s enough information to start filling in the platform with the collected content. Our advice is therefore to give attendees access to the platform as 'early birds' immediately after the work session.
Difference between cultures
Some work sessions have an international character when a company has locations in multiple countries. Each country has its own vision. During one of the most recent work sessions we were in a group where not only the Netherlands but also Spain, Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg were represented in one organisation. This led to interesting discussions as every country had different expectations. The German colleagues had a strong drive for efficiency and found top-down information very important. The Spanish colleagues valued connecting colleagues across borders. They were very interested in the cultural differences; not necessarily just the business ones.
In the past year, we’ve done many of these work sessions online. Although I can't wait to host a work session on location again, I can confirm that the results of the online work sessions are certainly not inferior to the offline equivalent!