From word processing in the 80’s, to e-mail in the 90’s advancing technology is continuously changing the way that employees collaborate within organizations.
Today global organizations such as Pearson are faced with the challenge of adopting new technologies that enable their ever growing number of employees to collaborate effectively.
The Pearson Problem
In March 2010 Pearson executives found themselves faced with over 100 HR systems, 134 separate intranets and a fragmented email system. Pearson’s CEO, Marjorie Scardino, recognized that the employees across their 400 subsidiaries were heavily divided and struggling communicate and collaborate. They were one organization, but not one family. This was a concern as it was clearly not efficient and was only going to grow as they continued to acquire new companies.
Scardino saw the need for a change, but with over 27,000 employees situated across 70 countries how would Pearson effectively connect all of their employees across continents and ultimately generate collaboration?
The Solution: Neo
In 2010 Pearson paired with Jive to develop Neo- a Jive based social collaboration network. Neo is an easy to use platform that Pearson employees around the globe can use to exchange information, ask or answer questions, and participate in groups and communities.
Starting with an account, each employee at Pearson develops their profile including their name, job, interests, skills and whatever else they want to include. Once the profile is created people can join business or personal groups and communities. It allows employees from all over the globe to connect and communicate by sharing documents, asking and answering questions and ultimately building a knowledge database that can be used to help solve business problem.
Neo officially launched on February 28, 2011 and was well accepted and adopted by Pearson employees. Within the first 6 months 20,000 people (over 50 per cent of Pearson employees) were using Neo which increased to 80 per cent by 2014. Neo has become hugely popular with an average of 18,000 employees (45 per cent) logging into Neo daily, and nearly 100 per cent on peak days. Though it required some training and creative promotions like the video below, the adoption rate was quick and successful. The employees of Pearson now feel they are part of the Pearson Family. Employees are able to see the value of the platform and enjoy finding and connecting with other people.
Neo is a success. Implementing Neo has effectively connected Pearson’s 27,000 employees and consolidated all HR systems and intranets. The power to collaborate, problem solve and participate has shifted from managers and executives to each and every employee at Pearson regardless of their status.
This shift in power led to a significant increase in employee participation and has resulted in a number of economic benefits for the organization. To begin with the Pearson has seen a decrease in the number of IT helpdesk requests as well as a decrease in the response time for questions. Furthermore the continual aggregation of knowledge allows those who need information to access it and get answers 24/7. This has had a significant impact on the speed at which sales reps are able to find information and accurately respond to prospective clients. Another advantage Neo has brought to Pearson is the reduction in training costs through improved onboarding. New employees and organizations that are acquired by Pearson are able to get started, find information and understand the culture of Pearson much quicker. Overall Pearson has seen an increase in efficiency across all departments and an improvement in productivity due to the implementation of Neo and the increased participation from employees.
Aside from the economic benefits, the employees have had a very positive response to the social collaboration platform. Employees benefit from improved awareness and Pearson has seen a dramatic increase in adoption of benefits that are offered or shared on Neo. Pearson employees also value the ability to communicate with colleagues in other parts of the business and world without the need to travel for in-person meetings.
Overall the implementation of a Neo had helped Pearson to achieve their strategy of connecting multiple business together as “One Pearson”.
Lessons for Others
As seen through the experience Pearson has had with Neo, Social Collaboration Networks are a key tool that should be used to connect employees of large organizations and improve employee participation.
Industry: Learning and Technology
Name of Organization Contact: Kim England
Authored by: Katie Harman
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Ashenden, A. (2014, August). How social collaboration technology helped Pearson refocus and realign its business. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from https://sociuscommunity.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/how-social-collaboration-technology-helped-pearson-refocus-and-realign-its-business.pdf
Cambie, S. (n.d.). Pearson uses social platform to drive change. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from https://www.simply-communicate.com/case-studies/company-profile/pearson-uses-social-platform-drive-change
Eggleston, M. (2011, July 19). Learning Technologies. Retrieved February 03, 2016, from http://www.trainingindustry.com/learning-technologies/articles/pearson-a-neo-way-of-collaboration.aspx
From Fragmentation to Connection. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2016, from https://www.jivesoftware.com/resource-library/customer-success/pearson-disconnects-thing-past-global-social-intranet-powered-jive-n/
Pearson preaches the power of collaboration | ITProPortal.com. (2014). Retrieved January 28, 2016, from http://www.itproportal.com/2014/10/28/how-pearson-are-harnessing-power-collaboration/
Wainewright, P. (2014, May 29). Pearson manages its global talent with Jive and Saba – diginomica. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from http://diginomica.com/2014/05/29/pearson-manages-global-talent-jive-saba/