30th Oct 2020
3 Min Read

Who said that? Why anonymous online profiles hinder your IC efforts

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
IC & Engagement

As more organisations connect their workfaces with platforms like Slack, Teams and Workplace, I’m noticing the same type of question coming up time and time again, around the use of team profiles on those platforms.

  • “Can I set up a ‘Legal Team’ profile to answer legal enquires?”
  • “We’re thinking of setting up a leadership team account so that people can ask them a question – what do you think?”
  • “Should we have an internal communications team account to share news and business updates to our employees?”

The intent behind these accounts is always sound – to create an easy to find, signposted resource for people to ask questions. And they work, to a degree. People can find the ‘Legal Team’ account and ask ‘it’ a question. But this type of faceless group account can put people off interacting, undermining the sense of community we’re trying to build within these platforms.

People generally don’t like to connect with anonymised accounts online. Or anonymised anybody, for that matter.

Imagine going into your local coffee shop and all the employees are wearing paper bags over their heads. Now, the paper bags do have the logo of the coffee stop on them so employees are easy enough to spot. But you might not want to ask them questions and the experience would be very impersonal.

Now, imagine that you go into your workplace and all your colleagues are also wearing paper bags, with your company logo and their department on them. You get the message.

Keeping it personal

A general team or department profile is generally going to feel unfamiliar and potentially very cold to your employees. People might ask themselves, ‘who is this person?’, ‘will they respond to me in time?’ or ‘who do I follow up with if I don’t get a reply?’

But, if we flip this on its head, and actually have someone from the team as a face representing the team, we have an opportunity to create new connections and interpersonal interactions on the platform itself.

Your employee will get their answers, get to know a colleague a little better and be part of supporting the business culture and sense of belonging so important right now, particularly as we crave in-person interactions.

Let‘s chat

Want to talk about setting up an online workplace community? Have questions about getting the most out of your platforms? Talk to me. I promise to remove the paper bag. Tony.stewart@scarlettabbott.co.uk

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