The specificity of an IT consulting company lies in its ability to assign consultants to its customers on IT projects. Squad is a consultancy firm specializing in cybersecurity, virtual infrastructure (= cloud) and digital transformation. Spread over 8 different sites, its 550 consultants carry out missions that can last from several days to several months, and visit their agency very occasionally. Creating internal links in this specific configuration is a challenge, at a time when exchange and collaboration are a key efficiency lever within the sector. In 2015, the managers of the SME started looking for a tool to gather, federate and animate the Squad “tribe”, and they opted for the internal social network talkspirit. Three years later, here is a first assessment, as well as the benefits identified.
Centralizing shared information
At Squad, the enterprise social network is first and foremost a news feed. It allows everyone, as soon as they log on, to keep up to date with the latest company news. For the consultants, however, talkspirit is above all a database of documents and technical information, a constant flow of expert articles relayed – and commented on – by the members of the tribe, and a “collaborative” monitoring provided by the consultants. For everyone, it’s the assurance that they won’t miss out on the latest industry developments in terms of cybersecurity, cloud and digital transformation.
The agora where we come to discuss
The collaboration platform is also the village centre, with its relaxed speeches, counter discussions and ‘practical’ questions on everyday topics. On talkspirit’s internal social network, you can publish posts in groups / communities, or send a private message to whoever you want. A problem with your Meal Voucher card? The employee directly contacts the right person via chat, who can then take care of it in record time. Talkspirit makes it possible to address matters more lightly, where an email would have been more formal (more intimidating for the person writing it, and colder for the person receiving it). The internal social network creates proximity and makes exchanges more flexible.
Encouraging a culture of sharing
“There’s never been anything better than a pro to speak about his job.” Hadrien Lavielle, communications manager, is well placed to know that not everyone has communication in their DNA and that data protection experts are generally not very fond of social networks. Yet among IT technicians, sharing solutions / experiences / discoveries is a real culture, a breath of fresh air. It was necessary for talkspirit to facilitate this mutual help, in a private and secure environment.
On the platform, So-and-so recommends a new test protocol that he has just experimented with, while another shares a difficulty encountered on his mission and asks for the benevolent advice of his colleagues. As a private internal network, talkspirit assures employees that the information exchanged will remain “in the tribe”, for the exclusive benefit of the Squad teams.
Bringing talents to light with a mutual aid dynamics
Through the mutual aid dynamics, certain talents that were initially not very visible (because they are rather introverted) emerge, stimulated by the desire to help their colleagues. Later, when they have gained self-confidence and are more aware of their added value, they often even end up becoming true ambassadors of their company. The platform sometimes has this role of revealing talents, awakening their passion for communication. Their first step is to share their knowledge today on talkspirit, but maybe tomorrow on LinkedIn, on forums or even in computer schools, they will do the same.
Conveying the employer brand and the Squad culture
If talkspirit “does not have the power to change the relationship between management and employees”, it is certainly the ideal support, according to Hadrien Lavielle. Indeed, Talkspirit is an essential tool to support the tribal culture that Squad claims.
Squad’s DNA embodies the “meet your boss” concept, where every employee can meet with management at any time, without an appointment. A relaxed state of mind where the most important factor is not hierarchical position but expertise. The same applies to each of the group’s 8 branches, from Paris to Adelaide (Australia). Talkspirit breaks down barriers and borders between agencies, carries the Squad culture and imprints its daily “employer brand”, very useful for attracting new talents. Because it fosters conviviality, the enterprise social network is also an attractive factor. So in order to attract talent and participate in the company’s expansion, talkspirit is definitely an asset!
Read also: How talkspirit replaced our internal emails
Facilitating the arrival of new employees
A computer, professional email, and access to talkspirit. This is the package for a new employee at Squad. From his first steps in the company, he is immediately integrated into the tribe and takes the same place as older employees. A feeling of closeness and belonging, with expertise as the first link.
Thanks to the iOS and Android mobile applications, Squad consultants can access talkspirit from anywhere and at any time.
Strengthening cohesion through group networking
Entering talkspirit encourages people to communicate and post from the very beginning, to join groups/communities of exchange. And why not create one, as Gyorgy Joseph – a consultant – did when he created the “New Vulnerabilities” group shortly after his arrival to bring together experts on the subject. These groups (or communities) can deal with professional topics (e.g. vulnerabilities), but not necessarily: they also serve to bring colleagues working on the same site, or a team project, or enthusiasts of the same hobby (e.g. runners, Star Wars fans …) together.
When, for the annual Squad event, the aim is to bring together more than 600 participants from all over the world, talkspirit is used in a particularly advanced way! Hadrien Lavielle has also created FAQs adapted to the needs of each group, so that everyone can consult them or add to them. A volume of information that would be impossible to manage without a collaborative platform.
Read also: Squad case study (cybersecurity consulting)
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At Squad, talkspirit’s internal enterprise social network has quickly become the heart of the company’s life, far beyond its functional and practical usefulness. Hadrien Lavielle (communications manager) even says that it is the “water source” for Squad consultants. A reference point that conveys the culture, values and mindset present at Squad. A heart that beats to the rhythm of the exchanges, which strengthens the bonds between consultants, and reinforces their attachment to the company.
Benoit Renoul Chief Marketing Officer, Talkspirit
Article co-authored by Laurel Mati