People also need to be motivated to use it, so H&K has built an incentive system.
The company offers bonuses to managers whose departments contribute the most (though
it's totally up to the managers to see how this trickles down to subordinates). And
recognizing that cash isn't the only incentive, H&K has added "reputational" incentives
via a "best-seller" list that publicizes the most frequently accessed contributions.
The theory is that if you're on the list, your coworkers will recognize you as an
expert on certain subjects. By becoming an acknowledged expert, "you'll end up with
better assignments," says Graham. "Who gets to fly to South America to work on an
exciting new project? Is it just someone nearby, or is it someone who's really an
Though this reputational motivation is largely theoretical at this point, H&K is
institutionalizing it by making knowledge sharing a part of performance reviews this
fall. "We've gotten tired of people just saying 'I'm an expert' when they haven't
earned it," says Graham.
Another challenge is getting people to seek knowledge on the extranet. H&K is
dealing with this by hiding "beenz," a form of micropayment created by New York City-
based Beenz.com, throughout the site. Every time you open a document or contribute
information, there's a chance you'll collect beenz, which can be redeemed for books,
CDs and even Caribbean vaccations. But H&K is also using a more basic approach: putting
many of its internal announcements on the extranet and sending employees the links,
instead of e-mailing the announcements directly. Once they're on, they can see what
else hK.net has to offer.
Once people get comfortable with hK.net, Graham hopes they'll explore beyond their
own client accounts. "We want them to be able to see what else is being done around the
network, so that they can leverage that," he says.