Enterprise social collaboration can be a game changer

ajaykaul

The demand for enterprise social collaboration is still in its infancy yet it allows organizations to leverage social tools that can improve employee engagement, bolster productivity and tap into a company’s collective intelligence. The social media revolution has changed the way people interact in their personal lives and now is inevitably changing the way they collaborate and connect in the workplace. To simply label enterprise social collaboration as Facebook or Twitter at work, is a misconception that leads to the belief that these tools are time wasters that drain productivity. It has been seen that if integrated and organized correctly, social collaboration technology can become a game-changer that empowers both the employer and employee. It can instill the intimacy and fun of social media into work-related communications and lead to accomplishing tasks in new and faster ways. I would like to highlight some of the key advantages of social collaboration tools by organizations.

Enabling cross-department collaboration: These tools allow for streamlined communication between departments across locations and geographies. For example, employees in San Francisco can exchange information with employees in Dubai, and that information can be shared through tools such as detail-rich employee profiles, discussion forums, document sharing, Q&A, microblogging and wikis. Information vacuums are eliminated and needs-based access to knowledge is fostered.Corporate intelligence becomes accessible to the groups that need it versus only to the departments with ownership of it, helping to establish the concept of “workspace” (meeting places) rather than “work place” (silos).

Tapping into corporate knowledge: Enterprise social collaboration tools can be used to find individuals with expertise that may not be readily identified and can communicate this expertise with other employees, partners and customers. Communities of interest and experts can be organized around specific topics and any group member can respond to questions and provide answers. Conversations can be maintained and preserved for future use.

Individual Empowerment:  One of the most meaningful uses of these tools is to improve employee satisfaction, increase individual recognition and give voice to those who might otherwise go unnoticed. Giving workers the opportunity to express their ideas, participate in discussions and communicate effectively with their coworkers empowers both those workers and the organization.

Creating transparency and security: These networks make information available to the entire organization, its partners and customers. An employee doesn’t have to be copied on an email to discover the status of the latest sales initiative or marketing campaign. Some of the best tools offer the ability to create communities or workspaces with public, private or secret access based on the specific purpose. These settings not only engage the right people within the right context and with the right level of access, but alsoencourage everyone to communicate openly, knowing it’s safe. Many enterprises may opt to begin usingonly the basic collaboration features but laterbenefit from the ability of these tools to scale for higher levels of engagement through organized and planned adoption programs.

 Improving use of resources and efficiencies: An organized and well-run enterprise social collaboration network will reduce the risk of duplicating reports or training an employee in areas that exist in another part of the company. In addition, onboarding can become more efficient with a faster learning curve established for new employees.

 Growth of enterprise social collaboration is expected to soar in the near future, creating a community that fosters new ways to communicate and also allows teams to become more cohesive and collaborative. Using these tools effectively will open up avenues of meaningful change for thousands of organizations.