Enterprise social networks hold the key to the future workplace – it’s all about sharing the pie…
Welcome back to what is the third instalment of my digital must-knows, this time touching upon how internal social networks hold the key to a better informed workplace through social collaboration. We’ve learned that data is the proof in the digital pudding, we then personalised it – now it’s time to share.
I’d bet everyone who reads this has a social account of some shape or form. Facebook? Instagram? LinkedIn? Social networks have become a habitual part of our every-day lives and it’s come to the point where it’s expected in the workplace.
Strengthening employee relationships has become easier with Digital, providing personalised, instant communication, removing geographical borders and opening the door to more accessible conversations. Digital adds speed to your communication and how your employees work and collaborate… yet business leaders still worry about the use of these platforms and how they may interrupt the norm (which, if you ask me, is a good thing).
Enterprise social networks (ESN) like Yammer or Facebook Workplace are not necessarily about being ‘social’. Who in their right mind would spend company time planning their weekend on a work-based social network? Instead, ESNs should be thought of as collaboration platforms for business. That sounds way more palatable for the boss, right? Ultimately, they can make an organisation more responsive, with the flow of conversation providing a resource of information for your employees to draw upon, helping them adapt to situations. So to sumarise, the benefits are:
- Increased productivity
- Improve internal communications
- Improve internal collaboration
- Improve employee morale and retention
ESNs are a perfect breeding ground for great conversations amongst peers, so here’s my top tips on how Social can be used to great effect for internal communications:
- Promote the platform and instigate conversation when needed, don’t force it
- When people do talk, don’t tell them what to say (nothing should be restricted). Employees aren’t wasting company time when they’re on your ESN – they’re almost certainly there for a valid business reason
- Remember to listen and be proactive in discussion. If a problem is discussed, don’t brush it under the rug – provide a genuine response and then work to resolve whatever issue there might be
- Provide areas for communities to thrive – have a place for info sharing, a place to discuss new ideas… Conversation and collaboration will then stay focussed and purposeful
- Encourage cross network link-ups… There’s no point keeping geographical silos – get departments and territories speaking to each another. Encourage both a local and global mindset. There’s no ‘us’ and ‘them’, just ‘we’
- Remember to govern the usage. Not in a Big Brother is watching sense – let’s be honest, it’s highly unlikely your employees are going to misuse the platform. You will however need to keep on top of housekeeping, ensuring people are talking in the right place and taking full advantage of the platform’s functionality.
An ESN can be an incredibly useful part of your internal comms plan when launching a new campaign for something like company values. It provides off-the-shelf functionality enabling conversation and the ability to promote. We would whole-heartedly recommend boxing clever and monitoring the platform in usage terms, matching engagement levels with sentiment analysis so you not only know how many people are active, but also what they feel about the topic at hand – that’s extremely valuable insight.
How have you used your social network to maximise your communications effectiveness? Let me know in the comments section below.