When Facebook and Twitter rose in popularity over a decade ago, employees were spending a substantial amount of work time on social networks. In 2013, it was estimated that social media distractions cost the U.S. economy a whopping $650 billion. While many companies spent a lot of money trying to block their employees from using social networks, others realized it’s better to harness the enthusiasm for social networking and redirect it back towards the workplace.
Social networking is now being touted as the key to developing stronger workplace collaboration and improving productivity, and companies are turning to the social Intranet as the most effective way to achieve their goals. Social Intranets are a communication channel that enables companies to leverage the best use of internal collaboration technologies through providing a social space that builds community while improving collaboration, communication and information-sharing.
How a Social Intranet Empowers Employees and Builds Teams
A successful social Intranet policy embraces two-way communication, encouraging social collaboration and team building through comments and contributions from employees, managers and executives.
In a study looking at how employee engagement impacts productivity, 71% of executives surveyed by the Harvard Business Review said that employee engagement is critical for growth. A Social Intranet enables dynamic engagement within organizations by providing flexible content management, powerful search capabilities, social collaboration, knowledge sharing and community building.
Similar to consumer social media, social Intranets are driven by what people are liking and commenting on, showing what topics are trending within an organization. It enables widespread participation and interaction by connecting content and people in a meaningful way. Employees can follow colleagues, connect as teams and participate in discussions with anyone in their organization. Additionally, employees are empowered by the fact that they are the ones determining what’s worth talking about at an organizational level.
In turn, management gains valuable insights into what is driving their workforce and is able to look at exactly how people are engaging with content and data. Executives can see where employees meet to discuss certain initiatives and how they plan their path forward. These real time insights promote agility, as teams are able to quickly receive input from all levels of the organization so that they can make fast, informed decisions and move forward quickly. Social Intranet gives all employees a voice, removing barriers like location or job level that can deter transparency and collaboration.
Social Collaboration Delivers ROI
A recent McKinsey study found that internal social networks with a 100% adoption rate claim a 6% increase in value added, along with a 20% increase in staff retention, and greater employee engagement translating to a 147% in higher earnings.
Stronger collaboration clearly delivers ROI, and a social Intranet provides the metrics to prove it. KPI’s can include measuring whether employee communication increases through messages shared or posts inside community forums. Task completion can be monitored, along with daily visits to certain pages, response speeds, and the number of files uploaded and shared.
Social Intranets encourages enterprise-wide conversations by providing employees easy, secure access to document management, blogging, scheduling, activity streams, chat, and wikis as well as other types of knowledge sharing. Productivity and innovation are fostered in an environment where employees can openly share ideas and receive instant feedback from their peers in the form of likes or comments, just as they would on their favorite social networks. Collaboration is streamlined and maintains its context more easily because discussions and questions all take place around relevant files, projects or messages, allowing for full transparency and real time communication.
Social Intranet vs. Enterprise Social Network
While enterprise social networks like Yammer help to increase communication and collaboration, social Intranets combine the functionality of a social platform while also offering document and knowledge management and communication together in one easy-to-access and secure ecosystem. Employees can easily share information, stay updated on company messages, and even communicate with a diverse group of people that might never connect with one another in a traditional setting.
Social Intranets are an all-in-one solution. Workflow is more efficient because a social Intranet provides all the information and communication capabilities that employees need, rather than having them search for information across multiple channels or worry about missing important messages. A social Intranet is also more flexible than an enterprise social network, fitting into an organization’s workflow, rather than the organization using it as an island separated from existing enterprise applications.
A Social Intranet is where employees want to be
Collaboration means many things today, from working within traditional teams, to collaborating across departments for organizational data, to working with employees located around the world and more. Social collaboration is proving to be extremely effective because employees can communicate when it’s convenient for them, and increasingly using a device of their choice.
As the digital workplace continues to evolve, the one constant has been the need for simple communication that will allow for stronger collaboration. Because social Intranets allows employees to easily engage with one another and form meaningful connections, it is a space where employees want to be, not a space being forced upon them by management. Social Intranets are the heart of a digital workplace, a place where work gets done while allowing employees to engage and contribute exactly how and when they want to.