Optimizing collaboration is a top priority for most businesses, with the market for collaboration tools expected to reach $49.51 billion by 2021 (the market size was recorded as $26.68 billion in 2016). Enterprise social networks hold the lion’s share of investments, as companies are discovering that social collaboration tools and continuous real time communication leads to an increase in innovation and productivity.
A Social Intranet is proving to be a powerful ally for employees, helping make work life easier by connecting team members using familiar social media user experiences, and creating real time conversations around information and dialogue occurring within the enterprise. In a McKinsey study looking at how social tools improve organizations, real time communication was the most important social feature that organizations found assisted with optimizing how people work.
While it’s clear that enterprise social networks and social Intranets are improving collaboration, and cutting down on time and frustration spent handling emails or having meetings, companies remain unsure of which metrics they should track to optimize collaboration and which metrics will lead to growth.
Optimization tactics should be data-driven because metrics inform organizations of important trends in how various processes are influencing employee productivity. Additionally, these metrics are important for inspiring employees to become more efficient. A study by Deloitte found that companies providing clear metrics on employee performance have 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention.
Creating social Intranet metrics can be challenging. It’s not as simple as looking at an analytics dashboard and calculating percentages. The data that companies require is all there, but they need to know how to look.
The first step in uncovering which social Intranet metrics to track requires organizations to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can be tied to the company’s objectives. They must be actionable and measureable, and can be numeric (increase output by 20%) or qualitative (increase interdepartmental engagement).
All stakeholders need to define what success looks like to them, and then figure out which social Intranet metrics can be tied to those objectives. KPIs will indicate how to optimize collaboration by tracking things like employee satisfaction, time spent traveling or in meetings, and how much time employees spend searching for information.
Tracking Social Intranet Metrics
Once KPIs are established, it’s time to determine how and where that information will come from. Organizations will want to keep an eye on basic metrics like how many employees are engaging through the social Intranet, and looking to see if that number increases over time. However, to determine if this increase in collaboration is having a positive impact on the company they’ll need to tie in organization-specific metrics measured against a baseline.
Following are some examples of Social Intranet metrics that are used to optimize collaboration:
The number of meetings scheduled per week
A common complaint by employees is time wasted in pointless meetings. A goal in the digital workplace is to reduce the number of meetings required, and with an increase in conversations occurring through the social Intranet, the number of required meetings should be reduced.
Time spent in meetings
Similar to the number of meetings employees are having, organizations will want to look at whether employees are spending less time in meetings. Social Intranets allow for key conversations and materials to be discussed prior to meetings so that everyone arrives up to speed, ready to be efficient and productive.
Reduction in travel costs
For employees having to continually travel offsite to meet with partners or consultants, Social Intranets offer opportunities to cut down and even eliminate these costs.
Employee satisfaction (as expressed through surveys)
Employees collaborate more effectively if they are happy with the system they are using. Companies should regularly survey employees to find out if they are satisfied with the social Intranet they are using, but also with how it’s being used to increase their collaboration.
Better access to Information
A huge benefit of a social Intranet is that it connects employees with each other across the enterprise. Therefore, there is a seamless flow of information between discussions and the repository of company documents and other assets. Employees should report less time looking for the information they need.
Employee engagement is clearly critical for collaboration, and companies will want to keep an eye on whether engagement is increasing, and well as how engagement is increasing. It’s great if people are liking and commenting on each other’s social Intranet posts, but are they taking those conversations into the Intranet to develop more dynamic engagement?
Similar to content engagement, companies should keep an eye on how many conversations go from discussion to production. Innovation can occur at anytime when people are able to easily communicate with one another. Imagine sharing an article via the social Intranet, leading to a discussion of how it could be performed more efficiently within the organization. Effective use of a social Intranet should see employees spending less time searching for information, and an increase in productive conversations.
Businesses must be agile and innovative in order to grow, and this is largely dependent upon easy collaboration in the workplace and the ability to optimize business tactics and make quick data driven decisions. As social Intranet metrics are tracked and documented, employers and employees alike will appreciate data demonstrating how improved collaboration contributes to overall company growth and performance.