Communication technologies have always been changing – we’ve used carrier pigeons, telegrams, telephone, fax, paper, email and now we have Enterprise Social Networking (ESN).
For many executives this term “social networking” does nothave a place within their business. Since the first thing that comes to mind is seeing their team engrossed in cat videos and silly jokes being passed around the workplace.
When proposing ESN often the first reaction is “We don’t need people wasting their time having unnecessary chats online”. My response is ESN is just a communication technology - rather than thinking about new conversations happening online think about all the conversations you already have in your business – then ask yourself could any of these interactions be more efficient if taken online?
Here are 8 key reasons ESN is great for your organisation and studies have shown those organisations who embrace social technologies see 20% to 25% boost in productivity*
1. Get access to experts and information fast
Traditional organisation structure is hierarchal, which means if you need to find information you may ask someone in your team, or ask your manager who may or may not ask their manager or a cross departmental head, normally with a number phone calls or emails passed around. You can spend hours waiting for information. With ESN you can access people and information much more quickly and rather than a hierarchal structure it’s a one to many.
2. Have answers ready to those questions that are being asked repetitively
There are a lot of repetitive questions being asked on a daily basis
- Where can I find the latest travel policy information?
- Who is the best person to help with this...?
- I’m new to the company where can I find…?
With ESN questions being asked and answered can be viewed by others and easily searched.
3. Share news and announcements
How many emails do you have in your inbox sent to large groups such as “allstaff”? Quite a few I’m sure and if you’re sending documents or images you’re creating multiple copies of the same information on your network. Because it’s sent to all staff you may not even be sure if everyone has read it or maybe they did read it and everyone in your organisation is also filing a copy.
With ESN when you create an announcement you’ll be sure everyone has read it and there is no need to duplicate files across the network. For general news such as a great customer experience story it creates a real buzz across the business as everyone will be aware and the same is true for something you need to act on quickly.
Too often in group emails, employees forget to hit the 'Reply All' button, this means that a large percentage of the information being shared could potentially be lost as it is not shared properly, through the use of an ESN by commenting directly on the post we can easily ensure that every member is able to access vital information.
4. Discuss major decisions and prepare for change
We all experience change and the only thing we know to be constant is change. One of the best ways to implement change successfully in your organisation is by bringing your team in and as early as possible. ESN is a great way to communicate major decisions and prepare your team for changes. By having the freedom to ask questions and have questions answered in an open forum, a lot of the anxiety about the change can be reduced.
5. Gather options and ideas from across the company
Have you ever wanted to get feedback on an idea or take a quick poll? You’ve crafted a nicely worded email and only to find your response rate is really low or worst zero. With ESN you can create a quick poll with voting buttons or response options, people can include comments and responses are shared with everyone.
6. Gain visibility and insight on what’s happening and where
Managing your email in some cases can be a full time job, especially if you’re cc’ed on multiple emails just to keep you in the loop. Reading, filing or deleting email is time consuming. What if rather than being cc’ed on all the correspondence you could digest the information across teams and departments in an easy to consume format. Wouldn’t life be great! The cool thing is you’ll be aware of questions, conversations, good news – things you may not be aware of now.
7. Introduce new hires and get them up to speed quickly
On-boarding new team members is a crucial step in their success in your organisation. You do need a plan/process and it can involve multiple people. What if you could create an on-boarding process and a place for new hires to ask questions – as each question is answered you’ll have a knowledge base or information for new hires and you’ll also know where maybe some of your on-boarding processes can be further improved.
8. Work in teams and workgroups, collaborate on ideas
Working in teams and groups is a fundamental part of doing business, having the right tools that enable us to share ideas, documents or collaborate on an idea makes a real difference. Things like plans and documents can be updated and shared very easily.
Overall how you take advantage of ESN in your business will depend on how you work today, but using the above examples I’m sure you’ve seen a few which also resinate in your business.
One example on how we at Lanrex use ESN is sharing our Core Value stories. For example we have 4 core values and each time we live and breathe our core value we’ll post the story. Sharing our positive values stories not only help to reinforce our values but creates a really positive culture where we are truly living and breathing our values on a daily basis.
With Microsoft’s ESN software Yammer included with the Office 365 subscription is makes good sense to take advantage of ESN in your business so you too can get 20% to 25% productivity improvement in your business.
* Source: McKinsey, The Social Economy