A key component to developing a high-performing workplace is sharing. Being able to share information in an effortless way builds strong teams and enhances the team performance. Social media creates opportunities for people to use a medium that is very natural and comfortable to communicate.
But over the relatively short period in time corporations have been using social media, something has happened. We’ve created silos. There are networks for social goals and social projects. Even more for social tracking. The key to breaking down these silos is integration.
Ultimate Software and Yammer, an enterprise social network, have recently announced a partnership to create that integration. The vision is to use Yammer’s collaborative tools to connect employees with the organization in a social way, for the benefit of everyone involved.
Here’s an example: let’s say the company’s sales team is working on a presentation for a major prospective client. In preparing for the meeting, they’ve run into a challenge. Sitting around the conference room table, someone says “Gosh, we can’t be the only team who has faced this challenge before. It would be great to know what other teams have done.”
Instead of calling around hoping to find an answer, organizations can now use social collaboration tools to pose their questions and get answers. Maria Ogneva, director of community for Yammer, explains how social collaboration benefits the business. “The possibilities are endless, and the most important thing is to understand what business problem you are trying to solve. As today’s rapid pace of change increases, companies must adapt faster and faster just to remain in the same place, let alone get ahead of the competition. Adapting to the speed with which you need to move to stay ahead of the competition is simply not possible when the people who need to execute on the vision aren’t on the same page and are hindered by archaic processes. Besides, you often don’t know where the best answer lives; you may be surprised.”
Not only do social collaboration tools help solve business problems, but they contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement. Ogneva says sharing information leads to less frustration and allows employees to easily get their work done. “Social collaboration helps employees feel like they are part of a larger goal, like everyone is marching to the beat of the same drum. It also reduces the barriers created by hierarchies and flattens the organization, providing insight into what other teams (and management) are doing and thinking. When the leadership team is able to be more open and honest not simply about what’s happening, but why – employees are more compelled to support the overarching business problems and execute on the vision.”
Implementing a social collaboration tool reaps many benefits. Before introducing social tools within an organization, here are some points to consider.
- Understand your corporate culture.
- Look at current processes: how information is obtained and shared within the organization.
- Define what success will look like using social collaboration tools.
- Get support from senior leadership and key stakeholders.
- Create an implementation and communication strategy for the roll-out. Be sure to include employee training on the social collaboration tools!
- Establish a schedule to evaluate and monitor progress.
Social collaboration tools can bring a tremendous amount of information and knowledge to an organization. The key is harnessing it to solve business issues. Ogneva reminds us to focus on the success metric. “For any business social effort to be successful, it has to tie to a business objective. You know it’s bringing positive results when you are getting closer to meeting these objectives. What do you want to enable with this collaboration? If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, perhaps the business impact metric you are looking for is the increase of speed of a response to a customer, and how collaboration helps you do that.”