Internal communicators are often having to choose between several social tools they can use for social engagement and content management. Sharon O’Dea, intranet expert and thought leader at intranetizen.com poses the question – why choose?
What really matters is what is really necessary to create a productive digital workplace?
“Organizations are seeing tangible benefits from networked, social and interactive tools — in helping people to connect, to share, and once they’ve developed trust in both people and system, to solve for one another, and for the business.
In the move away from one-to-many publishing models and embracing the principles of working out loud, organizations unlock the value of their human and intellectual capital in ways that simply weren’t possible before.”
What communicators need to focus on is making sure employees have the tools they need to get their jobs done efficiently. An enterprise social network (ESN) can help get the conversations flowing but without full integration into content management, sales tools and other systems—it really just becomes a place for chatter and no actual productivity.
An ESN can help ease the “flow of information” across locations, departments, and even companies.
In her annual Digital Workplace Trends report, Jane McConnell talks about the digital workplace having three overlapping dimensions – managed, social collaborative and structured collaborative.
- Managed content is authoritative and structured; what the organization wants to tell the people employed there. That it is officially published means people trust it.
- Social collaborative describes the process of building and strengthening networks, discovering and discussing. This is where serendipity happens.
- Structured collaboration is the use of collaborative tools to create artifacts and get work done.
That being said, what works for one company may not always work for another. Internal communicators need to think about how social would fit in their workplace — is the culture there ready for a tool like this? Establishing governance and a plan to not only launch but keep employees engaged in the ESN will be crucial to the success of this tool. In the end, most of the ESNs available offer the same functionality. Being able to persuade and prove to employees that the network can provide real business knowledge will attract them to knock down their silos and start playing in the social sandbox.
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