Find me a company that fully embraces using Social Media to improve communication within its organization. Go ahead, it’s a challenge. I’m betting you won’t find many.
The common opinion around Social Media is that it’s distracting, immature and a waste of time. Even company owners that are using Social Media as a part of their marketing strategy, will ban the use of it by employees during work hours. The truth is that these organizations are missing out on a slew of opportunities to improve communication, collaboration and ideation.
At Speak Social, we have a Facebook group designated for conversations about our industry and company. We call it Speak Social Primary, and only members of the company are invited. Sure, with our group, it’s easy to become distracted – we are an open, creative and hyper-intelligent group of people who love to discuss (and debate) all topics. Our Facebook group facilitates these great conversations about news in our industry, ideas to improve the company, debates, surveys, voting on organizational plans, and yes, even lighthearted banter and jokes.
Of all the content in our group, only 30% is “extraneous,” or non-work specific, and about half of that takes place during non-work hours (which are hard to find in our company!). That means that 72% of 130 conversations in two weeks were in some way work or productivity related (93 total). That’s a great platform for us to communicate in a more efficient manner. Can you imagine having 93 thought-provoking conversations in your office every two weeks, completely extraneous from all of your other daily tasks? That’s NINE conversations each workday!
McKinsey Global released an enlightening study last month called “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies” (http://goo.gl/2EMex). They analyzed 4,200 companies, finding that Social technologies can provide from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in overall value to the business. The majority of this value comes from “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to McKinsey.
Additionally, they found that “improved communication and collaboration through Social technologies could raise the productivity of workers by 20-25%.
In terms of innovation and ideation, there are other companies that are hip to how Social networks can inspire and increase this interaction.
One such company in the field of innovation management is batterii (www.batterii.com), a Social network platform that helps companies crowdsource innovative ideas from their employees, clients and consumers. Like others in the space, batterii sees the real impact that Social conversations have on a company’s bottom-line, and are focused on enabling those conversations.
The point is that even if you don’t want to openly use Facebook in your organization, take a lesson from Social Media, and give your employees a place to engage.
An idea rarely forms from one person’s mental light bulb illuminating. It forms most often by fragments of brilliance bounced off of multiple participants working together towards one, great idea. If you can keep those conversations organized and recorded, your company will innovate faster, and to greater effect.
Consider how a Social network or collaboration platform will help your company communicate better. Which companies have you experienced that do this well? Leave your feedback in the comments below.