Considering implementing an enterprise social network within your company? Good thinking. If used correctly, an internal social network can boost productivity, simplify team collaborations on projects, and foster better personal and professional relationships between team members. There are many platforms to choose from, with Yammer, Slack and Convo among some of today’s top options. Before you dive in, however, you need to develop a strategy to make an enterprise social network work effectively. In this article, we’ll take a look at why it’s worth exploring these tools and what types of benefits they can offer your small business both in the short term and down the line.
Promote Collaboration and Improve Project Transparency
Sharing frequent project updates invites team members to stay up to date at all times, enabling information to pass through the company faster. Status updates are especially handy if you’re collaborating with team members located in a different time zone. When it’s time to hand something over to them, they can quickly get up to speed and pick things up where you’ve left off, and when it’s your turn to run with it, you can easily see what progress they’ve made.
Build Strong Team Relationships
One of the benefits of an internal social network is that it can connect coworkers through their discovery of common interests. Encouraging team members to share information such as passions, humor, education and achievements allows them to identify with their peers in a new way. This can create a more meaningful and enjoyable work culture for those who participate.
Senior level team members can also use the platform to lead with action. This kind of socializing humanizes managers and opens the door for them to potentially connect with employees on a more personal level.
It goes without saying that putting yourself out there should always be done in a professional manner. As much as you want a free flow of information, it is important to develop social media content guidelines for your company to make all participants feel comfortable engaging on the platform and also to protect yourself.
Discover Internal Expertise
Social networks can also unveil hidden talents and passions from your employees. Imagine having an employee contribute to a project outside of their role using a skill they enjoy developing in their own time. For example, let’s say a quarterly business review is coming up fast and you decide an infographic would be the perfect way to showcase company milestones. You’re thinking of giving the job to your internal design team but you know they have demanding schedules as it is. On a break, you check the social network for updates and notice that one of your Customer Service Representatives updated her profile – she is a freelance graphic designer in her spare time. Knowing her schedule is lighter during this time of year, you ask if she would be interested in taking the lead on the infographic project.
This can be a win-win for both parties. On one side, the company is gaining an internal resource it didn’t know it had. At the same time, the employee showcases a hidden talent which could lead to an unexpected but welcome change in the scope of her role.
It is important to be patient and focus on long term gains when getting started with an enterprise social network. Be flexible and encourage healthy feedback from participants to mold your chosen platform to your company’s needs. Certain features might not fit your business and that’s okay. Stop using features that don’t work for your team and double down on the ones that do.
Most importantly, have a defined set of guidelines to keep participants on the same page and sharing in a comfortable and professional way. Creating a collaborative, fun and productive online internal community takes effort but the potential outcomes can be fruitful both on a personal and professional level for everyone involved.