By now most companies are aware of the value of social media marketing. Many companies have set up their presence on the public social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube… Some are even taking advantage of the newer social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Marketers are busy monitoring their brands and writing remarkable content in the hopes of engaging with their customers and prospects.
A few companies, however, are taking advantage of social technologies in a completely different manner. They are deploying internal social networks, usually called Enterprise Social Networks (“ESN’s) in order to harness the power of social and enhance the collaboration and knowledge sharing of their employees.
Theses companies have realized that a properly deployed ESN can really change the way employees work and make their work processes more efficient. Let’s examine seven of the ways ESN’s can add value to your organization:
Improving Collaboration and Breaking Down Silos
ESN’s can help people connect and work better together, across department’s functions and locations. ESN’s allow employees to easily share documents and other files and comment on those files without having to cc everyone on an email. ESN’s also gives projects and questions visibility across the whole company.
Improving Organizational Speed and Agility
ESN’s can help all employees be more productive and react faster to emerging opportunities or problems. Users can submit updates to an ESN at any time and from anywhere. With ESN’s, users can spot new opportunities in the field, capture them with their phone cameras and share them instantly with their team or across the whole company. Similarly, users can alert others of problems or issues they are facing and ask for help or suggestions in a very quick and efficient manner.
ESN’s help streamline the process of sharing ideas across the organization. If an employee has an idea or needs help in coming up with ideas, ESN’s are the perfect tools for sharing ideas or asking people for help. Employees can quickly post a message to their walls and fellow employees will instantly see it and respond accordingly.
Locating “In –House” Experts
With an ESN, employees are able to quickly identify colleagues who are experts in a particular area. By performing a quick search, users will be able to identify those individuals at their company who are knowledgeable in a particular skill or area. Some ESN’s also recommends experts based upon what the user is doing and what they are looking for. Gone are the days when employees have to call around asking for someone who may have an answer. With an ESN, employees can quickly find those individuals who are familiar with their issue and provide an answer in a short period of time.
Flattening the Organization and Improving Transparency
ESN’s help reduce communication bottlenecks and encourage connections across all levels and functions. Employees are no longer confined to communicating within their department or through their supervisor. Anyone with an idea can share it and make it available for the whole company to see. ESN’s allow employee contributions to go public, without regards to title or departmental focus.
Promoting “Bottom-up” Communication
ESN’s give every employee an opportunity to be heard. Gone are the days of top to bottom communication. Have something to share or say? Have an idea on how to improve a product or a process? Share it on the ESN.
ESN’s can convert top to bottom communication to a two-way conversation. It can bring focus to what’s important at your company and allow for everyone to participate in that conversation. ESN’s can make all employees feel engaged with their professional community and in tune with the mission and vision of their company.
In summary, ESN’s can deliver real business value to any organization. The key is to insure that all employees are properly trained on not just how to use these tools but more importantly why? Adoption is key when it comes to ESN’s. It is important for everyone in your company to understand their value and the value of changing the way they work.