Ancient offices (the traditional organisations) were characterised by people who worked for a set number of hours on set days with a set number of holidays each year. As a result, one could clearly spot the bored and stooping clerk, buried under files. With the advent of technology, the clerk has transformed into a bored executive gaping at his widescreen computer. The undisputed champion here is ‘boredom’. Recently, boredom was challenged by social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Outside the organisation, these forms of external social media have several benefits: they facilitate open communication and information transaction, provide an opportunity to broaden list of contacts, and remain aware of all that is happening around the world. The most concerning aspect is that these networks encourage employees to share sensitive information.
Now, what about productivity levels? According to a recent survey by Gartner, only 29 per cent of employees are engaged at work, with 52 per cent being identified as unengaged, and 19 per cent as disengaged. The lack of productivity simply translates into employees wishing to do something more engaging. So, what can the organisation do to capture this ‘engagement’? A McKinsey study recently revealed that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could increase productivity of interaction of a workforce by 20 to 25 per cent. Adoption of an enterprise social technology tool can have the following benefits:
Breaking the silos
With today’s businesses being far-flung and spread across different cities and countries, remote workforces need to connect to remain more efficient.
Many employees have a hard time finding information and expertise on a specific topic within the organisation. An internal social networking tool can come to the rescue by changing the way employees collect, organise and distribute this information.
Appreciation is what motivates an employee. It is easier to trumpet the achievements of performing employees using social technology. With recognition, two fruitful results are achieved — motivated employees and cutting-edge innovation.
Automation of processes
The HR team can incorporate activity templates into social technologies and a smooth onboarding process can be achieved. Employees need not wait for days to get approval to complete workflows. A go-ahead in the form of a ‘post’ or ‘comment’ can get things done faster.
Ideas and feedback
With ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ incorporated into social media technologies within organisations, employees can voice their feedback or give ideas. Thus, freedom of thought and democracy is built into company culture.
Implementing a secure social media technology within the organisation aids transparency as all employees are aware of what is happening within the company, irrespective of their position. It is sure to change the way organisations are managed, how people collaborate and how they work, thus affecting company culture in a positive way.
(The author is Senior Marketing Analyst, Zoho)