4 Tips for Implementing Enterprise Collaboration Networks

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Enterprise Collaboration

The workplace is evolving to embrace social media to increase employee engagement, and new research is confirming bottom line results. According to Towers Watson, companies with effective enterprise social networks had 47% higher returns to shareholders over prior five years as compared to companies with ineffective internal communications. KPMG reported that 63% of employees at organizations with open policies on social media said they were satisfied with their job, compared to 41% of those at companies with restrictive or banned social media policies. Job satisfaction correlates directly with employee retention- win-win!

Building and sustaining a collaborative, connected environment, requires behavioral changes, as well as technology updates. It’s a paradigm shift from a “command and control” to an “open and transparent” environment. It’s a culture where employees are rewarded for individual contributions as well as incentivized for sharing information. Information is shared horizontally instead of vertically and the “wisdom of crowds” resolves issues and produces solutions.

Companies realize that they need to provide collaboration tools to connect people across functions, to enable collaboration on ideas and projects and leverage the power of communities.

Sound simple? NOT! 

4 Tips for implementing Enterprise Collaboration networks

1. Seek executive sponsorship. Most companies have a ground swell of support for social media, but senior leaders need to be fully engaged and visible champions of the network. In addition, managers on multiple levels need to create awareness of and promote the value of the tools.

2. Reinforce with Change Management. The biggest impediment to all-source adoption is human or systemic resistance to sharing information and change. Implementing the technology without thinking through the shift in culture will result in frustration and numerous false starts. It’s imperative to create a change management plan to build awareness and desire and then promote/reinforce it through multiple channels.

3. Address Policy Gaps. Review your Electronic Communications, Social Media and other related policies to ensure that the rules and guidelines on the use of internal and external social media are clearly defined. Our guiding principles:

  • Be professional
  • Use common sense
  • Be respectful of others

4. Link to Business Objectives. Define business objectives and engage highly connected groups that can socialize your platform and deliver quick, visible wins. Make it the site that they go to for all their information, and inspiration. Make it what they do, NOT one more place that they have to go!

Creating meaningful connections is the key to building a vibrant enterprise community. The shift to social business includes technology AND a paradigm shift in the way you share information and connect as an organization. You’ll need to prepare for the long haul- these concepts/tools are “sexy” but will require significant effort to build and maintain momentum.

What lessons do you have for implementing/sustaining an enterprise collaboration network? I look forward to your comments.

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