At the recent Working Mother Women’s Leadership Summit on Social Business, Sandy Carter, VP Social Business Evangelism at IBM, reported that 43% of companies are using social networks both internally and externally. She also cited a recent a McKinsey Global Institute Study (July 2012) revealing that 90% of businesses integrating social networks are experiencing a 25% lift in productivity. Most importantly, employees who use internal social networks report feeling more engaged, valued and effective in their work.
Top companies are leveraging social networks to share knowledge/best practices and increase productivity by making it easier to find the right person and track activities. In addition, organizations are leveraging internal networks to unleash a new theology of solving problems, executing with agility and creating an innovative culture. Internal social networks are private (”behind the firewall”) within a company and are not visible by the general public. Employees view a news feed from their groups and connections, plus they can participate in secure private groups to discuss certain topics and share files etc.
In large geographically dispersed organizations, social networks help manage the flood of information and enable dispersed workers to collaborate. Many companies allow access to internal social networks via mobile devices so that employees can post real-time updates and photos from various locations.
When it comes to adoption of social, collaboration, and emerging practices and technologies, the secret sauce happens when you provide a platform, tools and resources and create a push-pull environment that provides structure, but empowers employees to engage and contribute. In a nutshell, the reason social is creating so much engagement is because it’s the only channel, the only vessel that can create magic right at the apex of push and pull.
As a leader, your success depends on your ability to get work done through others. Strong managers set clear and reasonable expectations as to what needs to be done, but also define their expectations for what collaboration looks like in terms of mindset and behaviors. For example, they encourage employees to contribute freely, foster healthy debate, and build relationships outside of immediate teams. Success depends upon a culture shift to where information flows freely, learning from mistakes is supported and innovation thrives.
IBM reports that people-focused businesses generate 26% more revenue per employee and had 40% lower turnover rates.
What is your company doing to create a vibrant collaborative community? What is your company doing to support a culture shift? I look forward to your comments.