How many times have you overheard a conversation in your office and taken positive action as a result? Imagine accessing all the conversations in your organisation and filtering the ones that were relevant to you and your job. Consider the time saved and the reduction in duplicated effort that would bring, and the resultant ability to increase productivity.

This is already happening in companies adopting intelligent social intranets, which McKinsey estimates increases efficiency by 25 per cent. Imagine how powerful that is if that company is a competitor of yours. They may not be more cutting edge or have a better product than you, but they trust their employees to connect, collaborate and work together to become more efficient, therefore giving them the competitive advantage.

UK serviced office firm, Business Environment uses Interact Intranet and they surpassed McKinsey’s 25 per cent estimate to 98 per cent employee participation and vastly increased productivity, which is discussed in March’s Nielsen Norman Groups Enterprise 2.0 report.

They and a number of Interact Intranet customers followed these four steps to engage and empower their employees:

1) Implement the right blend

Use the best tools available to meet a business challenge and utilise the right blend of traditional and social tools. Facilities management company, Romec saved £2m per year by using electronic forms on their intranet to carry out essential business processes. Waterstones and American Golf use their intranets for critical communication between head office and stores.

In all three cases, collaborative tools such as team areas and forums are effectively used for two-way communication that supplement business processes.

2) Make it easy

Putting a tool out there doesn’t guarantee successful adoption. Tools need to be easy to use and resemble the social media actions employees make in their daily lives including; liking, sharing or hashtagging. All these are one-click steps to catalyse knowledge sharing and collaboration.

These tools are critical in connecting relevant content to people regardless of department. Interact Intranet customer, Bauer Media has seen 69 per cent of all questions asked across their global intranet answered by different departments. Remember, the expert for your question is rarely sat in the same office as you.

3) Let content find people

In an effective collaborative environment a lot of conversations will be irrelevant to certain people. By using intelligent social intranet software, like Interact Intranet the noise will be filtered to bring the appropriate content to the user, just like Amazon recommends products to you based on your behaviours and interests.

Major retailer Superdrug have utilised this so effectively that they were shortlisted for the Technology Initiative of the Year at the Oracle Retail Awards.

4) Trust your employees

Europe’s largest housing association, Glasgow Housing Association, trusted their employees to be a large part of their success during their change programme.

One blog by a frontline worker attracted 1,330 employees from a possible 1,360 to read, learn and engage with their change programme. This influenced a whole organisation’s attitude far more than cascaded communication could ever achieve.

The biggest commitment to establishing this success is not cost but trust. Enable your employees to maximise productivity by trusting and enabling them to create and maximise their networks, all based on need, not location or department.

Download the free report on how to successfully implement enterprise collaboration >>