Since the development and advancement of social media tools and technologies in this era, there has been a noticeable shift in the world of work and business.
Defined by Gartner as, “Any technology that facilitates social interactions and is enabled by a communications capability, such as the internet or a mobile device,” social technology encompasses a large number of uses in both personal and professional lives. Social tools like Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger have steadily become the preferred method of social currency; as such, organizations are now looking to bring the benefits of these technologies to the workplace.
But how does social fit into your business environment? Concerns of professionalism and practicality aside, the very idea of social having a large impact on employee engagement can be an intrepid one. Yet, the advantage that the inclusion of social tech poses far outweighs any doubts on its usage and inclusion.
Social features can be applied to any software or tech that involves interactions between people. Blogs, video conferencing, instant messaging – you name it. Business platforms with a social core like intranets and enterprise social networks are already growing in popularity and use. Many companies are now finding innovative ways to leverage social technologies as a true business tool.
Our recent eBook, ‘Why do I need social technology in the workplace’, book one of our new series explores some of the key areas where social or collaborative technology can deliver returns in more detail; here’s a preview.
Supporting a new, collaborative way of thinking
The old school tradition of working to a rigid 9-5 timetable has gone out of style to say the least. Now, with virtual and remote workers on the rise, employees expect the best work life balance has to offer. Organizations must adapt or risk getting stuck in the stone age – and losing their appeal as employers.
By incorporating social technology into the digital workplace, individuals get the best of both worlds – the ability to connect easily and personally with dispersed employees, coupled with collaborative benefits to the business.
Taking a step into the future is a necessity for any company attempting to grow, and collaboration is a crucial factor in this evolution. It’s no surprise that 78% of employees who say their company encourages creativity and innovation are committed to their employer.
Source: Business 2 Community
By adding social features into the digital workplace through an intranet, companies and employees are afforded a number of benefits, including easy management of intel and a unified company culture.
It’s clear that social tools and technology have the power to build strong connections within an organization. Not only by connecting dispersed workers, but through providing updated and pertinent information easily, acting as a portal to the rest of the business and giving employees the ability to interact with the company, as well as their peers.
Drive employee engagement
According to Gallup’s 2017 report, 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged. It’s no secret that companies want that to change, but the question is: how can social technology make a difference?
There is a direct correlation between technology and employee engagement. Without question, social tools help companies unlock the potential of their workforce by giving workers an easy way to share ideas, gain knowledge and strengthen social ties – all of which lead to greater belief in their organization and, by default, increased engagement.
Engaged employees bring with them a ton of benefits. However, perhaps more importantly, it’s the unengaged ones that present a tangible danger to your company. Aside from the massive losses in productivity and potential damage to your company culture, it can cost on average 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him or her.
Unengaged employees, then, are costly.
Social tools hold more weight amongst employees and retention than some may realize. 42% of millennials admit that they would leave a company due to substandard technology. Can you blame them? If your life in the digital workplace can be made easier, more interactive and more productive, why settle for an environment where that’s not an option?
Give your employees what they need to thrive in the form of social tools that connect, empower and improve the quality of work for your employees.
Improving productivity & efficiency
To fully accept the benefits that social technology has to offer, companies need to remove a well outdated stigma– that social tools are a distraction. With research demonstrating the opposite, the fear that social technology will prove itself to be a source of time-wasting in the office is an impractical one.
Social tools have managed to transform personal lives of individuals worldwide, so why can’t the same be done in the workplace?
According to McKinsey Global Institute it can, as improved communication and collaboration through social technologies are shown to raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20-25%. A valuable percent considering that disengaged workers can cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year.
Adding in social features to your intranet aids in eradicating these productivity difficulties. Social tools provide an easy search hub that anyone in the community can access, effectively doubling down on the time employees spend sifting through information.
With the addition of other tools (blogs, forums, people’s directory), employees are able to locate colleagues with the right skills and knowledge to support them across any distance. Getting answers faster means solving problems faster – resulting in superior levels of customer service, improvements to your brand and reputation and, ultimately, bottom-line benefits to your business.
By promoting a self-sufficient culture, in which employees support themselves and each other, companies are able to save both time and resources, as well as delivering a better experience for their consumers or customers.
Employee engagement not raising? Let social tools support this need.
Despite of the importance of keeping employees engaged, 87% of employers list it as a challenge. It’s time to make this a priority.
Improve customer experience by delivering greater access to knowledge and a positive employee experience. Break down silos with a free flowing, all access approach to communication and increase professional development.
The benefits to be had by the inclusion of social technology are many and while not every company will find success, these tools will play a powerful role in any future objectives you may set.