Why Is the Corporate World Going « Social »? Key Insights with Julie Guégan

Why are organizations massively introducing modern social collaboration technologies?

Collaboration in its traditional meaning happens all the time. Traditional tools include meetings, telephone, networks drive and email. However, according to professional research, they are not that effective: staff spend 50% of their time searching for information, and on average, take 18 minutes to locate each document (Gartner). For an organization with 1,000 people, addressing the related time wasters is tantamount to hiring 213 new employees (IDC and Adobe 2012). On top of these productivity issues, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged (Gallup, 2013).

For all these reasons, it does not make any more sense to invest only in traditional tools. Moreover, it is widely recognized that organizations need to adopt the modern social collaboration technologies, which have entered the market since 2000s. Using these tools effectively has already led to significant improvements in employee productivity, strategic alignment, talent management and job satisfaction in companies such as BNP Paribas, Orange, Proximus, Deloitte or Adidas, or in government administrations, such as the European Commission or the UK Government.
As the world gets more complex, the corporate sphere is going « social » to simplify processes and increase performance.

What are the latest trends and innovations in the field?

« Social collaboration » in an organization is powered by social softwares. The objective of social software is to encourage and organize open and free-form interaction between employees.

Office 365, Confluence Wikis, Google for Work, Slack, Facebook at work, IBM Connections, Zimbra, BlueKiwi… are some of the internally hosted solutions and cloud-based softwares available on the market. These technologies evolve exponentially!

From my own experience, cloud-based softwares have less technical limitations than internally-hosted solutions and are often more cost-efficient and elastic. But to each virtue, its corresponding vice, they are also considered less secure.

Until now, there is not yet a single product that is the best-of-breed with all features that satisfy all needs. Employees will always request the latest technologies available on the market. This is why it is often better to go for an eco-system approach, where functionalities will be integrated as the new needs emerge. The aim of any organization should be to offer a “one stop shop portal”, a real digital workplace for both informal and formal contents.

How can we be best equipped to overcome the challenges related to this topic within our organization?

The adoption of a new social collaboration tool often implies a change in the way employees work. Therefore, the adoption process can only be successful if it is accompanied by organizational change nurturing a positive attitude towards knowledge sharing. In working environments where collaboration is limited and characterized by silos, successful cross-cutting collaboration requires a cultural change within the entire organization.

Staff will only use the new tools if they are guided towards them with a clear purpose and vision, as well as a clear understanding of the benefits and code of conduct. You will need to count on change agents, who will accompany small and large changes, facilitate conversations, and train employees at every level. In order to energize the collaboration, some supporting strategies and behaviors will be necessary. Obviously, a lot of efforts will be required during the transition period, but the return on investment can be really high. 46 percent of workers say their productivity has greatly or somewhat increased because of social media use in the office (IPSOS, 2014). I wish you a fruitful journey![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width= »1/1″][dt_quote type= »blockquote » font_size= »normal » background= »plain » animation= »none »]Julie Guégan is a professional digital communication trainer. She has extensive experience in promoting digital collaboration, social communication and new ways of working in very complex organizations. In addition to consulting for EU, she is a lecturer, an international blogger, a co-organizer of the Responsive Organisations Meet-ups in Belgium, and an IFE trainer.[/dt_quote][/vc_column][/vc_row]