January 21, 2014

Ten Benefits of Social Collaboration

Almost every time I speak on social media, someone mentions that they are trying to implement a social networking tool at their place of business and that it just is not being embraced by all workers.  Then they ask why that might me and what they can do to force people to use their new tool. 

First you cannot force anyone to network. All that does it get you resistance and grumpy people. We all know that our corporate culture is made up of many generations. Some have grown up with social networks; therefore they find the ability to ask advice and share findings a normal part of their lives. They see it as another tool for engagement with others. Then there are the older folks who think social networking is for “those twerps who think everything they do should interest the world” and therefore think using these tools are a waste of time. They prefer all engagements with others should be face-to-face to really get results. And of course there is the “in-betweens” who think it could be beneficial but do not feel they have the time to “play with” new technology or “fad apps” or believe there is no need to network if they are not currently looking for a job or position change.

So how do you implement social tools it?  Well, first figure out why you want people to use the tool?  Is it for collaboration and joint problem solving?  If yes, then advertise the tool as a resource for that purpose or as a team-building tool - not for networking.  Sharing with others increases everyone’s knowledge and therefore their flexibility.  All workers of every generation understand how important it is to be flexible and work as a team in today’s job market.  Just in case the name change is not enough, then include a list of collaboration benefits such as:

  1. Allows utilization of others strengths in solving similar problems
  2. Provides better deliverables throughout the organization
  3. Makes more resources available when looking for solutions
  4. Allows for increase of idea exchange across departments
  5. Expands thinking and work into other areas of the company
  6. Introduces new insights and perspectives on an issue
  7. Leads to potential discoveries and increases creativity
  8. Builds new relationships and sense of camaraderie across locations
  9. Results in better decision-making  
  10. Provides a database of new concepts, advice, and experts.

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