Teams look different today.
Even before the global pandemic, businesses have been searching for better tools to connect people and keep channels for collaboration open with employees often spanning different geographical locations and time zones.
Enterprise social networking can be a powerful tool for solving the challenges of today’s digital workforce.
Companies that communicate better are more productive and also more prepared to adapt when facing crises or changes to the current workplace structure.
And as social networks have grown in popularity in our personal lives, so have enterprise social networks for businesses.
Having an enterprise social networking platform is not just important for businesses today; it’s practically essential for organizations to improve workplace communication.
Let’s look at what enterprise social networks are today, why they are beneficial for businesses, and how to take them to the next level at your digital workplace.
What is an Enterprise Social Network?
An enterprise social network is an internal social networking platform that employees use to connect and collaborate across an organization.
It takes the functionality and ease of use of social networks and adds a layer of security and privacy to handle business collaboration.
These tools allow for teams to message directly or in groups, share posts and updates, and join groups to learn more about topics of interest.
Yammer is a prime example of an enterprise social network with Jive, Chatter, Jammer, and countless others rounding out the field.
From group chats to project management, brainstorming ideas to celebrating team wins, co-workers can use an enterprise social network tool to engage more directly with their colleagues in open dialogue and receive immediate feedback — no matter where they are located.
What are the Benefits of Using an Enterprise Social Network?
The enterprise social network helps businesses by making communication and knowledge share easier, faster, and more engaging.
Let’s explore some of the benefits further!
1. Communication made simple
While email and chat tools are still useful ways to converse, enterprise social networking simplifies communication by creating more direct channels to connect.
It’s no longer just a one-way street for company announcements or project updates over email or a company intranet.
Employees are able to react, celebrate, and ask questions directly to their coworkers in real-time. Information can be shared across teams swiftly and effectively in a means of communication that is more natural, mimicking the functionality of highly used social apps.
These real-time threads for updates and announcements provide employees information conveniently to their fingertips without having to log in to another portal or deal with a cluttered inbox.
The centralized hub also makes it easy to share documents, to-do lists, presentations, and other resources so that teams can easily find the most updated version of what they need to succeed and move forward with projects without having to scramble through shared drives or email threads.
As companies grow and acquire businesses, communicating with people across the organization can become time-consuming and complicated.
Even just finding the right person to reach out to takes hours (ok, I’ll admit – sometimes days!) to accomplish. It sometimes feels like a degree in investigative journalism would be a useful job requirement to simply navigate a large organization.
Enterprise social networking simplifies these communication obstacles by having all of the contacts and updates needed in one place.
2. Knowledge shared fast
Another benefit sharing knowledge is easily accessible and available to all employees when they use enterprise social networking.
These platforms break down communications barriers between siloed departments and create a better workplace environment. Public threads and conversations create company-wide skill-sharing moments that ultimately make coworkers feel more connected and informed.
When an employee leaves a company, the enterprise social network protects against the dreaded brain drain.
Brain drain occurs when employees leave a business and neglect to share their experiences and processes for dealing with issues.
Knowledge and work experiences that were shared in the social networking platform will live on in feeds and be available even after an employee’s email or company login is gone.
This is a major improvement over losing emails and chat conversations that contained valuable information, never to be seen again.
Don’t forget new employees!
New employees can also reap many benefits when joining a business that uses an enterprise social networking platform. Managers have an easy way to introduce new team members to the entire organization and encourage a jump-started, cohesive team dynamic.
And these new hires can quickly catch up on what the organization cares about by accessing channels and previous updates from leaders at the organization.
The platform becomes a treasure trove for a recently onboarded employee to understand team dynamics, acclimate to new processes, and contribute new ideas.
It also makes it a faster process to connect with coworkers online that may not be able to meet in-person, replacing that chance encounter in the elevator or break room with meaningful online interactions.
Enterprise social networking platforms make it faster for employees to share industry news so that teams stay informed and up to speed on current trends and changes.
3. Culture becomes ignited and more engaged
What happens when employees feel empowered to share information across teams and know that their voice will be heard? Company culture magic!
Enterprise social networks encourage direct connections across every level of an organization, which keeps employee engagement levels up. These platforms also make it easy for leadership to recognize employees for their contributions.
When people feel empowered to suggest changes and feedback, they are more engaged and satisfied. And that leads to happier teams and workplaces, as well as less turnover.
And when teams are far apart geographically, leaning on enterprise social networks to drive culture and personal connection becomes even more important.
Whether it’s learning about a coworker’s favorite t.v. show or sharing Halloween costume photos, these are the interactions that build community in the workplace and tighten bonds across the organization.
Relationship building that once took weekly lunch outings, birthday happy hours, or coffee dates to achieve can now happen virtually and at scale.
Enterprise social networking allows for more cross-team connections and relationship development over shared interests, which can ignite company cultures and improve employee engagement.
What’s Next for Enterprise Social Networking?
According to a recent PWC survey of executives and HR leaders, 47% cite a lack of tools to accelerate collaboration, creativity, and coaching as the biggest challenge for their business when delivering on company’s workforce priorities.
An enterprise social networking platform can solve this challenge by creating an easy-to-use and secure space for employees to naturally engage with each other and collaborate on content. But that sharing doesn’t have to stop there.
Employee advocacy is changing the game
Employee advocacy platforms can take enterprise social networking to the next level by making it easy for employees to take content created and curated within the internal network and then easily share it to their own networks.
Employees can coordinate and collaborate on posts about exciting business developments, industry news, company content, or create their own content — and then release them to their own personal networks.
This expands the reach of the brand, increases employee engagement, and helps with employer branding.
And in a remote working world, enterprise social networking makes it easy for any organization to empower employees to stay informed, connected, collaborating, creating, and sharing.
Thus, building a social community where employees can still feel like their voice matters and contribute to the success of their company.
With an employee advocacy program in place, the personal and work social platforms are connected to leverage the engaged community built internally and share it with the world in an authentic and curated way.