Lisa Bonner | ,| By
Corporate Social Networks Solution for Workplace Engagement
Three years ago we launched an employee social network at our company for both professional AND social groups. Many of the executives were concerned. There was a perceived loss of productivity. The buzz around the water cooler was, “I’m not sure about this social network thing. I don’t want our employees to all become friends. They’ll start dating and not working!”
Engaging Employees in the Workplace: You Need a Friend
First of all, employee social networking is about connecting people with other people who have information. Secondly, everyone needs friends at work! Friends stay late to help you with your presentations. They’ll give you honest feedback when you don’t want it, but need it…and will lift you up when you’re having a bad day. Friends help you find the information you need to solve a problem or complete a project. To be a high quality decision maker, you need good, quality INPUT. You need diversity of thought and online collaboration enables sound, smart decision-making. Career progression is all about “who” you surround yourself with, and social media expands your proximity. Friends will recommend your work and leverage their connections for you. Friends are different than co-workers. They have a vested interest in being on your team…and know that you feel the same way about them. The list of reasons to have friends could go on and on. One thing’s for sure, friends at work are necessary!
Friends Drive Productivity Because of Employee Social Networks
Want to know about some of my friends?
First there’s Cameron. He’s a Front Line Manager on the West Coast who developed a “Best in Class” site for remote worker collaboration. He motivates me to push the envelope! Then there’s Tim…He’s a Digital Strategy Lead who populates our discussion board with the latest trends, and helps me apply it to the work at hand. Lisa, a lead in Professional Development & Training, is a wise sage whose advice and insight keep me centered. Then of course there’s Ashley, an Operations Specialist in HR, who proofs my emails. Her smile and positive attitude brighten my day.
Friends inspire you and help you because it’s the right thing to do. At a recent town hall, our Chairman/CEO, Liam McGee encouraged us to manage workplace stress by “controlling what you can and taking care of each other.” It was a powerful statement.
The Shift Towards Employee Social Networks
A remarkable shift is occurring in the workplace. Online collaboration tools like corporate social networks are empowering employees to connect, share ideas, and solve problems. Social media is the latest and greatest vehicle to drive business results and collaboration is a high priority for most companies. It unlocks ideation and the full potential of all employees!
Three years later, we have engaged 14,000+ employees on our social network and I am proud to call many of them my friends.
Lisa Bonner is the Assistant Vice President of Contemporary Work Practices at The Hartford. She is the proud mother of very active 14 year-old twin boys and resides in Suffield, Connecticut. Connect with her on LinkedIn. The opinions expressed are personal and not related to The Hartford.