You might be surprised that 48 percent of our work week is spent managing email and searching for internal information and resources. Personally, that sounds about right, as I spent most of this morning searching through slides and other resources hunting for supporting documentation for a presentation I’m giving in a couple weeks at Cue Inc.’s Spring Conference on Best Practices for Internal Communication.
We’re living in a world where all our technologies, tools, team members and clients are competing for attention. Given this heightened state of bombardment, we are making due in the best way we know how. Unfortunately, even the best organizational systems can lead to not just unproductivity but disengagement and disillusionment. That’s exactly how I felt as I spent 45 minutes searching for a single document my team stored somewhere on our shared drive from 2014. Now, imagine how you would feel, day in and day out, endlessly searching not just for emails or files but for information and relationships that were keeping you from doing your job successfully.
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Uses of Social Media at Work
Over the years, I’ve talked a great deal about the uses of social media in the workplace. On the internal side of things, social media platforms offer the opportunity for employers, team members and collaborators to: 1) Distribute and communicate, 2) Social learning and collaborate, 3) Research and personal development and 4) Listening and monitoring.
Notice productivity isn’t one of the uses for social media. Our desire for increased organization and productivity when it comes to your work might be driving you down the road towards an internal social media technology (ISM). While I think we are all searching for the holy grail of productivity, that’s not the true benefit of an an ISM. You should not build or implement one for the sake of improved productivity. I can be really amazing at reading and responding to email but a horrible, disengaged employee. Yes, internal social media may decrease unproductive time spent searching your email inbox, but what ISMs really offer is four far more important benefits than cramming more hours into your 40+ hour work week. Yes, an ISM eliminates email messages, but you are still stuck sorting and searching through sometimes hundreds or even thousands of messages and files. ISM makes communication happen in real time.
How Enterprise Social Media Platforms Benefit Organizations
An Internal Social Media Platform benefits organizations through:
- Ease of Collaboration. The email and voicemail dance is never a pleasant one especially when you are looking for a quick answer to a very simple and specific question. The ease of collaboration using Instant or Direct Messaging keeps you from drowning in a sea of accidental and on purpose reply all. It’s easier to quickly message a friend for input, opinions and a quick touch base without the intrusion of an email or distraction of a phone call or a quick visit by their cube or office.
- Closer Employee Relationships. Instead of a long drawn email message, employees quickly touch based which allows for more engagement, collaboration and hopefully better relationships. Employees are able to easily network or reach out to team members they might not know through the ease of an ISM.
- Engaged Employees Become Brand Ambassadors. New relationships and communities are established online that are taken offline which in turns leads to hopefully more conversations and different types of influence that these super savvy social networked employees bring.
- Higher Retention Rates and a Healthier Employer Brand. More points of communication make for happier and more engaged employees, which leads to their sticking around rather than quitting and going somewhere else. The risk of leaving your culture and a great environment built on all these relationships is too great a risk for your best employees.
At the heart of all ISM is engagement. An engaged workforce is one where turnover expenses are lower, retention is higher and employees are doing their best work which in turn directly impacts your business by increasing organizational revenue making for happy executives, shareholders and stockholders as well.