Wikis as Corporate Online Collaboration Tools

From time to time, I write foundational social media pieces as part of my mission to educate HR, Recruiting, and Corporate professionals on the uses and benefits of social media.  This is one of those pieces.  You can take a look at my ToolBoxHR resource site for more information to get you started.  

How to Use Wikis as Online Team Document Collaborations

A couple weeks ago I received a letter from a reader who had a question about a wiki, “What is “wiki” and how can I use at my office?”  

Defining a Wiki

A wiki is an evolving web page that users can modify or delete the online content.  When it comes to a wiki anyone can participate which is both fun and scary.  A wiki is different from a blog in that as the owner of this blog I control the content.  A blog post is a compilation of my thoughts and cannot be edited by anyone via the page directly.  One must have admin access to enter the WordPress site and make the necessary edits and changes to the post.  When it comes to a wiki anyone can edit or update post, phrase, or information contained within the wiki.

Wikipedia Encyclopedia: the King of Online Collaborations

One of the most well-known wikis is Wikipedia.  It’s essentially a crowd sourced and user-driven encyclopedia completely online with the responsibility of maintaining the site among a small group of mostly unpaid and volunteer individuals.  This is the new and improved version of Encyclopedia Britannica of old except that anyone can be the expert.

Company Wikis as Project Collaboration Tools

Wikis are also a great way to share knowledge with a group of individuals in companies of organizations.  I use wikis as a project manager where my team and I can share, edit, and update information.  Wikis offer a solution instead of emailing a document multiple times via the dreaded email chain, you can invite your team to make proposed changes to a document as they see fit.  Once the changes are made, you can approve them or reject them, and even allow for group consensus.

Document Collaboration and Sharing Tools

When it comes to internal social networks and company collaboration, having an internal social network or wiki can be helpful as employees as well as work team are working more from home and employees.  Often times wikis are a piece of an internal social networking platform where companies can chat, share files, use wikis, and post blogs using a platforms like SharePoint, LifeRay, or ThoughtFarmer.  (Speaking of ThoughtFarmer, they provided me a nice downloadable how to for corporate wiki’s.)

Screenshot of an internal social network and wiki.

As you can see, this collaboration tool allows for multiple users to edit and make changes to a single document or page quickly and easily.  Edited changes show on the wiki as yellow highlighted words.  Email inboxes can breathe a sigh of relief, and your employees do too because let’s face it, who has time for email anyway?  Especially when according to an infographic from Baydlin we are averaging 127 emails in a single day and dedicating nearly 2 1/2 hours to the task of reading, deleting, and responding to all those messages.

How Do You Wiki?

How are you using wikis in your everyday work either for collaboration among co-workers, team members on a project, or in your private and personal life?  I’d be interested in hearing more as wikis and social media collaboration as internal social networking platforms are topics we will be focusing on over the next several weeks.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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  1. AvatarEphraimJF says

    Thanks for writing this post Jessica, and for sharing the ThoughtFarmer screenshots – I hope folks find them educational.

    It’s important to note that in most Social Intranet Software that includes wikis, page owners can specify exactly who can view the wiki page and who can edit it (this is the case in ThoughtFarmer).

    The idea of the the very open, anyone-can-edit, wiki has been adapted for the enterprise setting to allow smoother collaboration, but still ensure information security. HR folks who would like to enable stronger online collaboration don’t have to accept the risks of a totally open system when they use wiki-based software.

    Here’s a bit more info about how granular permissions can be applied to enterprise grade wiki pages: http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/features/security/.

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