5 Reasons Why You Should Use an Enterprise Social Network

by guest blogger emplo

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Most of us are familiar with some form of social media that we use for various reasons both business and personal. In this day and age, it’s hard to even go outside without hearing about the latest on Facebook or Twitter. Many networking opportunities have also opened up with businesses as job seekers and hiring managers have come together on LinkedIn. The hot topic this year, however, is something of an inside-out version of social media, though it is a bit more complicated than that. Enterprise social network is revolutionizing the way many companies do business and facilitate collaboration between management and employees.

So why should companies be paying more attention to this trend? Well, a few reasons come to mind.

1.Increased Employee Morale

It’s no secret that a happy employee is a good employee. When employees enjoy their jobs and are happy where they are they are more likely to be productive, to bring fewer conflicts, and of course, they are more likely to stay at their jobs. Employee retention and productivity are vital to a company’s success and most agree that low or standard turnover rates are a big plus.

So what does this have to do with an enterprise social network? Employees are more likely to be happier if they know that their voices and ideas are heard by management. Aside from that, however, there are studies that at least suggest that in general people are happier when they’re connected to social media. Judging by this couldn’t one say that an enterprise social network could also have the same effect, that an employee will be happier at his or her job if they’re connected to the company?

2.Improved Communication Between Employees and Management

One of the areas where many companies fail to successfully implement an ESN is in the area of listening. Often an enterprise social network fails to engage employees and no one ends up using it. For this reason, many companies give up on the idea before they even begin. On the other hand, those with the business savvy to do so, have very successfully engaged in the art of listening. So why is this important? Who knows better than the employee what happens on the floor? Some of the best ideas come from seemingly the most unlikely of places, and when those ideas are heard, listened to, and receive a real response – companies thrive. Take for example JobCloud – a Swiss recruitment company. Since they have started using an enterprise social platform – emplo, communication between their German and French-speaking branches has become much more effective. Employees are up to date with what’s happening in different offices, they express their opinions more freely and are more keen on sharing ideas.

3. Enhanced Collaboration

As you probably know, the most important aspect of effective collaboration is communication. Communication failure is the most frequent problem that businesses face which cripples companies to the core. This includes communication within departments, between departments, and of course communication between management and personnel. When the lines of communication are both solid and open it empowers the employee, which empowers the organization. In addition, employees are more productive, and happier at their jobs when they are informed and connected.

4. Reduced Internal Emails and Increased Productivity

Many companies that implemented an ESN have stated that a few of the goals include reducing the overall volume of company emails as well as reducing the need for company meetings. These traditional forms of communication can often be lost in translation and they take up time, effort, and ultimately money in implementation that could be used building profits. So what’s the solution? A social media platform! An ESN allows companies to distribute company-wide information at a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time. For example, Smart MBC after implementing emplo have managed to reduce the number of internal emails by an overwhelming 97%. It also had a very positive impact on the employee productivity.

5 . Geographically Dispersed Teams Brough Closer Together

In the case of larger companies, time and space tend to complicate things a little in the way of communication. How do you get an idea or an important bit of information to members of a company that crosses international borders? Even with the advancements of internet communications, that’s still no easy endeavor. It turns out thatCoca-Cola and a few other companies used these platforms to do just that, and have never regretted it.

Lesson 1. Working Out Loud: Sales Team in a global healthcare company

by guest blogger 

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Gloria Lombardi interviewed me … Lessons on Working Out loud from GSK.

One of my personal favourite working out loud Yammer success stories is by a sales team launching a new pharmaceutical product.

Have you tried Working Out Loud in a Network #wolan? A four-part change management approach:

1. #wolan model. Combines Working Out Loud with enterprise business tools e.g. Enterprise Social Networks. Purpose is to nurture conversations to help fix business problems, support business strategy alignment, encourage knowledge networking and demonstrate the right behaviours and values.

2. Decrease email dependency. Diminishing a lateral two-dimensional command and control structure; providing depth breadth width of a company with need to know, interesting, actionable real-time information from the authentic source point. Email will still be necessary for alerts, confidentiality, 1:1 discussion.

3. Business intelligent #hashtags. Hashtags are user-generated labels on social tools like Twitter that makes it easier to find and amplify a message with a specific theme. Purpose of a “business intelligent hashtag”, virally generated by employees is to amplify WHAT YOU DO & HOW YOU DO IT and in turn, creating internal digital DNA!

4. Qualitative questions. Demonstrate the business value of your network in the early stages, and again at tipping point. Share stories/insights not just about the size of your network but the quality within!

Here’s a top quality Enterprise Social Network business value improvement story for a product launch by a sales team in a global healthcare company that used the #wolan approach.

Working Out Loud in A Network - #wolan ApproachFREE DOWNLOAD: WORKING OUT LOUD IN A NETWORK – #WOLAN APPROACH

Working Out Loud in A Network decreases email dependency by removing the limits of a typical lateral, two-dimensional command and control structure.
Download the #wolan approach to learn more!

GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD

Group purpose: Public group for a UK sales force to share field ideas, challenges, and successes and support colleagues. c. 300 members.

Which company strategy did your group align to? Bringing the highest quality pharmaceutical products to market safely, efficiently and effectively.

Did your group demonstrate our culture? Yes! It shouted out what we do and why we’re doing it with personal accountability, continuous improvement, voice of the customer, “go and see” feedback from healthcare practitioner (HCP) visits (no PII), and shared problem solving and stakeholder engagement.

What were the problems that needed to be fixed: We needed to find a way for our field based teams to raise questions, give feedback, share learnings, celebrate success thought out the launch phase of a new pharmaceutical product and be visible to the brand teams, their colleagues and the UK management teams.

How would you have fixed it in the past without an Enterprise Social Network? We didn’t really have a fix in the past. Issues could be escalated through the sales line but this would not allow any input from anywhere else. We may have used a phone for team queries and results would probably have been saved up until team meetings. Plus of course plenty of random emailing!

What did the Enterprise Social Network help you do, that wasn’t possible before? In short, collaborate! Teams from across the country were able to share tips, advice and support in a timely manner. Equally, the fact that this group was open (public in the enterprise) ensured that our head office teams were also fully in the loop and this enabled them to keep a finger on the pulse throughout the launch and post-launch. The management team had a screen with the group feed installed near their team table so that everyone had continuous visibility. This group acted as a catalyst for the other product launch teams in Europe and Australia to emulate the Enterprise Social Network approach with their product launches, of which they’re actively doing.

What were the benefits of this to the people involved, and to our company? For our field teams, having Enterprise Social Network accessible via their mobile devices has meant that they can stay in touch with their teams and the business wherever they are. We can share key business info via this group and invite comments and discussion where and when appropriate. It gives us insight into what is happening around the business (especially in the sales field) and gives everyone the opportunity to collaborate, work across boundaries and share sales successes.

“Yammer really helped us throughout the product launch – enabling us to build engagement and providing a space where the whole business could collaborate. We were able to share the voice of the customer, patient experiences and our own insights in real time, which added real value to our conversations”. Product Launch VP, global healthcare company

This is the first in a series of success stories we’ll be sharing here over the coming weeks on how Enterprise Social Network demonstrated business value in: R&D, manufacturing, support services, fundraising, induction and communities of practice private groups – end to end enterprise ways of working! All stories include senior leader quotes plus tips and tactics you can steal with pride.

These stories were posted on the company intranet under people strategy as the stories are also about the hard work of the group managers (champions) who brought the groups to life. They were encouraged to use the stories in their year-end appraisals.

Working Out Loud in a Network #wolan, four-part change management approach is endorsed by a German Works Council in a global healthcare company, Warwick Business School/Digital Workplace Group and Microsoft Yammer.

This empowered working out loud story helped make life better and employees closer to the patient. And, for Corporate Communicator’s a license to work across silos and get right to the heart of the business. To authentically report on the business value of working out loud supporting business strategy, demonstrating company culture, strategic transformation and imparting internal DNA. No PII shared.

I was not the owner of the sales team Yammer group. Merely co-created and shared the story. It inspired me to go on a road trip to develop Working Out Loud in A Network#wolan approach whilst undertaking in-house lean sigma training. I learned many helpful project management skills from the training, and the reality that…

email is a wasteful way of working andcollaborating by working out loud is the future of work that delivers business value!

More stories soon, but in the meantime get your free copy of the #wolan approach today!

Lesley will be speaking at our next event – Using Enterprise Social Networks to nurture employee engagement and advocacy

3 Reasons for Management Participation on Your Company’s Social Media

by guest blogger emplo

Social media platforms and internal communication investments aren’t, by themselves, a guarantee of improved employee engagement.  To foster engagement, you must involve all the employees in the community, including the company’s management.

Having an internal communication platform is just the beginning for many organizations. While the engagement of the organization’s entire team, from top to bottom, is required, ultimately, the CEO should be the driving force of the whole organization. For example, the attitudes and communications adopted by executives such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos directly drive the culture of corporate giants such as Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

However, engaging management in internal communications is often not an easy task. They complain about the following:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of employee interest
  • Risks associated with shortening the safe distance between management and the rest of the team.

These are only excuses.

CEO = Chief Engagement Officer

The involvement of management is crucial for building an engaged community within an organization. Richard Edelman uses an atypical definition of the abbreviation CEO – “Chief Engagement Officer”. In an interview with McKinsey & Company, he states that engagement of teams is in the hands of their bosses.

He emphasizes that, in most cases, both management and the rest of the company mainly focus on operations. After all, it is day-to-day operations that make money for the company and bring management respect.  However, the truth is today engagement and integrity have become the new gold standard for firms.

Edelman uses the examples of PepsiCo and its chief executive Indra Nooyi. Every year Nooyi (as reported by Economic Times) asks for advice and suggestions from the company’s 150,000 employees, knowing that their engagement is the key to the company’s success. Rebecca Ray also emphasizes management’s important role in internal communications and building team engagement in her report “2015 Conference Board CEO study.”

How to engage company management?

Company managers are role models. They are closely monitored by every employee.

If my boss isn’t using the tool, then why should I?”

Many team members will wonder. On the other hand, engaged managers increase the credibility of internal communications and foster a “human” image of themselves.

Engaging company management does not have to involve time-consuming activities. It is small, and often spontaneous, communications, as well as selected regular activities that bring real value to an organization. It is best to engage the CEO, board members or other senior managers using internal social media platforms.  By doing so, all employees will see the direct engagement and initiative of the management team.

Here are three key benefits of company management leveraging internal social media platforms:

1.Learning the organization’s moods

Those in charge of the organization should be aware of the problems and challenges faced daily by their teams. Scott Scherr, CEO of Ultimate Software believes that how a company treats its rank-and-file, and least remunerated, workers determine its value. Internal social networks can help leadership listen to employee voices and monitor bottom-up discussions. As a result, management can learn the moods of employees and identify internal opinion leaders.

2.Shortening the distance

Rosemary Turner, president of the courier company UPS in North California, tweets the UPS couriers regularly. What does she tweet? One thing she does is send current traffic alerts. Why? Facilitating day-to-day work is just one benefit. There are other benefits including showing the “human” side of the boss, building a partnership approach and shortening the distance between employees and the management.

3.Encouraging dialogue and transformation in organizations

David Thodey, CEO of Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, has taken using social networks in daily business operations very seriously. Through an internal service, he asked his employees which processes and technologies should be eliminated from the company. Within an hour he received more than 700 bottom-up responses helping him see the what wasn’t functioning in the organization.  He used this information to implement business changes swiftly.

Have you invested in a social collaboration platform yet? Check out emplo

Making praise and recognition actually work

by Guest blogger  CEO & Co-Founder at Perkbox & Huddlebuy,

It’s no secret that both giving and receiving praise makes us feel good: we’re psychologically wired to function in a receive-give and give-receive kind of environment. When we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in what we’ve achieved, our brain releases the hormone dopamine, immediately awakening the reward and pleasure areas of our brain.

Receiving credit where credit is due is the simplest form of recognising one’s existence. A cultural analysis by Alversson & Willmott says that:

“A sense of internal coherence and high self-esteem facilitate a positive process of organisational control…”

…So what on earth does that mean? Basically, that you are more likely to produce higher quality work in less time when you feel needed and positively regarded. When you are praised for enriching and supporting your office’s mission, or when you are recognised for contributing to your culture (co-workers, tasks, team goals), you’ll feel that you are a valuable cog in the business machine. You’ll feelengaged.

On the flip side, the ability to recognise the importance of an individual’s particular talent in a team and exactly how that can be supercharged is at the root of a good employer, and, in turn, a successful business.

What’s not to love?

Unfortunately, when it comes to work, some employers will simply throw money at their team in an attempt to provoke these feelings of worth and to motivate their staff to work hard, year upon year. And it’s true, providing a short-lived, release-action financial reward can cause a spike in employee motivation. Temporarily, at least.

This is all very well in the short-term, but everyone knows that with the highs come the lows. Although management may not realise it, financial rewards can often contribute to a rollercoaster ride of emotions amongst their workforce: employees receive a boost when they are rewarded, but tend to return quickly to ‘normality’, feeling more deflated than they did beforehand. What’s more, being locked into an expectation that bonuses will increase year on year is a one-way track to disappointed employees, across the board.

We are increasingly exposed to research backing the importance of non-financial praise and recognition as a way of motivating teams for longer, sustained periods of time, whether that is peer-to-peer, employer to employee or familial relationships.

Why is this?

It’s science: frequent feedback and recognition for completed projects or tasks results in small boosts of dopamine, the‘happy hormone’, rather than the bonus cycle, which is extreme highs followed by lows. The nature of peer-to-peer recognition means that employees are not only praised when they are expecting it, but also when they are not, whether it is from colleagues in their team, or from other staff members across department. It’s a no-brainer: there’s less expectation and therefore less disappointment, in addition to a greater appreciation for the recognition they do receive.

According to McKinsey & Company:

“Non-financial motivators are more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement in most sectors, job functions, and business contexts”. 

The graph* below is very interesting. It highlights the lack of correlation between the frequency at which employers use non-financial incentives and their effectiveness. In other words, despite the fact that a large percentage of people believe non-financial incentives to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ effective, they are deployed with a lot less frequency than financial.

So, how can you praise and recognise at work to ensure that you don’t tip the scale in the wrong direction? A rewards system is something that needs to be worked on systematically.

Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Be specific in your praise – recognise individual achievements. Whether that is a well-written report, a creative idea or a perfect cup of tea, shout about it!

  2. Show appreciation – Both employees and employers can recognise hard work and achievement. Give your teammate a simple, verbal ‘well done’ or a quick pat on the back or, if you’re an employer with a little cash to spare, you can go all out and reward a star team member with an experience, like a skydive or a hot air balloon ride.

  3. Be individual – This one’s for the employers: you need to understand your team and personalise your praise. Not everyone will want to be praised publicly – some value a simple thank you gift over long public speeches of adornment. Understand the “language” someone speaks and recognise them in a way they will appreciate most. It’s this that will differentiate you from other employers.

This piece was brought to you by Perkbox – the UK’s fastest growing employee engagement platform. Perkbox helps businesses of all sizes to boost the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of their team by providing employees with on-the-go access to a range of perks, an online reward and recognition system and a wellness hub. Click here to find out more.

WORKING OUT LOUD IN SMALL TEAMS

A collaborative post with Enterprise Strategies’ Internal Digital Strategy Advisor – Lesley Crook, Consultant – Jackie Mills and Community Manager- Kelsey Steuer.

At Enterprise Strategies, we partner with our clients to Deliver the Future of Work–including launching social tools and encouraging adoption of new platforms. Internally, our team understands the benefits of working digitally and we follow the same best practices we share with our clients.

Our firm uses an enterprise social network (ESN) to bring our team together. Often, we are in different locations working on the same project, and an ESN enables us to connect in real-time more effectively and efficiently. Here are some examples from different team members on how we work out loud:

WORKING OUT LOUD WITH COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT

Community management uses variety of avenues for marketing–social channels, speaking engagements, blogging, and operations management. Posting updates in our internal ESN is key to keeping everything organized. Because we share information in an open, collaborative, real-time platform, we spend our “meeting time” together strategizing how to improve what we deliver instead of updating each other simply on work we are doing.

In our community management related groups we:

Post links in our Marketing Group to let our team know when new blog posts are live on the site, along with suggested hashtags and keywords to use if they choose to post it on their individual social accounts.

Create a designated group for larger conferences we are speaking at and collaborate with senior advisors on finalizing presentations, customizing branded deliverables, and coordinating travel etc.

Ask questions and share company-related updates with team members in our Operations Group, including sharing links to operations’ meeting agendas, syncing up with coworkers on availability, and troubleshooting our tools and platforms.

WORKING OUT LOUD WITH CLIENTS

When we start a new client project, our team creates a dedicated group on our internal ESN where we communicate and collaborate on anything project-related. After inviting team members, the project manager shares links to all essential documents, such as client information, scope of work, and project plan.

From start to finish on a project, we have conversations in our ESN as much as possible to help reduce the amount of email and work more transparently as a team. In our client groups, we:

Share links to drafts of deliverables, asking for feedback and revisions in real-time

Post updates from client meetings so they are visible to the entire team

Ask questions in the stream to ensure answers are searchable by everyone

Make announcements to update everyone on changes in schedule, project plan, etc.

For many of our projects, we create an external group or network on our ESN to allow us to collaborate socially with our clients instead of relying on email. This is really helpful in terms of showing our clients in real-time how digital teams can help companies work smarter, faster, and better–and set the example for overall digital transformation.

WORKING OUT LOUD WITH COLLEAGUES

Using an ESN makes it easy to build rapport with colleagues we have briefly met or in many cases will never meet. Be it team building, setting objectives or fast decision making collaborating on an ESN is vital to our company culture and successful delivery of projects.

We also:

On-board new hires efficiently and effectively by inviting them to introduce themselves with a brief know-how summary and what they hope to bring to the team. We encourage them to dig deep into our ESN in their first week to get a sense of our culture.

Nurture a healthy “work-life” balance by sharing real-time personal updates like #holidays #pets #sports #family etc. This has really helped to shape our team and bring us closer together.

Post on the road updates like #lateforwork #traffic #weather helps allay stressful situations.

Our consultants are based across USA, Caribbean and Europe. We are in constant contact and no longer feel the need to email.

Our ESN brings it all together. We don’t have to search our inbox for the latest version of a presentation or ask coworkers for links to files. Because we work out loud as a collective team, and post questions for others to read we learn from each other. We maximize knowledge while minimizing effort. Working Out Loud on our internal ESN allows us to work smarter, not harder.

Have questions on some of the ways our team works out loud? Maybe your company has had success with other tactics? Share in the comments below.

The EEA’s upcoming events

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Employee and Volunteers Engagement for Charities
28th April 2016, 08:30 – 12:30, London
FREE FOR MEMBERS

The role of Reward and Recognition in effective Employee Engagement
18th May 2016, 13:00 – 17:30, London
FREE FOR MEMBERS

Diversity & Inclusion Networking Event
22nd June 18:00 – 20:00, London
MEMBERS ONLY

The Communications Component of Employee Engagement
22nd June 2016, 13:00 – 17:30, London

Summer Networking Event
22nd June 18:00 – 20:00, London
MEMBERS ONLY