Benefits of Social Collaboration = Productivity

How do you build a sense of “team” within an organization?  It seems like such a simple concept, but politically and organizationally it can be a very difficult thing to accomplish.  Many start-ups have an immediate sense of team.   Employees are engaged and always extremely busy.  Over time, workers start to work remotely and the culture lessens.  Then, many get acquired.  The acquiring companies often “forget” about the old company culture and suddenly begin transformation efforts to bring the start-up into the corporate fold.  The irony in many of these situations is that the corporate culture is less than that of the start-up.  But, they just wanted the customers anyway, right?

Even if you are not a start-up, how does your organization build, and more importantly, maintain a sense of team?  Does social media play a part?

How can you get your team that looks like this:

Credit: InformationWeek

Image via InformationWeek

To look more like this?

I have worked for several organizations and I have seen corporate social media tools work fantastically.  I have a preference toward a tool called Yammer (which is now owned by Microsoft).  However, there is a proliferation of good social media tools that may be able to perform a similar function.  A relatively new Charleston, SC-based company, Sparc, has a product called Sparcet.  Unlike Yammer, they focus almost solely on recognition and employee engagement.  Intuit, a company known for Quickbooks, has a neat product, Quickbase,  to spawn DIY custom apps which promote productivity as well.

Here is a quick look at these tools:

Image representing Yammer as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Regardless of the tool that you use, evaluate to see if this makes sense for your organization.  It may even lead to the formation of a Social Media Team.

Recently, Georgetown University’s CIO, Lisa Davis, announced a key development from University Information Services on our Facebook page.  Socially, we visited students waiting in line for the Georgetown shuttle across D.C.  The development that was announced was the ability to check the next GUTS (Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle) via our mobile application.  Interactively, our mobile app will show the shuttle en route so that you are aware of the location and how long to wait for the next one.  This was a big success and helped to celebrate our accomplishment internally.  In addition to the fun photos, it engaged the community and brought more attention to the hard work of our department.  More attention = more adoption.  More adoption = better success.

So, don’t take my word for it.  Here are a few benefits that others have stated about the use of social media as a team collaboration tool.

Many of these are taken from Yammer’s website under “Customer Success”:

  • Strengthened employee collaboration. From executives in headquarters to stylists on the floor, personnel use Yammer to share experiences, questions, and answers.
  • Nearly real-time process improvements. Westfield has used insight gleaned from Yammer feed to improve everything from computer training to gift-card programs.
  • Savvy leveraging of mobile devices. Employees can access the network when they’re away from their desks, posting real-time updates on happenings at shopping centers.
  • More satisfied customers. As more employees and retailers tap into Westfield’s network, they’re influencing events and policies to improve the shopping experience.
  • Better information sharing. Staff use Yammer as their forum for sharing business content, including articles from publications such as The Harvard Business Review and Forbes.
  • Comprehensive collaboration. The network unites response agents in the field with claims processors at headquarters, who can tap in on any device.
  • A more effective social intranet. Yammer integrates with Nationwide’s key applications, including SharePoint.
  • Improved productivity. Better information sharing and the crowdsourcing of ideas means faster responses to business and customer demands.
  • A stronger corporate culture. The network helped transform a widespread employee base into a more tightly knit workforce focused on customer satisfaction.