Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday last week. It, along with other social networks like Twitter, have transformed our personal lives, especially over the last five years. This has only sped up with the constant access our mobile devices give, which allow us to instantly and effortlessly connect with friends.
What's holding enterprises back from reaping the same benefits?
The enterprise’s adoption of social tools has been slower.
But the advent of bring your own device (BYOD) and a hyper connected workforce, with intelligent enterprise social networks such as Interact, Yammer, Tibbr and Jive, is now producing impressive business benefits: improved employee engagement, faster decision making and problem solving, reduced reliance on email and greater productivity.
To realize the true benefits of this new way of interacting with employees through collaborative technology, high performing companies will adopt six key changes in the very near future (if they haven’t already):
1. Business leaders will adopt a new mindset
Leadership teams will understand and embrace the business benefits of collaborative technologies in order for them to be implemented successfully. When dealing with our customers who are looking to include social and collaborative tools on their intranet, we often hear senior management teams talk about how they must monitor usage to ensure employees aren’t wasting time.
Business leaders can’t say in one breath that they want employees to be more efficient and share information on their intranet but in the next dismiss blogs and forums as "time-wasting." They are effectively damning the use of collaborative tools on their intranet to failure, by branding them as a “waste of time.” It can be frustrating to witness, especially when we see and hear so many companies having unprecedented success by trusting employees to work together productively.
Salary.com’s report on Wasting Time at Work revealed that the real culprits for time wasting haven’t changed: 47 percent of respondents felt that attending too many meetings was the biggest waste of their time and 37 percent said fixing others’ mistakes. Collaborative technologies used in the right way have the ability to bring solutions to these time wasting activities and maximize the time employees have to get work done effectively.
The concept of wasting time online will turn to a mindset of wasting time offline in the future. If you can find an answer to a problem or shape an idea in minutes online and everyone is of the same mind set, why would you waste time doing this less effectively offline?
As we see a broader behavioral shift in the much maligned middle management, this group will evolve into middle leadership, facilitating effective work practices rather than micro-managing employees.
2. Companies will embrace the demand for working anytime, anywhere
With the boundaries between work and non-work time blurring, organizations must address BYOD and bring your own app demands from employees and management.
By supporting an IT environment that mirrors the more social, mobile and participatory experience people have outside of work, companies will increase employee engagement and enhance their ability to make positive contributions anytime they want. The challenges of Citrix and VPN access will disappear over time as private cloud hosting will encourage the access anywhere, anytime ethos.
This 24 hour access to work means that companies will need to place further emphasis on employee input, rather than hours in the office. A vital part of this is having a way to see when an employee is online or track how they are contributing.
Rather than the traditional emphasis on where you work, in the future the focus will be on presence, in other words if someone is or isn’t available online, not where they may be. This new work behavior will bring new management challenges, but significant benefits to employee productivity and motivation. Businesses will begin to measure employee’s work time by the amount of hours available, or how many questions have been answered and ideas built upon.
3. People will value face-to-face meetings more
While the increase in online collaboration is inevitable, face-to-face meetings will still take place. The millennial generation is defying expectations by demanding more face-to-face collaboration, not less.
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