Most CEOs and managers like to think of their organization as an “inclusive” family of friendly, welcoming folks who smile all the time, hold hands, whistle happily, and work together like a well-oiled machine.
However, this overly optimistic delusion is usually pretty far from the truth in most large organizations. In the real world, large organizations typically splinter into smaller, competitive sub-groups that have functional or departmental commonalities. These smaller groups then work at odds with each other, purposely excluding others who aren’t exactly like them. — that is to say, large organizations inevitably devolve into High School cliques.
You remember cliques, right? Those popularity-ranking contests that divided High Schoolers into the “Have Friends” and “Have Nots?” Well, they’re alive and well in the Corporate World, too. A nationwide survey by Harris Interactive asked Americans about workplace social dynamics and found that a full 43% of workers said their company was full of cliques. (And those probably aren’t even the people actually IN the cliques.)
Why exclusion is bad for business.
Cliques are a problem for companies because they’re the human version of system silos — often, these little fiefdoms are created by ambitious people seeking to increase their control and authority. In the end, they simply prevent the seamless transfer of information that’s necessary for everyone to be on the same page.
This sort of division also causes all sorts of morale issues, too. Worse, it can fester into bigger problems for the organization, too. How? When employees feel isolated or ignored, they can purposely try to damage the company.
Everybody has a need for social approval. It’s the basis of our human functioning, but when individuals are faced with a risk of social exclusion, it motivates some pretty unsavory behaviors. — Marie Mitchell, co-author of the research and professor of management at UGA.
It’s not surprising then that many employees report feeling isolated and left out — remote employees, in particular, often feel isolated and believe that they’re less respected.
Excluded employees sometimes begin behaving unethically and unproductively in a misguided attempt to ingratiate themselves to a clique. Cheating, lying, or other questionable activities can seriously harm the company in any number of ways. So anything you can do to mitigate the downsides of exclusion can have a huge effect on your company’s bottom line.
How to put human nature to work.
From mankind’s earliest days, human beings have a fundamental need to belong, so it’s important to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, with equal access to the same opportunities. That’s because individuals who feel part of a group tend to perform better and collaborate more.
Research has shown that inclusion results in reduced turnover, greater altruism, team engagement, plus they’re more likely to share information, and participate in decision-making. — Christine M. Riordan, Provost and professor of management at the University of Kentucky.
When team members work collaboratively on projects and goals, good things happen — more ideas are generated, morale improves, and results are often better.
How an ESN brings people together.
Through enterprise social networking, companies can provide the same kind of inclusive place virtually. By removing the isolation caused by time-zones and geography, collaboration takes on a whole new power to transform companies.
With an ESN like tibbr, posts can be published privately when necessary, or publicly so that everyone can know what everyone else is doing — there can be information parity so no one has to feel left out.
Overall communication increases, too, as everyone is on a level playing field. For introverts, tibbr is a revelation. It makes “being social” a less stressful situation and experience where they can think about their answers and explain their ideas fully without needing to be good presenters.
Attaining inclusion just got easier.
A perfectly inclusive organization isn’t easy to accomplish, but it’s clearly worth the effort. And everyday, successful organizations are proving that an Enterprise Social Networking platform encourages and enables a more invested and inclusive workforce. Get a hands-on demo of how tibbr can tap into human nature to improve workplace collaboration, and inclusion — sign up for a free trial now.