I like the way Charlene Li of Altimeter Group said it: “Most companies approach enterprise social networks as a technology deployment and fail to understand that the new relationships created by enterprise social networks are the source for value creation.” In other words, besides IT considerations, there are other important factors to account for when making the move to a more social business environment.
How will employees interact in the space and what positive outcomes will that activity bring to your business? How will you measure the success of the system and use it to its maximum potential? To answer these questions and more, here are five ways to ensure a successful implementation of your enterprise social network:
1. Make employee buy-in a priority. Introduce employees and management to the benefits of enterprise social prior to implementation. You could even brainstorm with them on ways to put the network to use. This goes a long way in encouraging employees to use the network and accomplish your business goals.
2. Understand the opportunity. Companies need to critically examine current forms of collaboration in order to identify opportunities for improvement. tibbr’s Lars Plougmann recently offered his insight. He said, there is a disconnect, where close to 80% of executives believe collaboration is critical to growth, yet only 25% believe their organization collaborates effectively. Enterprise social software must allow the company to capitalize on these growth opportunities at scale. Further, the new collaboration system must be able to plug into all existing nodes in the network, including information systems that might be siloed or disparate without the social network.
3. Develop measurable goals. A recent Altimeter report points out that more than 50% of U.S. adults use an enterprise social network on a daily basis, but some organizations struggle to keep engagement on the network. Setting goals tied to both social network use and measurable business outcomes is critical for getting the most out of your network. Altimeter suggests that your social networking goals involve the following:
- Sharing of best practices
- Facilitating cross-department or departmental collaboration
- Strategically transforming the company culture
- Improving a specific business process
- Reducing internal email and meetings volume
4. Increase engagement by incentivizing appropriate use. Shape behavior by providing rewards or positive reinforcement, not punishment. Rewards could include virtual awards, monetary prizes or even a regular program of recognition, such as Employee of the Month.
5. Empower employees to use social network information to take action. Used properly, enterprise social activity can help break down barriers in your organization’s structure and hierarchy that hinder progress. Employees are empowered when they not only have access to the information and tools they need, but are able to take action. Provide social policies and procedures that align with the company’s overall policies and goals and employer employees to take action, create efficiencies and improve processes
For those of you that have already successfully implemented an enterprise social network, what additional advice would you give companies looking to make an investment in enterprise social? Share with a comment below.