It seems that in today’s society it is completely okay to receive an email and just flat out ignore it, pretending that you didn’t receive it. And don’t get me started on ‘cc’ or ‘reply all’ emails. They are pretty much pointless. When you send an email to a large group asking for feedback, the chances that you receive any valuable feedback from individuals in the group is next to none. Everyone seems to thinks that someone else will respond. Or worse, people respond but fail to ‘reply all,’ creating a bunch of siloed responses that you have to gather into a single doc and redistribute for FINAL feedback (this just turns into a vicious circle), or try to forward to the individuals that you think are stakeholder in the project. Inevitably, it wastes your time and you do not end up with a collaborative dialogue. Furthermore, there is no easy way to refer back to the conversation if you, or someone, else has questions about how or why a decision was made.
It is reassuring to see Gartner predict that email and phone calls will be a thing of the past by 2016. They predict, “Half of large organizations will have an internal social network akin to Facebook by 2016 and 30 percent will consider it as vital to their company as email and telephone communication is today.” We can only hope this is true as the goal of social business software is ultimately knowledge sharing that can be captured, stored, and retrieved to help individuals perform better, and companies to grow.
As always, there are challenges with changing the way people work. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when introducing a new tool is upper management and adoption of said social tool. Employees are constantly inundated with new policies, tools, and procedures so what is going to make them want to grab onto a new social collaboration tool and run with it? It will have to be easy to use, helpful, and an asset to their daily lives. It can’t be just another username to memorize, procedure to follow, or an additional pesky site they have to visit.
The ideal social collaboration tool will give employees the resources necessary to do their job without having to search high and low for information. A study by McKinsey & Company, points out that knowledge workers spend up to 30% of their work week searching for information to do their job. Additionally, a good social tool will make employees feel like they are giving back to the team and are included in discussions. Employees should be able to ask and answer questions and then give ‘kudos’ to their teammates who provide great information or answer their question.
Ultimately, you need a tool that will encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing, and won’t allow people to just ignore communication amongst one another any longer. Accountability will be a major key to the success of any social business tool.
Get ahead of the game and be the 30% who consider their social tool vital to their business before 2016.