From Staff To A Community: How Social Intranets Can Bring Your Team Together

We, as people, are now social in a way we’ve never been before. Around two-thirds of American adults use social networks like Facebook and Twitter (an increase of ten times over the last decade, according to Pew Research), and many of us spend more time chatting over the internet than we seem to spend talking to people in real life! But do you really want that trend to extend into how your business works? More and more, we’re seeing businesses make it a reality. From traditional corporates to schools, medical providers, churches and community organizations, research shows that social intranets are everywhere! Despite this prevalence, some naysayers are still a bit worried – about security, time wasted, appropriateness for their organization and more. Never fear, though! MyHub is here to talk you through exactly why people are concerned and why some of those concerns are unfounded.

The Productivity Myth

All over the world, managers at companies of all sizes are concerned about just how much time people are wasting on social media. And when according to research by Inc. magazine, eighty-nine percent of workers admit that they might not be productive ALL the time at work, you can understand the concern. This coupled with Facebook being the second biggest time waster (coming only behind Google searches), it makes sense that managers wouldn’t want people spending MORE time on social networks.

social intranetsWhat’s perhaps most surprising is that, despite all these worries, the belief that more social activity will decrease productivity is just that – a belief, not a fact. The McKinsey Global Institute discovered that social engagement actually IMPROVES productivity by over 20%. How? Well, when employees are able to communicate, share their ideas, keep up to date on projects and figure out who’s responsible for what all through one platform, it gets much easier for them to make things happen quickly. The time that used to be wasted on finding old emails, meeting notes, or feedback is suddenly saved, and communication can happen more quickly, leaving employees with more time to work on what they’re actually at work for.

Not only that, but having one place for people to go and share ideas or communicate with the rest of the team means they can organize things amongst themselves better and ensure that everyone works as a cohesive team, rather than being stuck in separate information silos. Plus, with everyone on the same level and getting the same information (where relevant), employees feel like their voice is valued – so they’re more likely to contribute to the conversation and bring their creativity and skills to each project. Hello, higher innovation and productivity. Goodbye, frustrating micro-management.

Building A Team

For those who still think employees might spend too much time socializing, a good intranet will still allow conversations to be monitored (and believe us, most people don’t want to have any inappropriate or overly long conversations if they know they’re being monitored!)

teamworkOn the flipside, allowing people to share some personal information actually builds more of a community within your team by creating trust and friendship between employees. We all know how important it is to have engaged employees, and with 59% of engaged employees using social media to create and improve relationships with other people within the company, facilitating social connections actually helps them feel prouder to work at the company. As noted in Forbes, “Social media engagement contributes to a competitive advantage, with the most engaged companies prevailing in the never-ending battle to recruit and retain top talent.”

Newsflash: It Will Happen Without You

The fact is that your employees will always create and use social networks – after all, before Facebook came about, employees used to chat over the water cooler. Now, with so many social platforms available to them, employees will always find a way to use social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Drive or Skype to make their jobs easier. In fact, if you don’t provide the tools employees want through an official company social intranet it is likely that employees will find their own solutions. With that being the case, why not improve productivity by providing one platform instead of leaving them to use multiple networks? Not only will it improve the security of conversations relating to the company, giving employees a place for social interaction will even result in better collaboration and more loyalty.

With The Cloud, Size Doesn’t Matter

Sure, a social intranet for enterprise organizations and large corporates might make sense, but many small businesses are discovering the real benefits of a social intranet too. By utilizing cloud-based intranet solutions, SME owners are able to implement their own social intranet easily and at a lower cost.

As per a statement from Nielsen Norman Group, “Small organizations with a stable employee base, systemized storage of information and policies, and a workforce that communicates and collaborates easily may not need to invest in an intranet… yet. But even small organizations rapidly outgrow email, social feeds, and file sharing solutions.”

The fact is that small businesses change and (hopefully!) grow. And when you grow, the often manual tools that you’ve used while you were small won’t quite cut the mustard anymore. That’s why having a tool that can grow with you is so important.

working from different locationsEven within a small team, having a way of communicating easily and effectively is vital. File sharing, working from home and thousands of emails are issues that face employees regardless of how big the company is, and a social intranet can help alleviate those challenges by linking everyone, regardless of where they are.

Closing The Distance Gap

For those not working in an office, the benefits of an intranet are often overlooked. For those working from home, a social intranet helps them still feel like part of the team. For “blue-collar” workers out in the field, an intranet means they’ve got a reliable, consistent way of keeping in touch with the office and getting support. Whether a technician is asking for advice from his fellow workers through the intranet messenger function, or a construction worker giving the rest of the team updates about what’s happening on a site so they can inform customers, it means they can easily access the information they need to complete jobs and communicate back the results.

With the State of the Social Intranet showing that instant messaging, blogs, discussions forums and comments are the most popular tools, we see that these can be used by any kind of business, regardless of size. Businesses like utility companies and telecommunication equipment firms are just two of the top ten most represented sectors in their research – and both are utilizing social intranet to ensure that each and every worker, regardless of where they are, can stay connected to the rest of the team.

Keeping Social Intranets Simple

When you’re a small business, taking on new tools can be scary. But the biggest reason to implement an effective intranet is to simplify things. Instead of thinking of the intranet as a social network, think of it as a platform for streamlining your workflow. After all, as said in Forbes, “The best social intranet is not the one providing the most social features, but the one which ties the most business processes and data to employees’ social behavior.”

An intranet brings together social networking, communication, documentation, file sharing, and project management into one platform, using only one login. It gives employees the confidence to know exactly where to go to get the answers and support they need.

When it comes down to it, your company is about your people. And people are social creatures. Give them the opportunity to be social in a way that benefits your company. If you want to know more about setting up an effective, customizable cloud intranet, get in touch with MyHub today.

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