The future is Social. This is my third and for now last blog article about Social Business. We will have a closer look at the challenges business have to consider when becoming a more social organisation. The challenges you will meet are different from different organisations. Which one will you face? At the end I will also give you a get started checklist.
Which are the challenges to become more social?
Employees need to learn how to behave or navigate within a social organisation. Especially older workers might find it difficult learning new behavior, learn how to work socially, than younger who are brought up with it. In a social world, the socially oriented worker gets ahead which is a challenge for the organisation to deal with. Those who are used to social tools will stand out even more than workers who are more skilled. It could be compared with raising hands phenomena to answer questions in school. The employee who raises the hand more often will be the one who gets the most interesting assignment or the important role.
Employees need to be active to avoid getting excluded. To get involved might be scary for some people and the need of training, coaching and even mentorship will be important to get everybody on board. It is all about having the courage to share ideas and dare to comment on others. It is not about monopolizing the conversation but to engage, listen and involve other persons with different perspective. In order for a social organisation to be successful, it is important to have all the old skills in the conversation as well. Make them understand how sharing and engaging can help them to be successful in their future career. Otherwise the organisation might lose some important knowledge.
Another factor that might help employees to share is to set up procedures and make sure they are incorporated in everybodys work description. Make it a core competency for the organisation. This requires discipline from everybody to make an effort. Be helpful, respectful and mostly positive to others ideas. A positive attitude will engage more people.
Unfortunately many employees are not just less socially oriented but they also have the been there done that attitude. According to a Gallup study 2010, in an average organisation, 65% of the employees were not emotionally engaged in the company, 18% were actively negative towards the organisation and only 15% were emotionally engaged! To handle the negative oriented employees it is particularly important to implement a social tool in their daily work and have leaders showing the way and lead by example. Give reasons and incentive to participate. Becoming a social organisation can definitely increase the engagement!
If the intention of implementing a social tool is to receive feedback from customers, the above challenges go for customers as well. Depending on the social maturity you might need to help them how to give feedback on your products and communicate examples that show you really listen to their feedback.
As a consequence of implementing a social tool there will be a lot of new ideas to deal with. How should organisations prioritise and decide what is important and not? To handle the ideas one way is to identify key resources with insights around social networking. The organisation needs to set up procedures where the actual implementation and decision making of ideas are incorporated. Another aspect is data overload. New types of both internally and externally data will increase. In order to handle all this and make the data useful it must be analyzed on a regular basis. This could be a task for appointed resources and it is a challenge to have the data and ideas incorporated in the organizations procedures.
Security concern when choosing a social tool is experienced by many. This issue should be addressed carefully. If your intention is to have a tool for collaboration within the organisation, consider the security and privacy features.
The transformation to a social business is a change process. Changing behavior and processes take time so dont expect immediate ROI.
How to get started
- It is all about people so start by identifying the target group. Do you have the right mindset within your organisation? A true social business starts with the inside of the organisation, the heads and minds of the employees.
- Decide the purpose of the tool. Ask questions like:
o Do you want to use it to create better team collaboration within the company?
o Do you want to facilitate collaboration with remote workers?
o Do you want to receive feedback from your customers?
o Do you want to boost your recruiting efforts?
- Set the right business goal to align with the companies procedures, but remember that change is a long term process and it might take time to calculate ROI.
- A social enterprise is more than a tool think through your organisations challenges and how to cope with them in order to succeed.
- Get buy in from leaders, key employees and help them understand that their participation is crucial. The leaders should be good examples.
- When launching the tool, help the users visualize the success and make them understand that this is not yet another tool. The employees need to see the social tool as a part of their daily work process.
Good luck and let me hear from you!
Matilda Jernevad, Market Analyst, Projectplace