Keep Up with the Speed of Change

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 19, 2011

Successful small companies are adept at responding to opportunities and challenges at the drop of a hat. Employees in these companies will step outside of their day-to-day responsibilities to respond to such events. But to be effective, these go-getters need fast access to information they might not normally have at their fingertips. Companies that rely on e-mail as their primary means of knowledge sharing slow down the process of decision-making because e-mail is limited to people on a list and can get buried in in-boxes.

In contrast, by having employees engage and collaborate on a social network platform specifically designed to meet business needs (think Facebook for companies), decisions are made faster, expertise is easy to find, and colleagues stay connected. By using a social network, employees can ask questions and quickly get answers and stay on top of events, updates, and news. Here are some of the benefits of using these tools to collaborate.

1. Boost morale. Social networks help new employees ramp up more quickly, and get the information they need to be successful at their job. Employees are more engaged because they are contributing to a community of knowledge, with real-time feedback and recognition. In an open setting where participation and contributions are encouraged, employees at different levels or across various departments can work together like never before.

2. Open the lines of communication. With social networks it’s possible for any employee regardless of job description to share a business lead with the sales team, report a bug to product development, discuss a potential competitive threat, or debate a strategic decision. The information is there for people who are interested and/or can contribute value. This also eliminates the need to think about who to include on e-mail threads, allowing people to focus on success, not administrative overhead.

3. Asking questions saves time. When asking questions on a social network, employees can see that a similar question has already been asked and find the answer immediately without having to disrupt co-workers. If the question has not been asked, it can be answered by anyone who may know. This eliminates having to know who might know the answer just to be referred to someone else.

By unlocking information exchange from the grip of e-mail and enabling communication through a platform that is open and familiar, employees are better connected and can execute more efficiently to address the daily challenges of a small company.

Greg Lowe
Enterprise Social Networking Strategist
Yammer
San Francisco

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