The increasing amount of time an average user spends on social networks is hardly news these days; however, could the success and familiarity of such platforms be a contributing factor to large organizations incorporating Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) into their culture? On #CMGRHangout presents: Enterprise Social Networks, a panel featuring Chris Catania, Anirban Dutta, Lonya D. French, Jennifer Honig and Brenda Rick Smith joined Sherrie Rohde to discuss their experiences in collaborating and working with enterprise social networks.
How enterprise social networks differ from traditional social networks
As explained by Jennifer Honig, an enterprise social network sits behind an organization’s firewall and works similarly to popular social networking sites such as LinkedIn and/or Twitter. This hub allows an organization to develop a knowledgebase through the use of groups, wikis, and other familiar functionalities found on social networks. In addition, a key differentiator between ESNs and traditional social networks is that an enterprise social network adds business value. This is particularly evident when leadership within an organization actively incorporates the ESN into everything they do, as Lonya D. French shared.
ESNs are not only helping to build community and collaboration within an organization, they are also impacting businesses by:
- Breaking the ice across teams/groups. Using an ESN as part of an employee onboarding process can help immerse a new employee in the culture of the organization.
- Helping to keep employees engaged. As an example shared by Brenda Rick Smith, Humana was able to find a correlation which revealed employees with high performance evaluations were also among the most highly engaged individuals within their ESN.
- Providing a learning opportunity to improve customer service. An ESN can be a great testing ground because employees have stake in the success of the project and can provide feedback that can be rolled out to external customers at a later time.
- Building transparency and peer-to-peer recognition. Finding answers within large organizations could in some cases take days to weeks, even with e-mail. However, ESNs allow everyone within an organization visibility and an opportunity to help each other more quickly.
How enterprise social networks are changing the way we work
In its simplest form ESNs are changing how work gets done, and as stated by Anirban Dutta, it’s going to be the natural way we work. Utilizing ESNs aren’t only limited to focusing on tasks to be completed, but also provide insight and transparency into how individuals are accomplishing their job. Furthermore, for large organizations in which it may be difficult for groups of employees to have visibility, enterprise social networks help break down silos by giving individuals the power to ask a question and get answers (quickly) from anyone in an organization.
Whether the concept of enterprise social networks is new to you, or you have experience utilizing them, several tips and takeaways shared by the panel include:
- Place your organizational culture before technology. It may be tempting to get hung up on the technology of an ESN, but the key to success is to ensure the implementation and execution aligns with your organization’s culture.
- Have a strategy in place. Experimenting is key. Don’t be afraid to fail and lead by example.
- It is not an overnight journey. Crawl, walk run. Having an enterprise social network is much like running a marathon. It will evolve and change and various items will be important at different times.
- It’s not about you. It’s always about your community and serving their needs first.
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