Poking fun and a collective sense of identity is important for social networks in workplaces

Social networks in workplaces

Converting tacit to explicit knowledge and providing context to information are two important areas, which are often overlooked when using social networks in workplaces.

The use of social media and social networking has become part of our daily lives as consumers. We use social media in myriad different ways from daily interactions, conversations to sharing pictures and videos.

From a personal point of view, social media keeps us entertained as consumers. But when it comes to a professional setting, the question that comes to our mind is that, is social media viewed in the same way from an organizational context as well?

We use the word ‘Social networks’ and ‘Social media’ interchangeably in this article. A detailed explanation on the difference between the two is found on this resource page.

Benefits of  social platform in workplaces

There are inherent benefits of using social networks in workplaces.

There are various sources and the Internet is replete with the of-repeated benefits of community building and collaboration. Often, the nitty-gritty’s of what actually works and makes the usage of social media worthwhile isn’t discussed often from an employee perspective.

Employees have a different perspective from the management of the company on the usage of social media. Employees love the spirit of community.

Active usage of social media within the work environment nurtures a sharing community. It is through this community that employees like to discuss their problems and issues and seek solutions. Social capital is built through such interactions. Social capital is needed for a strong bond among colleagues and employees within a team to get the work done.

A good article from our blog discusses the important benefits of social networks in workplaces. The article is all about viewing social media from an employee perspective.

In a study conducted by a firm called Dynamic markets, 74% of employees said that the two biggest benefits of social networks in workplaces is

1. Gaining knowledge to solve problems at work.

2. having a collaborative team spirit among employees.

Social media has always been about building a community.

But in the workplaces, the management would be more happy to see it as a form of collaboration among employees. The word ‘collaboration’ rings bells as it brings results and profits.  And this is the very reason why the social media software in big corporates are called ‘social collaboration’.

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Benefits of Social collaboration in workplaces

benefits of social collaboration

In the recent years, there has been a lot written about social collaboration within organizations. Both employees and managers within workplaces can realize enormous benefits through social collaboration.

The benefits of social collaboration go beyond the obvious oft-repeated ones like social interaction among employees and community building.  The benefits have positive business impact and the primary among them is the enhanced knowledge, and information employees gain for collaborative problem solving.

What is social collaboration in workplaces?

Now having said that, we can ask the question, what is social collaboration in workplaces?

Social collaboration in workplace is all about a group of people interacting and sharing information to achieve common goals. Such collaborative processes finds acceptance in a natural ubiquitous medium like the corporate intranet space, where Information and ideas disseminate quite fast.

The concept of ‘social collaboration’ although not new, emphasizes the fact that ‘ideas are all around us’ we need to be open enough to see them.  No one-person need to have all the expertise in the world to solve the problems.  People do not operate in silos.  When they join and collectively add their thought processes and ideas, it is bound to value add to the entire process and probably turn it to a newer direction which would have been not so obvious if they (people) were on their own.

Social collaboration in workplaces is also known by with the word ‘Enterprise networking’ and is associated with software tools called ‘corporate social networks’ or ‘Corporate social media’.

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Want to Build a Culture of Innovation? Give Your Employees More Autonomy

culture of innovation

What kind of workplaces promote innovation?

You can expect employees to drive innovation in environments where there are fewer bureaucratic restraints and many opportunities for calculated risk. Innovation can only happen with a well-structured management system in place. Otherwise, experimentation can become too risky and great ideas might not get implemented.

In a survey by McKinsey, 94% of senior executives said that it’s the people and corporate culture that drive innovation.

Hierarchical structures where the decision-maker is difficult to reach and the decision-making process is not transparent do not foster innovation. That’s why employees need a degree of autonomy to execute actions and set their innovation goals.

Employee autonomy and accountability are the foundation for innovation.

These two values provide the essential framework that supports the innovation process among employees. An autonomous workplace gives individuals and teams ownership of their ideas and grants them the freedom to make key decisions.

Here are 5 tips to help you build a culture of innovation that gives your employees more autonomy.

Explain the ‘why’ behind the goal

The first step for managers who want to instill a greater autonomy among their employees is to explain why the goal assigned to the team has value. Most often, managers tell their employees what they need to do, failing to explain why it’s important or how it fits into the larger picture.

It’s hard to commit to a goal if you don’t see why it’s a good idea in the first place. The value of the goal might not be as obvious to your team as it is to you. So make sure to explain the ‘why’ behind the goal and help employees understand how their actions contribute to the overarching goals of the organization.

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Challenges in analyzing Big data in social networks

big data in social networks

There are social interactions everywhere.  According to the Global Web Index, as of Jan 2016, there are about 3.4 billion internet users in the world.  And within that, there are about 2.3 billion active social media users.  Interactions through social media have become ubiquitous and so is the immense amount of data that is generated through it.

Many popular social networks like Facebook have begun to use this data to know about their users to deliver personalized feed to suit their interests and behavior and the situation is no different in Enterprise social networks as well.

Even today with the enormous amount of data that is generated through social media channels, leaders will have to struggle with the implications of big data.  Analyzing and gleaning information from the data will become key factor for competition as well as rise in productivity, innovation and increase in consumer surplus says the Mckinsey in their report  “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”.

Many people from senior leadership teams to the people in the technology world talk about ‘Big Data’.  Big data is not a buzzword for smarter data analysis to gain insight.  Therefore, what exactly is Big data, what does is it mean for us and how can we use the insights gained from such analysis in the realm of social networks.  The data analysis and insights gained is significantly different from what managers might generate from regular analytics.

Big data in social media

Big data is all the voluminous and unstructured data from a wide ranging sources in the form of click stream data from  websites, social media data like ‘Likes’, Tweets and ‘Blog posts’ etc. and from video entertainment as well.  Just to give you an idea, Google processes about 24 petabytes of data and not all of this in rows and columns.  Sometimes organizations also take into account the real time information as it occurs in radio frequency identification systems and make changes as they happen.

The consumers as well as working professionals in the organizations have begun to realize the potential value and the intelligence that can be derived from the vast amount of data that is generated through social media conversations.

Big data applications largely depend on their ability to analyze this large and unstructured data and handle the scale of the geometric growth of the social networks.  Social networks generate conversations and there is context attached to these conversations.  It is this context to information from various expert users is what makes knowledge sharing through social media tools so invaluable.  Finding specific information in this vast sea of billions of conversational messages is no easy task.  Big data in social networks together with social analytics need to go hand in hand in finding out the specific information we need.

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How Office Environment Influences Productivity and Collaboration

Office environment

A certain portion of productivity and collaboration comes from within the stellar team members you hire for the job. If you have budding, innovative minds who are eager to work together to move mountains for your business, you’ve already won half the battle. The only thing you should be concerned about is whether or not their office environment is actually stifling their abilities. After all, if you put an astronaut in a lawyer’s seat, would she know what she was doing?

If you want to make the most out of your workplace talent, you need to set the proper stage they’ll need to perform. A few small changes can make a world of difference in enhancing everyone’s ability to work to the fullest extent.

Space to Move

Your employees might spend a significant amount of time sitting around their computers, or even emailing each other. When they’re doing this, the need to have enough space to set up and work on what they’re working on. It’s hard to get much done when you’re bumping elbows with your coworker every time you try to hit “send.”

Even strictly virtual work requires more space than most people may realize. Some work requires a bubble of silence to concentrate on, and when employees can’t get that, they wind up sending out messages full of typos and incomplete thoughts. If everyone is too close together, it might be time to check out Gumtree for a larger office building. Growth tends to happen quicker than we may think, and you might have packed too many people into a small space.

Different Zones

Coming together is just as important as working separately. The whole group needs to be able to sit at the same table in order to discuss and plan an upcoming project. Some of that work is meant to be done within the group, but other small tasks may require privacy. If everyone else needs to be quiet so one person can make a phone call, this is a sign that you don’t have enough designated zones for specific kinds of work.

Make sure you have enough quiet places where your team members can make phone calls or sit down with clients to go over personal information. Attempting to do these things in a team setting is overwhelming, and not much will get done. Everyone needs a little corner to handle these quiet tasks before they can come back and share what they’ve learned with the group.

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