Enhance Internal Communication And Collaboration With Social Media Inspired Technologies

March 09, 2015 / AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

Enhance Internal Communication And Collaboration With Social Media Inspired Technologies

March 09, 2015

Nancy Rubin Executive Director of Distance Education and Online Learning, Columbia University

Dr. Nancy Rubin is the Executive Director of Distance Education and Online Learning for the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Dr. Rubin actively blogs about topics such as social learning and social business. You can almost always find Dr Rubin on Twitter.

Communication and collaboration among employees is one of the greatest challenges in business today. Increasingly, employees are physically dispersed and it is critical that communication remains ongoing and productivity stays high. A recent study by AQ Magazine states that “71% of respondents contested to communication competencies within their working teams.“ And a recent post in Forbes quoted “97% of employees and executives surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.

Companies can benefit by adopting a social media mindset
Organizations can greatly benefit by simply revaluating their internal communication processes. Looking to social media for inspiration to enhance processes makes sense considering the popularity of these platforms. A Gartner research study predicts, “By 2016, 50% of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks, and 30% of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today.” Using social networking sites as a group communication and collaboration tool is prompting leaders and employees to delve into similar technologies and gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.

Utilizing technology tools to enhances internal communication leads to happier more productive employees     In a recent article about team collaboration, Brian Krall, a developer for Duo Consulting, describes an outdated habit of delegating chunks of work to individuals. Collaboration should remain fluid; receiving feedback from team members should be simple. Applications like Basecamp, Slack and Skype, are effective tools for getting communication right, not only with the internal team, but with clients and any other decision-makers. These tools allow users to not only deposit information but also think collectively.

Slack has enabled our team to be more organized and enhances team communication by aggregating information in one place—saving us time and increasing productivity. Team members chat about projects in a secured dedicated place and share documents instead of emailing back and forth. The tool has also encouraged transparency among our team. Direct messages have reduced the number of emails we send and sent messages between team members are private except for those participating in the conversation.

Connected employees are engaged employees
Businesses and leaders should invest in, and enhance, their internal communications departments. Aiming to take charge of initiatives that connect employees with customers to solve problems, answer questions, engage in conversations and raise the company’s profile will keep employees connect and engaged. Every organization has differing needs with regard to communication and collaboration efforts. Before choosing a solution, it’s worth considering the following:

  • What are the organization’s goals?
  • What problems are employees currently experiencing in terms of communication efforts. Explain the specific pain points.
  • Encourage team members to propose solutions.
  • What features or technologies are most important to the team/s?
  • What additional training and support will be required?
  • Ensure the team is aware of how the solution will benefit productivity.

Thinking through these areas and planning ahead will make it easier to land on a solution and ensure that the team is on board and understands your communication and collaboration goals.   

Nancy Rubin Executive Director of Distance Education and Online Learning, Columbia University

Dr. Nancy Rubin is the Executive Director of Distance Education and Online Learning for the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Dr. Rubin actively blogs about topics such as social learning and social business. You can almost always find Dr Rubin on Twitter.

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