I recently had someone challenge the benefits of social networking for the enterprise, suggesting there was no real value for such technology in the workplace. I came up with a quick list and decided to post it here:
Examples of benefits to social networking in the workplace include:
- Collaboration: The more your employees can find out about each other, the quicker they can share ideas. For example, if you have a large number of staff, there is a great potential for duplicating research efforts. Through digital networking, it will be easier for your staff to self-identify complimentary projects and align their efforts.
- Innovation: Your staff may have a great deal of common interests outside the office that could transfer into a profitable new line of business. For example, perhaps you produce electronics and an office club forms around bicycling. The result may be the greatest electronic innovation for cyclists in generations, produced by your company and not the competition.
- Resource Identification: Content Management systems are great, but what if your staff does not use the right search term? Identifying experts within your company can be much easier, quicker and more cost effective through networking tools than traditional, structured, data hierarchies.
- Stronger Community: As the famous Gallup Poll pointed out, employees with friends at work are much happier and more productive. Social networking will empower your staff self-identify individuals with similar interests, resulting in larger and stronger community within the workplace.
- Increased Communication: Industry experts have predicted that social networking is much like email or the web itself – another evolution in communication mediums. As a result, it is not a question of whether to adapt social networking, but when. Mechanisms like chat and forum discussions further empower your staff to communicate more effectively and in a manner that is easy to capture and compile.
These are very high-level and I suspect there will be more as I think about it. However, I will keep running list here as I come across them. If you have some to add, I welcome your comments.