Social Intranet: An Effective Way to Collaborate Team-Wide

Robin Singh

April 13, 2018

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State-of-the-art technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things are transforming both the internet and the way we use it in our everyday lives.

These new forms of tech have been among the major game-changers in the workplace. But what about a simple share button? Would connectivity be the same without it?

In more ways than one, the "share" button can be considered the staple of communication in the digital age. Transcending the personal, sharing encourages the all-inclusive exchange of ideas and information. Most importantly, sharing transforms the way we share knowledge on social networks one click at a time.

Until recently, such exchange of knowledge has been possible only in the social media environment. Today, organizations both large and small use their internal versions of Facebook and Twitter. Social intranets empower employees and build teams by staying dedicated to engagement and collaboration.

Here is why experts praise them, and how they increase team-wide collaboration.

How Social Intranet Empowers Employees & Teams

Because social intranets offer the same features as other social media platforms, many providers market their products as "Facebook at Work" or "Twitter for the Entire Office." But what was supposed to draw customers in drove them further away. Most bosses were wondering, "Why should I invest in something that would give my staff an excuse to waste their time and be less productive?"

Although Facebook was named the biggest time-waster in 2014, social intranets are not entirely the same as other social media mediums. Socialization is an important factor in the workplace environment.

A copious amount of research has been dedicated to socialization's impact on productivity, and numerous studies have found that this type of engagement spurs collaboration and empowers employee efficiency.

As centralized platforms, social intranets enable both the collective organization and shareability of ideas, opinions, comments, and feedback. When implemented together with an online knowledge base, such a platform serves as a repository of collective know-how. These platforms provide either ready-made information and answers or the ability to contact a knowledgeable colleague and collaborate on an issue in real time.

Since most social intranets allow managers to track and monitor conversations, there is no need to be concerned about your employees using it for futile procrastination.

Unlike traditional means of workplace socialization, intranets encourage transparency while simultaneously boosting employee engagement. Regardless of where they are or what they do, your employees would want to participate.

The Impact of Social Collaboration on General ROI

Employee participation is more important than most managers give it credit for. Not only does participation allow individual skills and expertise to be translated into collective know-how, but it also builds a culture of inclusiveness and mutual knowledge-sharing in which everyone's contribution is valued.

Like all similar platforms do, social intranets keep the dialogue flowing. By allowing employees to collaborate and share knowledge 24/7 and from wherever they are, you ensure they save a significant amount of time.

When everything is instantly available, feedback is quicker, peer-to-peer consulting is more actionable, and momentum is maintained. All this contributes to organizational effectiveness.

Taken together, improved knowledge management, effortless collaboration, and inclusive culture maximize efficiency across the board. When applied properly, social intranets help employees do their jobs faster and better, thus improving overall performance and delivering greater ROI.

Social Intranet Versus Enterprise Social Network

Before you rush off to invest in the best social intranet on the market, there's an important distinction that you should be aware of. Typically described as "social media platforms for work," these platforms are usually confused for enterprise social networks (ESN). But ESNs are cut from the same cloth.

Enterprise social networks mimic an open, stream-of-consciousness communication style that we can find on Facebook and other social media, allowing everyone within your organization to post, share, comment, or like. Social intranets remain focused on features that facilitate team collaboration.

Open channels of communication cover all directions, from peer-to-peer collaboration to employee-to-management to management-to-employee feedback. The best social intranets include activity streams, group calendars, document management, and knowledge base tools.

Recreating the Social Experience for Modern Workplaces

Be they digitally native or not, modern-day employees are already used to digital connectivity. Since a great majority of them spend their free time on social media anyway, social intranets place them in an environment that's familiar and further equip them with tools they are already accustomed to.

It's obvious that these collaboration platforms require no special user onboarding and deliver the same ease-of-use that modern-day employees expect in order to do their work effectively.

By combining the principles of Facebook or Twitter with basic process management, social intranets allow employees to use their time productively while simultaneously fostering team-wide creativity.

The increased feeling of connection is another boon that no manager should forget about. The easier the collaboration, the higher the chances for participation.

When everyone within an organization actively participates in brainstorming, takes part in knowledge sharing, and socializes with their peers, employee satisfaction is guaranteed. Happy employees tend to perform better.

For organizations large and small, social intranets offer a wide variety of benefits. From improved knowledge management and real-time collaboration to better transparency and inclusiveness, all these advantages contribute to employee engagement and increase staff productivity.

For employees in all departments and positions, social intranets provide a familiar environment in which they can communicate openly and exchange ideas from wherever they are. Social intranets uproot procrastination and build teams that defy boundaries of space, time, and creativity.

Robin is a technical support executive. He is an expert in knowledge management and various knowledge base tools. He is a resident knowledge management expert at ProProfs. In his free time, Robin enjoys reading and traveling.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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