Employee collaboration – How collaborative is your organization?

The Harvard Business Review has been publishing a number of blog posts recently on the topic of employee collaboration, onboarding and evaluation, which provide a bevy of statistics and requisite commentary. A few statistics that stood out to me are:

  • 89% of new hires say they don’t have the optimum level of knowledge necessary to do their job (Aberdeen Group)
  • New employees are 69% more likely to stay longer than three years if they experience well-structured onboarding (Aberdeen Group)
  • The average knowledge worker spends 15% to 30% of their time just looking for information (IDC)
  • Making work-related communications visible to everyone in the organization can improve employee productivity by up to 25% (McKinsey Global Institute)

Not only is employee onboarding not optimized in most organizations, but employee productivity also suffers because people cannot quickly find the information they need to make decisions. People continue to work in siloed departments and do not share data, findings or notes from conversations with customers, partners and prospects across the company (not even in an informal way). This lack of sharing and employee collaboration impacts the bottom line, not just because of lost productivity but also because of higher levels of attrition and turnover.

Almost all organizations today are nationally, if not globally, dispersed. We work from a lot of different locations. We may primarily work in an office, but occasionally or regularly work from home (like I’m doing today as I write this post). Our workdays stretch from early morning to late night (and everywhere in between) as the boundaries of work loosen and we accommodate worldwide meetings across numerous time zones.

Connecting employees to other employees, regardless of location and work hours, and to information that will help them accomplish their goals is essential to a successful company. That just happens to be part of our mission. Telligent’s enterprise social platform not only provides all the tools you need to build an invaluable, ever-growing knowledge base that will create a truly collaborative organization, but it also provides the social layer across all your existing enterprise applications.

According to McKinsey Global Institute, the typical ROI of any social technology becomes positive when just 15% to 25% of employees are using it extensively. I can think of many ways that employees can use social to get their work done faster and both more efficiently and accurately, while also strengthening relationships with peers. Here are a few:

Why keep team statuses and customer, partner and prospect meeting notes private? Instead, create a centralized blog or a blog for each type of meeting. And then encourage everyone in the company to post notes from meetings where all employees can read them. You never know when a nugget of information from a meeting that one person didn’t attend can trigger him or her to institute a change in process, product, or service that all customers benefit from.

Why keep documents, decks, videos or any other work product local or on the shared file network? Instead, create file galleries for each individual, department, and/or project team. Use Quick Post to easily upload a file and then alert key collaborators that you need their input via share. Your coworkers know what you are working on via the activity stream and can jump in with suggestions for improvement or use what you have created to be better prepared for a strategy and planning session.

Why force your support, services and sales teams to figure out who the internal subject matter experts are on specific topics? Instead, create centralized internal support forums where anyone can find answers to questions that their customers, prospects or partners have. And as others have the same question(s), search easily points them to the existing answer(s) so they do not have to ask again. Track responsiveness and time to answer through Telligent Analytics. And showcase and reward people who are providing high quality answers to ensure they continue sharing their expertise.

Why circulate various versions of documents as you work together to create a proposal? Instead, start a wiki page and let collaborators build out the sections based on their expertise. You can monitor every change and revert to previous versions when necessary.

Why keep social relegated to the water cooler for the benefit of only those in that specific office? Instead, share interesting videos, photos, personal stories and thoughts of the day via status messages. That way, others can join in the conversation or just benefit from a shared laugh - even miles apart.

I’ll leave you with a number of questions to think about and discuss with your colleagues. Maybe you can be an instigator of change to transform your company into a more collaborative organization.

  • How collaborative is your organization today?
  • What role do you play in making it more collaborative?
  • How much of your own work product do you put in a location where anyone in the company (or a broader audience than just your immediate team) can read it and potentially benefit from it?
  • Are you helping to grow a knowledge base that benefits not only the current organization, but also the organization as it changes over time, as people leave and as new people join?

[Communication image source:] Big Stock Photo