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Get started with Social Business! How to encourage the use of a new social collaboration tool

This is a guest post by Matilda Jernevad, Market Analyst at Projectplace International.

Matilda Jernevad

Matilda Jernevad, Market Analyst at Projectplace

Ever heard of Social Business? Well, if you haven’t it’s about time. Several analytics firms have stated that becoming a social organisation is vital to be competitive in the future. What then, is a social organisation?

One definition is that a social organisation handles business challenges and opportunities by using social media platforms to engage employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to work and collaborate together. At its core, a social organisation empowers employees. This creates openness, creativity and collaboration. One can even state that we are in a collaborative revolution that is challenging organisational hierarchies and structures.

How did it happen?

Companies are facing a workforce that is more and more global and also mobile. In the light of economic crisis the pressure to become more productive and competitive has risen. To react fast to a changing world, flexible and flatter organisations are required. No more long decision making processes, but rather, listening and engaging customers, partners, employees and other stakeholders are now the keys to success. Implementing a social collaboration tool within your company can help you cope with all these challenges.

How social collaboration tools help

Here is how social collaboration tools lead to high performing project teams and organisations:

  • They increase awareness of achievements
  • They speed up information and knowledge sharing
  • They track achieved information
  • They build trust by making work progress and status more transparent
  • Transparent communication motivates.

However, it is not just about the implementation of a tool. A tool is just a means to an end. A change of internal business processes is required to get the right efficiency in your company.

Getting started

Here are my get started tips:

  • Any social initiative is about the people involved, so start by identifying the target group. Do you have the right mindset within your organisation? A true social business starts within the organisation, within the hearts and minds of employees. Remember that change is a long term process. Think through your organisation’s challenges and how to cope with them in order to succeed.
  • Measure. Set the right business goal to align with the companies procedures. What are the success criteria for your organisation?
  • Identify champions at every level and help them understand that their participation is crucial. These leaders will set an example for their peers. Furthermore, management also needs to take an active part. With their behaviour they help legitimise the process.
  • Choosing the right tool. In order to get people to use the tool, choose a social, easy to use solution in the cloud that makes it easy to invite external parties to use it as well.
  • When implementing new technology, help the users visualise the success and make them understand that this is not just another tool. The employees need to see the social tool as a part of their daily work process.
  • Be positive and encourage other users to participate in the dialogue. Ask for concrete examples and direct questions to specific users to involve them in the dialogue.
  • Make it fun to contribute – Projectplace has for example functions for liking posts in the conversation wall as well as widgets to measure the team spirit. Widgets give the team an instant update on the current progress and mood in the project in order to increase commitment and participation.
  • Think of your tone of voice. Avoid irony. When you are working with colleagues from other countries it can easily be misunderstood.

Good luck and let me hear your feedback. What are your best get started tips?

About the author: Matilda Jernevad holds a Master of Science in Business Administration with major in International Business and Strategy. She is Market Analyst at Projectplace International AB. Projectplace is one of the driving forces in Cloud Collaboration. Ever since it’s foundation in 1998, Projectplace has pioneered the market through a dedication to cloud computing and innovative thinking in work life and project management trends.

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About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

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