The use of social networking tools in the workplace (for actual work!) is getting lots of conversation at the moment.
What with Facebook at Work launching a small trial (nice write up by Tech Crunch), LinkedIn reportedly adding new collaboration features, and people talking about Slack all over the place, this is very much on-trend.
The interesting thing for me is less the technology, and more the considerations that large organisations will be making around how, or how not, to embrace them. Tools like Yammer have been around for years, but few organisations have successfully managed to implement them in a way that truly drives collaboration, reduces email etc.
I think the likes of Facebook at Work will have a head-start in that employees will feel more confident with using the tool, requiring minimal training for example. However, that’s just a small part of the puzzle.
When it comes to implementing this sort of platform, here are three thoughts:
Is it explicitly clear to employees what the tool is to be used for? What is it replacing, what’s appropriate etiquette and what isn’t? How do you stop the “last word syndrome” where conversations go on into the night as people can chip in from anywhere – often making the rest of the team feel like they have to do the same.
What are the benefits you’re selling to your employees for using it? Make it so compelling that they want to migrate away from other means of communication (CEO announcements etc).
Who’s going to champion the project in each team? Is it going to be your usual project champions? What about those people who have a penchant for social networking? Give them responsibility and formal recognition.
Have you implemented Yammer or similar in your business? What worked – what didn’t?