Social Intranets are Impacting the Future of Work

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If you’ve been in the workplace any length of time, you might have noticed that things around you are rapidly evolving. And we’re not just talking about desktop computers being replaced with laptops and tablets. From the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a few years ago to the increasing presence of wearables in the workplace, work has changed.

google-glass.jpgAnd policies are changing, too. Gone are the days of Dolly Parton’s "9-to-5" and everyone toiling away from a centralized office. Employees expect to be able to work when and where they want and from any device.

Some employers might look at the reality and say, “This younger generation…” or “When I first got a job, I had to…” And, they have a point. The generations entering today’s workforce—predominately Millennials and Gen Z—do have different expectations, and they’re helping shape the future of work.

However, the younger generations aren’t wholly responsible. Their desires for transparency and flexibility are found in any demographic. Perhaps it would be better to view them as more of a catalyst or the final tipping point on the scale than an ultimate culprit.  

tipping-point.gifIn any case, employers see where work is headed and are responding in kind. They are changing from “this is the way we’ve always done things” to a more innovative approach that encourages collaboration and communication. They’re adopting processes and procedures that make their workplaces not only friendlier to employees but also more competitive globally.

And they’re using technology, things like social intranets and enterprise social networks (ESNs), to do so. It’s the only way to keep pace with employees’ demands and future-proof the workplace. With these tools, employers are seeing an impact in a couple of areas. We’ll look at six of them here.

  1. Collaboration

Collaboration” might be the word of 2015, but it’s with good reason. To solve today’s problems, we need a deeper understanding and breadth of knowledge. It’s the only way to come up with innovative solutions as well as pivot from them when it’s obvious they have no chance of survival.

Collaborative augmentation” through a social intranet is how that happens. Departments aren’t siloed from one other. Your organization’s collective braintrust is housed on the intranet and shared across your entire company. Because everyone is working together to get stuff done, your time to market decreases.

  1. Employee Onboarding

Onboarding has been a business pain point for ages. Best-in-class companies are turning it into an opportunity. Rather than overwhelming new hires with print handbooks and videos from the ‘80s, they’re providing employees information via social intranets.

In some instances, businesses are giving new hires access to the company social intranet before they ever step foot into the workplace. It acts as an introduction to the corporate culture. Plus, it gives new employees a chance to interact with peers and ask all the questions they wanted to but felt were too casual or silly for the interview.

  1. Employee Engagement

A good onboarding experience correlates with higher employee engagement. If new hires know they’re welcome in the workplace, they’re more likely to participate in online chats and share their knowledge and expertise. They feel as though belong, have value, and that the business and their coworkers have adopted them. That translates into happier employees who enjoy coming to work.

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  1. Productivity

Unsurprisingly, higher employee engagement leads to higher productivity. Satisfied employees perform their work faster. They also execute it at a higher level because they have a team that needs them to show up with their “A” game.

Social collaboration tools unleash the mentality and drive productivity further. Employees have easy access to the documents, files and knowledge they need. If they get stuck, they know who to ask or, at the very least, where to look, especially if they’re using a social intranet with super search functionality.

  1. Connections

Social intranets change how employees connect with each other and make referrals. Oh, they might still connect on LinkedIn or even share phone numbers. But they’re no longer reliant on those things to get their jobs done. Instead, they’re turning to the intranet to find one other – and discover little details just like popular social networking sites.

  1. Learning

The result of those connections is learning opportunities. Employees don’t only connect inside their departments; they also go outside of them because of the greater ease (and encouragement) of collaboration.

As a result, they’re learning all sorts of things. They’re discovering an interest in a subject they once would have considered dull. They’re applying different models to their work, which leads to crazy, innovative ideas that might just work.

The Future of Work is Here

The future of work is here. It’s a tide that can’t be turned back. But you don’t have to be swept away by the current. Oh, no.

Go with the current. Implement a social intranet to drive the future of work at your business. You’ll see collaboration, productivity, and employee engagement reach new and unforeseen heights.

Ready to ride the wave to the future of work? Sign up for a freemium version of our social intranet today. Connect, Communicate & Collaborate.

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