A major concern for a lot of organizations – and their management teams in particular – is the perception that ‘social business’ is something employees conduct on top of their regular work. It’s important to understand that in a pilot and most probably in the ‘testing’ phase (ref 1) on the roadmap to become an enterprise 2.0 this might be the case. There social business applications are mostly some internal Facebook or LinkedIn service. It’s the first careful introduction to the new forms of collaboration and communications. It’s a trial to see if people are actually willing and culturally capable of networking in an internal business context. The following picture sets out that early stage scenario:
Collaboration is something that is mostly limited to the work inside functional silos – if it’s ‘cross-border’ then ‘cooperation’ is probably the more suitable word. The internal Facebook service is an additional angle to the opportunities of connection professionals in that context. By the way…the “real work” reference is meant to be sarcastic 😉
In the long run it’s essential that a social media inspired environment for information and knowledge work creates a common nominator for all functions. Silos are literally broken up and merge through the new component:
In this context a social business service isn’t just a platform anymore. It’s a set of techniques to distribute, access and develop information. Employees should perceive the new opportunities as a relief from certain challenges in their every day work. For them it should generate the feeling of being much closer to team members or colleagues in functions they haven’t had much interaction with yet. At the end of the day it should be the encouragement to use the time that they save by being more efficient and productive in managing information for creating additional value.
Exactly here lies the core of the promise that a social media inspired workplace can give. The additional tasks will not derive from the participation itself. It will be the contribution to eg business development, information refinement and innovation performance that employees now suddenly will find the time for (and in the right cultural environment the motivation). They turn into HEROs (Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives; ref 2).
Please also refer to one of my previous posts on connecting the three levers of add value http://goo.gl/d0liQ
(ref 1) Forrester, June 2, 2011: Accelerating Your Social Maturity; Figure 1 ‘Common Stages Of Social Maturity’
(ref 2) Forrester, June 18, 2010: The HERO Index: Finding Empowered Employees