“The most important, and indeed the truly unique, contribution of management in the 20th Century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the MANUAL WORKER in manufacturing. The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st Century is similarly to increase the productivity of KNOWLEDGE WORK and the KNOWLEDGE WORKER.”
Drucker (1999, p135)
Peter Drucker opined nearly 15 years ago now on the importance of getting the most out of the knowledge workers that increasingly provide us with our competitive edge. Indeed, in a recent gaze into the future by McKinsey, they predicted that the automation of knowledge work would be the second biggest technological development in the next 10-15 years (behind mobile Internet).
In the meantime however, many organisations are trying to get the most out of their employees by connecting them together using social media tools to aid them in collaborating across departments. The aim is to encourage employees to utilise their skills and knowledge wherever they may be of use in the company, rather than merely where they are directed by their line manager.
There is still some way to go however before such tools are utilised to the full. Research by Dachis Group found that when organisations provide internal collaboration and knowledge sharing platforms, just 10-20% of employees use them actively and effectively.
The findings should not be that surprising. A report by Information Week revealed that just 13% of internal social networks were regarded as a success after they’d been installed. The biggest problem identified by the report was getting user engagement, just as it was with Dachis.
So what can you do to make your internal social networks more effective? These tips should help you:
- Define the purpose
- Keep it simple
- Make it easy to use
- Integrate with existing systems
- Make the benefits easy to see
- Ensure that you have organisation wide buy-in