Using social technology in the workplace is more than just sending out an email telling employees to download and use the latest app. New tools have some amazing features and functionality, but to make social tools work for your workforce, you need to give the technology some “soul.”
A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, found that when organizations fully implement social technologies, the potential exists to raise productivity among knowledge workers by 20% to 25%. The study also found, “Two-thirds of the value creation opportunity afforded by social technologies lies in improving communications and collaboration within and across enterprises.”
There’s an appropriate approach to improving communication and collaboration with social technologies, however. This is where giving the technology some soul comes into place. This is where it helps to align company culture with social technology engagement by delivering meaning for using the technology, inspiring motivation, and setting the best method for adoption and usage.
It’s important to determine meaning for using social technologies by looking at both operational goals and organizational cultural elements, including vision, values, practices, people, and environment. With these elements in mind, evaluate the use of tools by exploring them in the context of value creation: How will the usage of a technology make work easier? How will it allow for goal attainment? How will value be added?
When a company decides to embark on an initiative to implement social technologies it’s because they’ve determined that the allocated time, effort, and resources will garner results, but there also needs to be an analysis of how implementation and adoption will be successful.
The first step in this process is evaluating the readiness of the organization by assessing the existing attitudes and behaviors of employees such as ascertaining if employees are ready, willing, and able to embrace the use of social technologies. Some individuals may be unwilling to adopt a new technology due to a variety of personal motivational factors including protection of self-interest, or fear of being viewed as unknowledgeable. There may also exist cultural norms or processes that hinder the abilities of employees to fully participate. The role of organizational leaders is to identify any of these motivational or ability barriers and then remove them.
Incorporating the new use of tools or technologies in an organization may start at the top of the organization and trickle down or may begin at the bottom and move upwards. The IT Team, for example, may begin using a new instant messaging platform because it meets their needs. Other departments in the organization hear about it, see it in action, and then request access to the tool. Soon the use of this social technology grows organically and is being used throughout the organization.
Successful implementation of a social technology requires that leaders determine what type of rollout (top-down, bottom-up or a hybrid) will work best within their culture. In some organizations employees may resist implementation of new technologies if they see this change as being imposed from the senior leaders on high.[Tweet "Add value to your org by aligning social technology engagement with company culture @HRCloud."]
Add value to your organization by aligning social technology engagement with your company culture. Deliver meaning, inspire motivation, and determine your method of delivery. Take these steps to help your organization achieve financial improvement through time and cost-savings, process improvement through more effective collaboration, and contextual/people related value via enhanced communication, sharing, and employee empowerment and engagement.