Social organisations – Or how to use social platforms to encourage organisational idea sharing

Social platforms are widely used nowadays for communication purposes among different groups of individuals – users with users, companies with users, users with companies… But there is one more aspect of social platforms which is not talked about as often – conversations between employees of the same organisation.
 
Why, one might ask, technology, especially communication technology is widely used among all modern organisations. However, emails and online boards will not necessarily be the most efficient way to communicate a very important aspect of any successful organisation: ideas.
With the emergence of Web 2.0 conversations became more important than monologs even online. Yet, poor communication technology can seriously undermine the whole conversation process or, for instance, affect employee’s willingness to participate in such debates or express their own opinions. The concept of social platforms is not only familiar and comfortable to people these days but its whole principle is based around sharing and freedom of communication. A good social platform can also remove the barriers and fears some employees might have regarding their position in organisation:

“Will I be laughed at for sharing?”, “If the idea is not good, will it mean I am in trouble with the management?”, “I know how this idea can be better but I will not dare to say anything because it is my supervisor’s idea”.
These attitudes are not going to serve in a modern enterprise environment and for what it is worth, these attitudes can significantly lower the whole organisational performance. Therefore, these attitudes need to be broken and people need to be provided with a convenient and non-intimidating way to share and discuss ideas. A successful social platform should be very user-friendly and can also include the following elements:

– Provide incentives for the winning ideas, which are to be determined through internal voting.
– Allow anonymity, though, of course, anonymous users will not be able to enjoy the incentives or to vote. Yet it will allow them to express opinions and ideas without fear of being judged.
– Bring all employees, regardless their position, to the same level by offering same incentives, rights and voting powers within the collaborative platform.
Provision of a good social platform alone, though, is not going to solve the problem. If a company is really willing to encourage such behaviours from its employees it will require a certain level of organisational change and amendments to its corporate culture. Very hierarchical organisations might find it difficult to persuade their employees to participate in such activities without significant encouragement from the leadership and assurances that it is not only fun, challenging and rewarding but also does not carry any negative implications for the employees, in case their ideas are unsuccessful. From managerial perspective, this approach will mean handing some of the control (at least over idea generation) to the employees. However, the possibilities of positive employee contribution are endless.

At the first glance, this article might seem to be about social technology, but really it is about people. With technologies being copied and redeveloped on daily basis, people remain to be the most valuable asset an organisation can have. Not utilising this asset to the fullest doesn’t make any logical business sense. Technology, for instance social platforms, are only there to help companies to make the most of this asset. A certain degree of cultural change and implementation of conversational platforms is a must if organisations are truly intending of becoming a modern, social enterprise.

Content Creator: Maria Kalagova (Snob Monkey Content Creator)