Unless restricted by a mega strong firewall policy, I would bet that most, if not half of your employees are totally hooked to social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter… and … that they spend a significant amount of their time in the office interacting with others on those exact same websites. What you’re also likely to see is a large group of “your” managers worried sick about the time “their employees” spend on these sites — and I can bet that they are scrambling to figure out a way to curb this trend.
Lets’ face it, Facebook, Twitter, and social networking in general are hot — people are taking about them — and these social networking websites are lighting a new fire under many businesses every day. A social network is highly engaging because of the level of interactivity involved. Are most company websites that engaging?
I don’t think so…
Most company or business websites are not equipped with the level of interactive features that the fabric of social networking websites are made up of. At best, only a handful of business will have a website that encourages online employee interaction and activity. Perhaps, and this is just an opinion –maybe that’s the reason most employees would rather spend more time on Facebook than around their company websites.
What if businesses could leverage the interactivity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and incorporate these exact features into their own websites, instead of curbing the online social trend? Using a highly customizable social networking platform technology such as Communifire, built into the company website, could lure employees to communicate, share, collaborate more within the organization in ways they are already used to from their experience with sites like Facebook. Whether it’s your employees blogging about what means most to them, or creating discussion groups to build conversation around an idea that could revolutionize the way you do business, or simply using the website to communicate between employees, a social networking software platform can all be highly productive if channeled in the right directions.
Social networks are all about communities and communication within these communities. “You and Me — and all of us as a whole. We all have a voice — and we all want to share it. Lets share it together.” And when it comes to your organization, look at it like a community that needs to work together and interact and share as much as possible. In fact, several organizations have forums or groups on the other networks such as Facebook where their employees find the ability to interact and network. Most of these have been formed by employees themselves. It’s clear that the interest and affinity to these networks are there. Only, they are scattered on various platforms instead of being integrated in one place — on the organizations website. Social networking technology like Communifire is instrumental in bringing all the action back to the company website — and you don’t need to be “Facebook” to implement social networking functionality to a business website.
So while some management teams may still see networks like Facebook as a productivity killer for their business, it’s not all bad. Smarter businesses will learn to use social networking to their advantage. After all…why fight it when you can simply turn it into an asset for your business?
Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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