The benefits that come along with being a part of a social intranet community are undeniable. Perhaps because of this, companies large and small are embracing social intranet software as being one of the most effective tools in today's world for pushing an organization in the right direction. Social intranet software can be used both internally and externally, connecting your staff, your audience and everyone in between.
As anyone who regularly participates in discussions via popular social media networks like Facebook and Twitter likely knows, it's impossible to get the most out of the experience without filling out your member profile to the fullest degree.
Employee profiles tell the story of each and every member of an organization.
And the larger the company, the more important it is that information about an employee's skills be easily accessible.
Understanding why employee profiles are important is the first step towards getting the most out of them, and it's not hard to see the benefits once you start paying attention. Here are just a few things to keep in mind about how your business can gain traction by embracing member profiles in social intranet software such as Communifire, all of which can lead to measurable results:
When people work remotely, it's not always easy to get a good sense of who each other actually are. No chain of emails can bring about a true representation of an individual's personality, which is where profiles come into play. When members fill out their employee profiles, they're letting everyone around them know not only about their professional expertise, but what makes them "tick" personally as well. This is extremely important for businesses that hire remote employees, as it's one of the only ways to add faces to the names of those who might never meet in person.
Networking is most likely a big part of your employee engagement initiatives. Take a look at services such as LinkedIn, and it'll be quite clear just how effective employee profiles can be when it comes to helping professionals network with one another. Networking is difficult for many people, especially those who aren't particularly interested in attending events and professional meetups. When you have a robust profile, networking can be performed right from the comfort of one's home or office. A lot of people don't realize that networking doesn't have to happen externally, either. Companies with hundreds of employees serve as their own communities. Every member can benefit from networking with colleagues that are striving to reach similar goals.
It's not always easy to know the exact skill sets of each employee in your organization. As companies grow, getting to know employees on a personal level becomes even more difficult, which can make finding the right person to fill a role difficult for managers and CEOs. Since employee profiles can be used to house information about one's professional skills and background, they serve as excellent tools for those who are in managerial positions and are trying to find the perfect candidate to take on a specific role or responsibility. In the end, a task that could take weeks can be completed in mere minutes, so long as every member profile is accurately filled-out.
Communifire is one of the top social intranet software platforms available because of its many features. Employee profiles are extremely effective when properly used within Communifire, and every member of your intranet stands to benefit.
Here are just a few essential features of employee profiles that can help to take your social intranet to the next level:
Every employee profile should contain fields to provide the obvious, first and last name, company, email address, phone, address, and an "about me" section. You can take this even further and allow them to provide information about the teams they are a part of, projects they have worked on, and what they're working on currently. Communifire allows you to create as many profile groups with as many profile fields you like. This opens it up and gives your company endless opportunities for coworkers to get to know each other. Get a little more personal and provide fields for your people to share their favorite quotes, list their favorite books, movies, and music. Or get creative and come up with your own profile fields.
Putting a face to the name of individuals who work within your social intranet is of the utmost importance and should never be left by the wayside. Many types of old school intranet software, however, only allow users to add text to their employee profiles (like just their name), which does little in the way of helping people to get a better sense of each others' personalities. Photos and avatars are essential pieces of the puzzle in this regard, and Communifire doesn't sell its users short. Once uploaded, users can flesh-out the rest of their profile with their name, bio, location and interests. Best of all, creating a profile is as easy as following on-screen prompts and inputting the necessary information.
Because everyone in a social community should theoretically be working together to reach a common goal, it's essential that each member be able to get a sense of what their colleagues are working on currently or have just recently completed. Communifire's employee profiles list each person's activity front and center, including blog posts and wiki's they've authored, photos and videos they've shared, or files and document they've uploaded. By simply visiting your coworkers profile, it becomes quite easy to gain an understanding of the type of impact they have on the community and what their main focuses and talents are.
Each user profile has its very own activity stream, allowing your employees to post updates about things that they're working on or simply write amusing sentiments to get a rise out of their fellow community members. Users can also post on each others' walls and reply to comments that are made, opening up a realm of discussion that can lead to the furthering of great ideas and solutions.
When users browse each others' profiles, it's important that they be able to take things further and connect with one another. In Communifire, users can connect with one another by adding like-minded individuals to their list of "friends" (or coworkers, or collegues ... you can can call them what you want to), or simply by sending an internal message by clicking the "send message" button at the top-left corner of the page. This is networking at its very best, and it's a huge aspect of how Communifire sets itself apart from the competition.
Given the amount of opportunities people have in Communifire to contribute to the community at large, it should stand to reason that users require a way to view each others' activity and the additions they've made to the space. Members can post questions in forums, create blogs to share their ideas, craft wikis to build knowledge base articles, and more, all within Communifire itself. When you browse a user's member profile, a list of their contributions to the community can be found on the left-hand side of the page. Contributions are presented in a highly-organized manner, ensuring that any confusion that may otherwise come into play is kept under control. As one might expect, sharing these links both internally and externally is an absolute breeze.
Central to any social community is the ability to upload great content, which is where photos and videos often come into play. Members can use their profile page to house photo albums and videos, which can be easily called-up by anyone who is browsing one's profile through clearly-defined tabs. With Communifire, there's never a need to sift through mountains of information to find the content you're looking for, and this extends to photos and videos as much as it does text.
Managing connections is a crucial ability that everyone utilizing social media networks of any kind should have on their side, and Communifire was designed with this in mind. A "friends" tab on each person's social profile lists their connections within the community, and information is displayed in an easily-understandable manner. Connections can then be added, managed and removed, ensuring complete control over one's profile.
At this point, it should be quite clear just how beneficial employee profiles in Communifire can be when they're properly filled-out. Profiles that are devoid of information are useless, and it's the responsibility of managerial staff to ensure that everything is done to get users to fill-out their profiles.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to push employees in the right direction in regards to how they fill out their profiles, with the following being just a few great ways to get started:
No one is going to take the time to fill-out their user profile if they don't understand why they're doing so in the first place. Discussing the benefits of having a robust user profile is central to getting people to put forth the effort, and doing so doesn't have to be hard. A 15 minute internal meeting can be all it takes to get the point across, and you already have all the information you need to convey to your employees if you've read this far!
If there's one thing that can prove to irk employees, it's when managerial staff asks them to do something without actually doing it themselves and setting an example. Let's say you were to task employees with filling out their profiles, yet you don't take the time to do so yourself. This scenario can easily come off as hypocrisy, and for good reason. Be the change you're looking to see and set an example for your staff, as this is the only way to ensure that you're doing your part in getting the rest of your employees to follow suit.
It may not come to mind right off the bat, but the effectiveness of holding contests internally simply cannot be overlooked. You could hold a contest that encourages each department to complete its employee profiles as quickly as possible, where the winning department might end up with a paid day off or some other type of prize. Contests can be thematic or seasonally-based as well, which can add a touch of fun to the scenario. If you've never held a contest internally before, you may be shocked to see how effective doing so can be.
As any good manager knows, the path of least resistence is that which should always be followed. Sometimes getting people to react positively to requests can be easier said than done, in which case it may be necessary to set some ground rules. If you've taken the above steps towards getting people to work on filling-out their employee profiles and it still hasn't clicked, you may need to take the route of making it a requirement. When employees feel this sort of pressure, they most likely won't hesitate to take a few minutes to fill-out their profiles.
Communifire was built with the simple intention of connecting people in as robust a way as possible. Central to online communities and businesses is the concept of the member profile, and when properly utilized within Communifire, it can make all the difference in the world in terms of how much one gains from utilizing social intranet software.
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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