Engaging ones employees is important; so important, in fact, that Gallup recently did a study on employee engagement and presented their data in a report entitled “Employee Engagement: What’s Your Engagement Ratio?” And many companies have taken the bull by the hornswhen it comes to engaging their employees. They have set up intranet sites that have become active and vibrant collaborative communities for their employees. These sites are similar to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter in that employees can create profiles and others in the company can view these profiles and create discussion forums to enhance collaboration on team projects.
When taking the first steps to create and implementa collaborative tool, it is important not to overlook the process of understanding who will be using the site. Many organizations quickly assume that because their site is an intranet, only employees can have access to it. Consider bringing your business customers into the community in some fashion. If a customer has had multiple, valuable experiences with organization, they will likely be very willing to engage in your intranet. This is particularly true for business customers who utilizeyour business frequently. When customers feel engaged, they are going to be better stakeholders in all aspects of the relationship because they feel a greater responsibility to the organization.
The goal of an online community is, ultimately, to improve business. But because users of collaborative work tools can do anything with these tools, including voice their negative opinions, some companies have paranoia and are afraid to create intranets because they might disseminatenegative news. This fear is the reason that the use and success levels of social media tools in the workplace vary greatly. Some companies create collaborative areas but do not follow through to make them successful. On the other hand, some companies have assembled specific personnel to support their efforts and fully embrace social media.
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