What is an Enterprise Social Network?
An Enterprise Social Network (ESNs) is an internal, private social network that organizations implement to enable faster communication and networking for employees. ESNs are only accessible by staff and it allows people to follow each other to communicate with one another.
These networks improve communication among employees and connect them through discussion threads and blogs. It can be interpreted as an internal private version of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which also have instant communication and include collaboration efforts.
How does an Enterprise Social Network Work?
Internal Communication platforms certainly aren’t a new concept but it’s important to note that ESNs are not the same as modern employee intranets. Enterprise Social Networks are comparable to everyday social networks that we use in our daily personal lives. The networks encourage dialogue in a manner that all voices are considered equal.
What are the major benefits of an enterprise social network?
Many ask the question of ‘Does ESN actually help business’ and Harvard Business Review found that ESN’s promote employee collaboration and knowledge across business functions.
Instant, streamlined communications
ESNs reduce email inbox clutter by allowing public or private conversations in a threaded format. They provide workspaces for teams to collaborate on projects and tasks especially when spread out across different locations.
Modern employee intranets make it easy for people to find the right team member and reach out to them instantly through ESNs for more cross-team collaboration.Company directories prevent communication barriers and give access to employees to reach out to anyone across the organization for any questions they may have.
Information is delivered right into your employees hands at any time. It’s important to be cautious of information overland and ensuring that the right content is posted on the most informative platform.
Increased team collaboration
Teams already work together but with the current remote and distributed nature of everyone’s role, companies need to have tools that make collaboration easy. Collaboration software isn’t anything new but it allows teams to work together regardless of location, function or department to accomplish business goals. Sharing files, task lists and quick messages enables teams to be on the same page and makes workflows easier to manage.
When teams aren’t all on site or in one location, it’s hard to engage employees or streamline communication. Collaboration tools like ESNs help make it a little easier to engage and facilitate conversation so that employees can reach others instantaneously. Creating a fun environment in a workplace is important to foster employee morale and create a sense of belonging. Personal interest channels and groups help employees maintain relationships with one another without the focus being constantly on work.
Problems in Enterprise Social Networking
As with any tool, Enterprise Social Networking comes with it’s own share of difficulties to overcome.
Social Media boundaries
It’s important to separate the lines between work and personal life and not mix it using personal social media accounts. Sometimes companies use tools like Facebook, iMessage or WhatsApp for company communication but none of those tools are built for businesses. It’s important to not blur the already confusing work-life balance by making it difficult to shut off work at the end of the day.
Too many platforms
Business can become overburdened by having too many tools available for their employees to use. It’s key to integrate your tools into a centralized location to find when you need it. ESNs can help by allowing employees to share files, have conversations and socialize in one place but sometimes employees can be left digging for what they need.
Most businesses already have a video conferencing tool, an instant messaging app, and a productivity suite but they need an internal communication platform to streamline communication across their organization. All of the various software tools enable employees to work together but not without an internal communication platform to align, connect, and engage your remote workforce.
How to use an enterprise social network effectively
It’s important to set up guidelines and a framework for employees to know how to most effectively utilize an enterprise social network. Creating standards while implementing this tool is important to ensure that it’s operating to its fullest potential.
The best ESNs take the tools your company uses each day and brings them all together on one platform. It helps make the workflow easier and collect every tool you need to get work done in a centralized location. With integrated tools, your organization’s task management can all be tracked in the same place as team chats and file sharing. This makes it easier to sync on details and improves productivity.
A lot of ESNs have integrations that are catered to team building and morale such as GIF or meme integrations. Social media integrations are able to bring the company’s feed into the team’s activity feed to ensure no one misses any company updates.
The value of Enterprise Social Networks
An organization’s ESN needs to be a platform that allows employees to communicate across the business whether they’re in the office or working remotely. Company culture is a huge part of its success and ESNs can make a massive contribution in helping maintain or creating a new one.