Written by Anita Wojtaś-Jakubowska, Marketing Manager & Brand Evangelist in emplo
In our social lives, we’re connected constantly with our friends, family, and acquaintances through social media. The one area of life where we don’t have this kind of connectivity is at work – with co-workers that we likely spend 40 hours a week with. But for some organizations, it will fall to you to persuade your boss to invest in an ESN if you want one.
Enterprise social networks (ESNs) can bridge the gap and bring the ability to network with co-workers that sit next to you or those that sit in offices halfway around the work with a simple click of a button.
Learn How to Persuade Your Boss to Invest in an ESN The Easy Way
If you would like to persuade your boss to invest in an ESN, you’ll have to make a good argument for the change. Many organizations often take the path of least resistance when moving forward and for this – that would mean sticking with slow, inefficient, and opaque email instead of a collaborative, social community.
In fact, an in-depth analysis from McKinsey estimates that social platforms can unlock $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value, two-thirds of which lies in improving communication and collaboration within and across enterprises.
ESNs increase productivity.
McKinsey estimates that employees spend an average of 28% of the workweek managing email and an additional 20% looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. That means that nearly half of an employee’s workweek is spent doing time-suck administrative tasks and not focused on innovation, collaboration, or exploration. ESNs literally create an environment for employees to access real-time, crowd-sourced information.
When organizations adopt an ESN, what used to be internal email messages become searchable content available to the company as a whole. A searchable knowledge record can reduce employees’ time spent looking for information by 35%. That translates directly into increased productivity and therefore increased profit.
ESNs reduce knowledge loss.
On a related note, creating a database of searchable organizational knowledge reduces knowledge loss. Inevitably, an employee that ran a yearly fundraiser or the like will leave the organization, leaving the replacement in a position to recreate the entire event from scratch. But if that employee can search through the ESN to find information and conversations about the event that was held the year before, that employee might be brought up to speed by 70%, thereby reducing the work and burden placed on the replacement.
This again relates back to the first point – increased productivity. There is no need to recreate the wheel if you have a record of how it was made the first time and this can be a great point to bring up when you want to persuade your boss to invest in an ESN.
ESNs facilitate collaboration.
If you work in a global organization with offices in far-flung places or even just a busy organization with departments that rarely cross paths, chances are that you only work with those within your immediate geographical area – like the co-workers that sit right next to you.
ESNs can bridge far distances to bring co-workers you might not otherwise speak with to offer their own expertise and knowledge on a subject. Posting a question to an ESN can result in six answers from four offices and five departments within a few hours, which greatly enhances the idea sharing within an organization.
ESNs accelerate innovation.
Sometimes working within a small group of people can be like working in an echo chamber. Everyone is so similar that they all have the same ideas. Stepping outside of a tight-knit group to get input from other departments can generate ideas that are more robust, flexible, and appropriately suited to a problem. The easier it is for co-workers to speak to each other, the better chance that they can come up with original ideas to tackle challenges and offer value.
ESNs increase employee engagement.
Millennials in particular – the largest working age group in the U.S. – relish ESNs and the ability to connect to peers that might not sit in the cubicle or office next to them. Encouraging the daily use of a social network can lead to an increased sense of loyalty and excitement toward an organization. Millennials use social media in all other aspects of their lives and an organization that is willing to introduce an ESN will create a working environment and style that will be immediately intuitive and natural.
ESNs are a de facto focus group.
Persuade your boss to invest in an ESN by arguing the benefits of a focus group. An ESN makes it possible for leadership to conduct “focus groups” – to monitor the pulse of an organization and employees’ chatter to understand what employees are thinking, what they’re anxious about or excited about, and how to modify the organizational message to better reach their employees, fill in knowledge gaps, or increase understanding.
ESNs make executives approachable.
In that same vein, ESNs create a level playing field where C-suite executives can chat to employees in an approachable and engaging way. For many employees, speaking with the C-suite executives might be an incredibly rare occasion. The anxiety of speaking to high-level bosses is reduced on an ESN where anyone can chime in. It gives executives the ability to show themselves as managers and their passion for the organization, but it also gives them the ability to show themselves as people that struggle with same daily challenges as their employees. It can make them more relatable and therefore encourage employee loyalty and motivation.
Organizations that have not yet adopted an ESN are quickly falling behind the times. Introducing an ESN is a major change within an organization, but increased collaboration and innovation is the way of the future. Fifty years ago, the life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years. Today it’s less than 15. This means that for even the largest enterprises, future success is not a guarantee, but something to strive toward.
While it might be difficult to persuade your boss to invest in an ESN, showing the massive value potential that ESN can bring to an organization will clearly make a savvy boss stop and think of the possibilities. CEOs that are going to build enduring companies will be the leaders with the vision to move into the future confidently.