Businesses Need to Make Social Collaboration Routine

This guest blog contribution comes from Mark Smith, CEO & Chief Research Officer for Ventana Research

Introducing your workforce to social collaboration technology may be no easy task, but it’s critical if you hope to evolve your talent to their full potential. Businesses must encourage workers to interact digitally when they need to find information or get answers to work-related questions. Some organizations have a lot of roadblocks to tear down. Our social collaboration and human capital management benchmark research  found that 59 percent of companies actively prohibit the use of internal social collaboration during working hours. At the same time, 58 percent of organizations allow social media networks like LinkedIn to be used during working hours. 

Social collaboration can help individuals reach their full productive potential in a different way than they might be used to. Electronic mail, for instance, might not reach the people with the answers, and also distract others from their tasks. 

Individuals must not be allowed to just use social collaboration tools but must use them routinely. Today only 13 percent of individuals use them daily, 18 percent weekly, more than 25 percent monthly or longer, and 27 percent never use them. In choosing the right social collaboration tool, usability is key – it was the most important technology and vendor consideration in 77 percent of organizations, outranking functionality, manageability, reliability and adaptability as product considerations. If the majority of your workforce won’t use a product, it is not worth evaluating its other capabilities. 

Evaluating software that can help provide the collaboration you need for your workforce to interact requires some new thinking. Most organizations still see email tools such as Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint on their intranet as their most important social media software. Newer tools can help workers interact in more socially engaging methods. For example, our benchmark on the sales organizations found that broadcast or Twitter-like capabilities (28%) were the most very important, with wall posting or Facebook-like capabilities (27%) second. 

Our research found that employee satisfaction is the most important metric for talent management activities. Increasing this metric requires an organization’s best efforts to retain its workforce. Some organizations must explore new software for engaging and retaining their workforce. Given that only five percent of organizations in our research say they encourage and manage informal social collaboration, we see a lot of room for improvement. 

Developing what I call social human capital is not easy. Helping individuals engage and share knowledge across these new breeds of social collaborative technologies can help. In fact knowledge-sharing is the top area for which social collaboration can help companies achieve their goals. Businesses need appropriate methods and technology in order to compete in developing workers who will not just stay with the organization but also engage across the entire workforce. 


Mark Smith
CEO & Chief Research Officer

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