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How Can Social Collaboration Tools Engage Your Employees?

Social collaboration transgresses the world of personal, instant messaging to the world of work where it supports the need to communicate, connect, and contribute despite remote settings, context switch, or distributed roles. 

Social Collaboration via tools

Social Collaboration has been around for quite some time in the workplace. Whenever we have a meeting where we plan or clarify something, whenever we collaborate on a set of rules or specifications, whenever we spontaneously analyze something and then communicate our ideas back to the group, we are involved in Social Collaboration activities.

Social Collaboration requires us to interact with peers, information, and processes, and come up with solutions to problems, reports on the current situation, or initiatives that can help us move our projects forward. The good news is that technology is here to help by offering integrated platforms where all aspects of collaboration among peers are centrally managed and available at all times.

Social Collaboration tools that are complete tend to provide a web-based space where people can divide their tasks, build on knowledge and solutions, as well as track and trace the processes involved. 

Social Collaboration benefits

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The more social collaboration becomes the staple behavior within teams, the smoother the results. Using Social Collaboration platforms across teams can bridge important gaps: 

  • Lack of shared vision or clear goals among team members 
  • Misalignment on task responsibilities and cycle of accountability 
  • Insufficient time and space to bring people from different departments together and on the same page 
  • Dwindling engagement from distributed teams due to insufficient opportunities to share and innovate 
  • Lack of consistency in delivering results and mapping ideas onto step-by-step plans 

Once the gaps are closed, it is time to reap the many benefits of Social Collaboration: 

  • Round-the-clock visibility over work distribution, timeline, and progress 
  • Streamlined approvals without offline back and forth 
  • Reliable answers to queries from the right SMEs and the practitioner community 
  • Fewer errors when making decisions and choosing the best solutions 
  • Increased efficiency in analyzing information and clarifying potential bias 

Hub-centralized information and real-time communication 

  • Smart organization of files, content, and deliverables in a centralized repository with access to the latest version 
  • Automatic grouping of meeting collaterals (notes, recordings, screen captures, smartboards)  
  • Reduced dependency on separate knowledge management capabilities and zero time spent on switching among applications 
  • No more miscommunication when conveying deadlines, decisions, action points, and the possibility to go back to the meeting or conversation to revisit the discussed points 
  • Enhanced real-time communication: video-based, chat-based, and collaboration-based 

Team members will always be in the loop if they belong to a social tribe, to a digital social tribe they can go to for information, confirmation, resolution, and support.

In a nutshell, the right Social Collaboration tools are self-sufficient platforms that enable: 

  • Intelligent problem solving 
  • Outstanding critical thinking and decision making   
  • Generalized team cohesion and scalability 

Social collaboration features

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Social Collaboration platforms tie work relations, project goals, and team players together by offering them a mix of the following features: 

  • Messaging: direct, group/team-based, and notifications   
  • Meeting and scheduling: video, screen sharing, and straightforward booking and calendar synch with associated reminders 
  • File-sharing and integrated hub repositories: meeting notes, project files, and reports 
  • User management (by blending group and task management) 
  • Project management: to-do boards, approval and sign-off automation 

Task and project management

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Social Collaboration within an enterprise needs to consider getting the job done on time, while keeping everyone on the same page: 

  • Access to tasks, workload, and reports per team and per employee 
  • Control over task management: assignments, deadlines, prioritization, project lanes, updates and progress notifications, integration with 3rd-party boards 
  • Control over project management: macro- and micro-organization, timeline adjustments, stakeholder engagement, project phase reshuffling, virtual office 

File and knowledge sharing

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Social Collaboration is just as much about connecting team members, as it is about connecting their ideas. To achieve this, platforms need to support the quick and smooth exchange of files, deliverables, drafts, and other project props: 

  • Secure file or asset sharing, based on permission levels 
  • Support for various content formats, including video recording of meetings 
  • Organized repositories per project and team for diminished confusion and faster feedback, especially in the case of distributed teams 
  • Automation over: updates, classification of current and new content, approvals 

Communication, chat, and conferences

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Social Collaboration tools are ultimately meant to intensify the communication and exchange of news and ideas within the virtual office. Social Collaboration builds relations and trust within a team. A well-connected team can tap in and out of the knowledge pool: 

  • Instant messages 
  • Group email and messaging 
  • Chat and message history   
  • Team scheduling and distribution of meeting assets 
  • Video conferencing 

Cloud storage and availability

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With teams and knowledge mounting exponentially as projects move forward, any Social Collaboration platform needs to be prepared for large volume management and general availability. Choosing a platform hosted in the cloud which allows for full asset and team organization management offers capabilities such as: 

  • Version control over shared assets   
  • Access to the latest version of that asset  
  • Real-time editing of assets   
  • Remote and 24/7 access from various devices 
  • Fewer offline email or asynchronous message exchanges 

Social Collaboration mediation

Social Collaboration is a means to making teams more productive, and more agile. Technology is an enabler which offers support for: 

  • Enhanced and context-rich communication 
  • Structured and planned work management   
  • Real-time and single-source-of-truth information sharing