The question about using social features on an intranet is always a highly debatable topic of conversation, and every business will offer different pros and cons of implementing social features on their intranet.
Whether social features will benefit your organization largely depends on your requirements, structure and company culture.
In order to decide if these features are right for you, let’s take a step back and look at what a social intranet is, what its benefits are and some common social intranet pitfalls.
The Social Intranet Defined
A social intranet is a way of conducting business communication within your company or network, using social tools approved by management for employee communication.
Rather than structured, professional correspondence such as emails and memos, social tools allow employees to communicate quickly and with less restriction.
Social intranet features could include:
- Instant chat
- Message posting & messaging
- Commenting ability on documents
- Social calendars
- Social tagging
- Ideas sharing or exchange
And so on…
Currently, most employees of the digital age use social tools daily in their personal lives, such as Google Talk, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. One option would simply be to allow these outside social tools into the office to allow for quicker communication.
However, this creates management discomfort, begging questions such as:
“What are my employees sharing using these tools?”
“Is the tool being used for business?”
“How secure are these tools?”
“Can I ensure that my sensitive documents are not ending up in the wrong hands?”
The Benefits of the Social Intranet
Deploying an intranet with native social communication tools virtually eliminates the questions raised above.
Rather than having multiple unsecured and un-managed social tools accessed through the internet by employees, in-house social intranet tools can be implemented and managed by your company for social, business and productivity purposed as you see fit.
Additionally, a social intranet can ensure all business-related discussions are taking place on their secured network, while still giving employees the quick an easy tools necessary to conduct daily communications.A social Intranet can benefit your company, but it's not without its potential pitfalls. Click To Tweet
Common Social Intranet Pitfalls
The primary concern of offering these social tools is that they will reduce employee productivity. Employees will spend all day chatting, or looking for intranet content to post on each other’s walls, or writing comments to each other.
This is where ensuring that you have an intranet which allows for proper intranet management comes in.
For example, most intranet platforms will allow you to monitor chat conversations. While you could monitor all chat conversations, simply sending this message to employees that chat conversations can be monitored should be enough of a deterrent.
Many intranet solutions will allow you to turn on and off specific social features, in order to introduce them to your employees slowly and therefore allow them to get adjusted to the idea of social. You may also want to prominently display your social intranet guidelines so that employees are aware of what is expected of them.
The Bottom Line
Whether social is right for your business depends largely on the structure, requirements and company culture of your organization. There are a variety of benefits to implementing social features and your best bet will be to find an intranet solution which offers flexibility in their implementation.
That way, if you find features that are not working for you, you can simply turn them off an continue to receive the benefits of a business intranet.
If you have any questions about implementing a social intranet, social tools or social intranet practices, or if you would like to request a free demo of our intranet software, please visit our website.