Most organisations know they should make it easy for employees to work together and share ideas. As workplaces become more decentralised, employees are needing to collaborate across teams, regions and time-zones to do their jobs well.
But there’s a problem. While organisations understand the value of collaboration, they often struggle to implement collaboration strategies that have lasting results.
This has a serious impact on business productivity, particularly in Australia.
Deloitte research shows that Australia’s business productivity has fallen by 0.6 per cent every year for the past seven years. This means that when it comes to productivity, Australia is one of the world’s most underperforming developed countries.
How managers have responded to productivity losses
Managers and executives have been quick to address Australia’s productivity slump. Some have introduced flat management structures in a bid to foster collaboration and inspire team members to work more efficiently.
Others have purchased corporate social networking platforms, assuming that effective collaboration is as easy as setting up a platform and waiting for employees to start sharing information. When it’s not an instant success, those at the top mistakenly label the platform a waste of time and money.
What these managers and executives don’t realise is that these approaches aren’t enough to develop a collaborative culture. They can be step in the right direction (flat management structures don’t work for all organisations, for example), but employers need to do more to encourage employees to share information and improve transparency.
Creating a collaborative culture
When employees are spread across regions, work remotely or spend lots of time out of the office, collaboration can seem impossible, no matter how flat your organisation may be.
Corporate social networks, such as Yammer, can help bridge this gap. Contrary to what you might believe (particularly if you’ve been burned by experiences similar to the example above), corporate social networks are far from a waste of time.
How Yammer can help
Yammer and other corporate collaboration tools aren’t just blog sites or work-appropriate versions of Facebook.
Yammer, for example, provides a rich, unified and familiar social media experience that can integrate with your SharePoint environment. We actually recommend that SharePoint users choose Yammer over default SharePoint social tools for a better user experience.
Many of our clients, including The Tax Institute, have used these tools to improve inclusivity, enhance employee engagement and streamline business operations.
The Tax Institute’s employees use knowledge forums, social feeds and internal blogs to share knowledge and provide support for projects across divisions. As a result:
- employees are more willing to share knowledge
- barriers to collaboration have been eliminated
- productivity has increased
Top-down support is vital
One of the main reasons corporate collaboration tools fail is because executives don’t consider them to be particularly engaging or valuable. If there’s a widespread view in your organisation that Yammer is a waste of time, those at the top are probably,at least partially,- responsible.
Like any major cultural shift, long term success is more likely if employees see buy-in from those above. So when it comes to experimenting with new collaboration strategies and tools, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
To find out more about how Professional Advantage’s consultants can help you transform how your employees collaborate, attend our FREE Office 365 Up Close and Personal event.
You can also read more about Professional Advantage and Office 365 here.