New social media and collaboration tools have started popping up in work places. These tools can be used for face-to-face communication, sharing files, and even creating a private social network for an organization. These tools clearly have many benefits, but there are some drawbacks too.
First, here’s a brief description of three tools being used by companies today:
Skype – a program that allows users to video conference, message, and share information with other users.
Yammer – allows companies to create their own private social networks designed like Facebook or Twitter.
Slideshare – the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. Users can share presentations, documents, PDFs, webinars, and videos.
One important factor of internal communication is that it should be personalized. Employees need to feel like they are an important part of the organization. If they are being sent generic, pre-written emails, they won’t feel like they are an integral part of the organization.
Using a tool like Yammer can make internal communication very personal. With a setup like Facebook or Twitter, each post or microblog is unique to the situation. Tools like these also allow for group dialogue between employees and employers.
Remote Workers and Globalization
Another benefit of these new collaboration tools is their ability to connect employees across long distances. Skype is an especially useful tool for connecting members of an organization who are working remotely.
Skype and other similar tools can also help companies globalize their company or product. Video conferences are a great way to connect with potential partners in various parts of the world. Since the program is free and also allows for sharing files, it is a great alternative to a regular conference call.
One negative aspect of these new tools could be that they don’t provide enough structure for people to quickly find what they are looking for. This could be especially true with private social networks. With everyone posting and commenting on things, certain messages may be lost.
Exclusion of Employees
These new tools could also potentially exclude members of an organization who are uncomfortable using new technologies. It would be very overwhelming if a company converted all forms of internal communication to a digital medium. People who have been receiving printed newsletters and desk memos might not adapt to programs like Yammer and SlideShare.
If an organization uses these new programs, it should be a gradual transition. This way, everyone has time to adapt to the change and really learn all of the benefits of the tool.