Social Media for internal communication is enjoying increasing popularity: More and more companies rely on this “tool” to increase efficiency, inform employees and improve knowledge management. After all, employees spend between 15 and 30 percent of their working hours actively seeking information and only 50 percent of these employees are successful with their search. Therefore primary aims should be to store documents centrally accessible and to integrate functions enabling writing comments and editing the text collectively. This sort of document sharing facilitates finding and retrieving contents faster than by sharing them in attachments of emails.
The right application of the social business services not only changes the ways of communication but also the structure. Communication processes will become more transparent, targeted feedback with guaranteed answers can be implemented and hierarchical burdens can be removed. Deutsche Post DHL is an excellent example for the dismantling of hierarchies: The CIO of the company now chats with helpdesk personnel in Malaysia – according to the Digital Media Manager at Deutsche Post DHL this would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
In general there is no coherent approach amongst the companies. Some rely on instant messaging, blogs, Wikis, InfoStreams und profile pages to share views and information. Some companies go beyond that and implement social business services that unite all of these functions. Deutsche Post DHL for example relies on Yammer, the IT service provider Atos uses the enterprise social network blueKiwi. Since Atos is so convinced by this service, the company wants to replace all internal emails with social media by the end of 2013. Here are some concrete figures: According to Golem.de each employee, on average, receives 200 emails per day – however only ten percent of these emails are beneficial. The email quantity leads to an increased workload of five to 20 hours per week for the employee. Through special tools this could be reduced substantially. Another program, which improves the communication efficiency within the organization, is HootSuite Conversations. With this program it is possible to post, comment and like messages in „conversations“. This tool is also available for smart phones and also non-HootSuite users can participate.
Despite all the opportunities and evident advantages that social business services offer, clear and simple media guidelines should be applied – as with facebook. Good social media guidelines are characterized not by precise orders, but by practical framework conditions to achieve corporate goals and to ensure respectful personal relations.
Social media as a strategic tool offers plenty of potential to optimize internal communication and to enhance the innovation capacity of a company. There are probably no universal practices, rather every company has to find its own “right” individual path.