I often hear comments like "that's just going to add noise" or "what if someone says something they shouldn't?" These are all genuine and valid concerns, but I believe that the benefits of Social outweigh the risks.
My main argument isn't that they can help harness knowledge and drive collaboration (although they do), but the reason great companies need to get on-board with social is far deeper than that. It's my opinion that organisations that want to attract and retain the top up and coming talent must have both the tools and a strategy for enterprise social for no other reason than the fact that for most of the younger populations of the western world, social media platforms are becoming the defacto way to communicate.
I like to think that I can speak with some experience on this statement being the proud father of 4 girls (2 of them teenagers). I’ve watched them closely over the years and always been fascinated with the way they have adopted new technology, devices and services. I've watched them through the early email and MSN Messenger years, then onto Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and eventually now observe the way they communicate, create and interact with content and friends on multiple Social Media channels. A smart phone or touch devices is most definitely their weapon of choice as they talk to their friends about homework using Facebook instant chat, take pictures of their latest sporting victory and upload them to Instagram and report how they are feeling over twitter. Although we all still rely heavily on email in the workplace, for them it's an outdated antiquated technology that never seems to get used by them or any of their friends.
Based on my years of observations its clear to me that the enterprise must catch-up with the ever evolving wider world and specifically how the next generation are using cutting edge technology to communicate, have their say and get things done. I don't think many people would disagree with me if I said that a large proportion of our workforces today struggle with much more than email. Imagine what an organisation might be like with almost super human information workers that could use technology like Yammer and SharePoint with maximum proficiency and use them in ways we never thought possible to drive collaboration, knowledge sharing and communication.
As a new generation enter the world of work we will see sophisticated, confident, and technology savvy people. Achievement-orientated, radically diverse and with high expectations of their employers. Not only will the next generation workforce make enterprise social a must have mainstream business tool, but they will choose organisations who adopted this type of culture over companies that stay more traditional. This will naturally lead to all the top talent gravitating to companies that have embraced the social agenda and will prove pivotal to business performance and growth.
"Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call