Enterprise social networks are not fun if not used to work

A few feeks ago I was interviewed about enterprise social networks, especially abou the new dynamics they bring within organizations. The point was the “festive” feeling they can bring in people’s day to day jobs. The article the journalist started from was this note from British Telecom : “Social Networking : Time to ‘Party On’“.

Even if I agree with the substance, and I think everyone who has the least experience in this field would do the same, I think we have to be careful about a possible first degree understanding that may cause many misunderstandings and don’t help things to improve anything.

New dynamics and new ways to engage people

The fact people use social networks as a daily business tool (I really mean business, gettig things done…) dramatically change their everyday worklife (I can testify). At least they will use them to fluidify their daily tasks with increased resultst for those who’ll go deeper in the approach and take benefit of that to open themselves more to what is not is their traditional human perimeter.

No doubt that having the relevant informations and people at their disposal brings a true added value in their work and makes it possible to do or get involved more easily in many things. Even things they never would have thinked about before.

No doubt that these dynamics that makes it possible to integrate in a whole, develop connections and make feel being a part of something and not being a number in a directory anymore have positive impacts on work, engagement and motivation. These levers have always been effective but their importance increases with the new generation that is now coming in the workplace.

Be careful of the “party side effect” and the way it may be understood.

I heard it many times in many companies : the “party on” effect is very confusing if not disturbing for common managers.

First, and evenu if the image is relevant, it may be shocking for many people. Don’t forge we’re going to work to suffer and the concept of pleasure is irrelevant at work : if you have pleasure, if you enjoy doing your work, it means you’re actually not working. You can call this being narrow minded or complaint about the cult of appearance (I’m austere so I’m a good professional), fact are there. One day, I’ll have to be taught how to create engagement through suffering without considering masochism as a criteria for recruitment.

But facts remain : it’s hard to make decision maker suscribe to this point of view, even if there are many other arguments. Most of all in a period when communicating about what’s going well seems to be politically uncorrect and idecent.

Second because things don’t happen exactly this way. This big qualitative improvement is the consequence of an approach, not its primary goal. if you think that the party will start only because the tools are there you’ll be disappointed. Your party will be a real flop.

Employees have neither the will nor the time to chatter and create links among them for pleasure. Companies must not fear such kind of behaviors except if they themselves do everything to take away people’s longing for work. In the other hand, if social tools are useful and used for people’s day to day job, employees will realize that the so-called tools bring something more than their utilitarian purpose and they will start to free themselves and create social link.

The human, social and playful side only appears when it’s carried by something that makes sense in a work context : work himself. So it’s essential to give your 2.0 tools a kind of business sense, make them a part of the daily work and workflows in order to make them have any impact on motivation and engagement.

Enterprise social networks don’t have the same calling as general public social networks. But we already knew that.

That said, let’s enjoy this good slideshow, still from BT.

[slideshare id=1041711&doc=employee-engagement-conference-1234957232624211-2]

engagement, Entreprise 2.0, Management, motivation, réseaux sociaux professionnels, réseaux-sociaux, Ressources Humaines

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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