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2 ways better collaboration helps improve employee engagement

By Angela Ashenden posted 02-29-2016 10:08


One of the greatest benefits of improving collaboration within your organisation is the positive impact on employee engagement, but the hype and overuse of both these terms - "collaboration" and "employee engagement" - means that it's not always obvious quite what this means in practical terms. The way I see it, there are two key ways in which a more open, interactive, "collaborative" organisation can lead to more connected, motivated and "engaged" employees - the first is in developing an environment where the employee feels they are valued by the organisation, and the second relates to the opportunities that are open to the individual within the organisation. 

I am not an employee number

One of the biggest opportunities that social collaboration technologies offer is the ability to create - or rather enable - an open, transparent environment where individuals' contributions can be recognised. By making activity visible and centralised, and allowing communications to flow naturally, without having to filter through reporting lines, it's much easier to achieve recognition for your work, skills and experience, both within your immediate peer group, but also in the wider business. This more collaborative environment also allows employees to not just receive the latest communications and news from across the business, but also to respond to them - whether to gain clarification or to provide feedback - and potentially to engage in conversation with people in more senior positions. Of course not all employees will participate to the same degree, but simply providing the opportunity will help to shift the collective mindset.

I need the room to grow

It's unusual these days for an individual to stay in a single job for their entire career, but at the same time organisations need to avoid losing skilled and/or experienced staff since the cost - and often the difficulty - of replacing them can be high. One solution is to attempt to capture their knowledge through a corporate knowledge base, but another is to create an environment where the employee can find new opportunities to progress their career - or even to change roles altogether - without having to leave the organisation. In a collaborative organisation where the boundaries between different parts of the business are removed, it becomes easier to find projects that interest and inspire the individual, but also potentially to find new roles and opportunities elsewhere in the business.


Another crucial piece in this puzzle is in providing a platform to support social learning - helping employees to develop skills and experience in an informal, ongoing way, through interacting with colleagues, seeing what others are doing, and asking questions, for example. Social collaboration tools not only provide a platform for this interaction, but they often also include gamification features that can help to encourage social learning, while also helping to track employees' progress as they develop.


For the organisation itself, a more engaged employee brings a wealth of benefits, including lower retention costs and increased innovation, as well as more generally creating an environment that attracts the best new talent to join. However you look at it, it's a crucial investment to make.


Do you track employee engagement in your social collaboration initiative? How do you measure it? Please leave a comment and let me know!

#socialcollaboration #Collaboration #EmployeeEngagement