The value of Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Yammer
In the last post we covered off the results of an internal review of the features of Workplace by Facebook. In this post we will cover the value that organisations can gain from implementing a corporate social network like Workplace or Yammer. Then in the next blog post, we will discuss other tools that are required to compliment the solutions, in order for organisations to provide a full digital workplace solution.
So, why implement an enterprise social network like Workplace or Yammer?
It’s simple, email is a place where information goes to die. Email is locked to a specific person and works OK as an individual’s knowledge repository, but as such it is not designed to be an all-encompassing enterprise knowledge repository.
You can only search from within your own email client and if you were not on an email thread, then you have no access to that information. Ultimately email is great for personal messages but not for sharing and dissemination of corporate knowledge.
This is one of the key reasons organisations make the same mistake over and over. Essentially they have corporate amnesia, as instructions and lessons learned from previous projects are lost in endless email and any new staff never see this information and therefore repeat mistakes.
It is also the reason that departments get asked the same question over and over again. I have seen people copy and paste the same email response many times a day. I simply cannot fathom why people do not seek a better (and more modern) way to work.
There is a real cost to this lack of information sharing. In most organisations, people ask a colleague for information, they refer them to another person who generally refers them onto yet another person. The third or fourth person in the chain can typically help although a lot of time and effort has been wasted in the process.
This is a real cost to businesses.
McKinsey and IDC research uncovered that the average office worker spends one whole day every week searching for information. Let me put that into context for you.
If you had 1,000 staff (earning an average £35k salary) the cost in salaries alone for the time spent searching for information is £2.45million per year. McKinsey and IDC highlight that a corporate social network, built through social technologies, can improve the productivity of employees by 20% to 25% – in real terms that’s one whole day a week an employee could save.
That is like everyone working six days a week, rather than five. How much could that benefit your organisation? In crude money terms, you could save over £2milion in salaries a year, or save employees over 8000 hours per week!
Workplace or Yammer changes the game here.
Within an enterprise social network, messages are kept and questions and answers are searchable so any new staff or those not on the original thread can find this information. This is known as ‘working out loud’ – if the topic being discussed is not sensitive, then why do you need to have it locked down in email?
Another major benefit of working out loud is that staff are keen to learn more about other areas of the business and can contribute in meaningful ways. Naturally people want to help and if they can provide assistance or commentary they will.
This helps achieve both organisational goals and increases employee engagement as staff feel more connected and involved with the organisation.
Corporate social networks tend to have groups for departments, and also groups that act as communities of interest and communities of practice. This is where information can be shared openly and colleagues can contribute and learn from one another.
Having this open communication and knowledge sharing greatly increases employee engagement as staff can easily post their thoughts and ideas and ‘have a voice’. Employees naturally want to contribute and to help an organisation flourish, although unless the right platforms are in place for idea sharing and collective problem solving, then the people at the ‘coal face’ who can help solve issues and fix problems, often have no way of getting their opinion heard.
Some great examples of this in action are when a large brewery implemented Yammer and one of the truck loaders shared his ideas about how they could load trucks more efficiently by changing the box orientation on the pallets.
This saved the Company over £3 million per year – although when the CFO asked why the chap hadn’t spoken up before, he said he had told his old line manger many years ago although nothing changed so he didn’t bother following up.
The corporate social network gave him a voice where his ideas could be shared, properly aired and debated with a wider audience. Drawing on our own recent experience, we implemented Yammer for Canon, and as a result there were over 20 examples of direct business success resulting from Yammer within months of launch.
The other key benefit I see from implementing Yammer or Workplace is that organisations are able to be more responsive.
Business is becoming increasingly more fast paced and the companies who can react faster, innovate more rapidly and get things done quicker will be the leaders in their sectors.
A well adopted enterprise social network is like having all of your staff located in one big room, where everyone can easily listen in and contribute to relevant conversations. It massively increases the speed and fluidity of communications and makes organisations feel smaller and more friendly.
Essentially, things just happen faster. You get more staff buy-in when ideas are debated or problems discussed on the social network.
For example, we use Yammer at Content and Code: we use it for all our project updates, client stories, business development and marketing. Even sharing and gathering feedback on our monthly reporting is undertaken on Yammer – we are a more connected business because of it.
The social aspect of Yammer massively helps our employee engagement: we use the ‘praise’ functionality to recognise individuals and teams for their great work – which feeds into our star of the month awards.
Benefits of engaged employees
I’ve talked about direct business success and how a social network can help organisations, although let’s consider the benefits of having more engaged employees.
Gallup state that engaged employees are less likely to leave and also contribute more to their jobs, generally going outside of their job description to help. (Take a look at the full report here.)
So what does this mean in real money?
If you had 1,000 staff (earning an average £35k salary and with an industry average attrition rate of 15%) than you would lose and need to replace 150 staff every year. If you were efficient and had quite low costs of only £2,500 to find a new staff member and it took £2,500 to on-board and train them, this would cost your business £750,000 every year.
Gallup state that this can be reduced by up to 51% – that’s a saving of over £350,000 per year, or you would not have the aggravation of needing to find and replace 77 employees every year.
Finally, in terms of employees contributing more if they are engaged, then Gallup ‘s research shows that companies that have engaged employees have up to 27% higher profits than their peers. That is something I am sure any Finance Director, Managing Director or shareholder would be very interested in.
Look out for my next post where I will discuss other tools that most organisations need to provide a full digital workplace solution.
Embrace modern ways of working with an enterprise social network
If you are thinking about enterprise social networks for your workplace, sign up for our free morning event as we take a comparative look at Workplace by Facebook and Office 365 Enterprise.
About our author
CEO and Founder
Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.
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