Increasing productivity is a primary goal for most senior executives – especially with knowledge workers. Everyone knows that time is money, and executives know that they are losing money when their workers have a loss in productivity.
The average knowledge worker spends approximately 28 percent of their time managing e-mail, which slows down collaboration. Everybody has experienced the confusion when different versions of the same document fly around from mailbox to mailbox or when some people are kept in the loop and others aren’t.
Workers also spend approximately 20 percent of their time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks – which hinders them from completing projects.
Social collaboration tools help improve productivity by eliminating the use of email, and organizing information in a central, searchable database that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere.
Faster access to expertise brings real productivity gains
Social networks can significantly reduce the time spent hunting internal expertise. The “does anyone know” question gets answered in a fraction of the time that it would via email. According to a study by Nucleus Research Inc, adding social capabilities to CRM systems increases sales staff productivity by an average of 11.8 percent. Customer queries are resolved faster, more accurately and with fewer staff.
Building a knowledge base – organically
When companies use social media internally, messages become content. This searchable record of knowledge can, according to McKinsey & Co, reduce the time employees spend searching for internal information by as much as 35 percent. This is a shift away from knowledge creation by designated intranet editors, which results in woefully out of date intranets.
Bringing remote workers into the fold
Today, teams are spread across the globe. Some people work from home, some work on the move. Remote and mobile work is here. Many managers say the biggest challenge with remote workers is maintaining consistently good communication. Social tools lower the threshold for communication – all those quick questions you wouldn’t send via email get a quick answer via collaboration tools. Social tools are the next best thing to actually sitting next to a colleague. And if you return from your travels you really don’t want to wade through a sea of emails to get an idea of what’s been going on – you want to glance and get back to work as quickly as possible.
What this means
If you think about what even a small productivity gain can do in, say, a 100 person department, with an annual cost of 60K per employee you start to realize the scale of the opportunity. A 5% productivity gain would save a over a quarter million dollars per year.