5 Enterprise Social Networking Tools to Boost Communication

By Doug Sabiston
November 30, 2015
4 min read
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Summary: Discover 5 enterprise social networking tools built-in to your intranet that improve internal business communication and collaboration such as, Status Updates, Employee Profiles, Employee Milestones, and more.

Internal business communication has made great strides in the past few decades. Gone are the days of inter-office mail, photo-copied newsletters, and cluttered bulletin boards. These days, communication channels aren’t even limited to email and video conferencing. Technological advances have revolutionized the way people communicate in the workplace.

Social media is at the heart of this trend. But this isn’t the kind of social media your kids use. These are enterprise-level tools that empower your workforce to connect and collaborate in ways never before possible. Such rich communication channels allow employees to interact with colleagues from other departments or offices they otherwise normally wouldn’t, which is especially true for virtual teams or offices that are geographically distributed.

As social creatures, we need more than just the impersonal contact information provided by an employee directory. Hearing another’s voice over the phone usually isn’t even enough. Many of us need to put a face to a name, and a personality to go along with it.

But don’t worry about falling behind and missing out on all this social media goodness because Intranet Connections has you covered. Here is a summary of some of the Enterprise Social Networking tools available on your business intranet. Feel free to experiment with them and get a feel for what fits in best in your company’s culture.

1. Status Updates

Status Updates are a great way for employees to let others know what they’re working on or their whereabouts within the office. Busy in meetings all day? On a ski vacation with the family? Closing a deal with a big client? Employees can keep others in the loop by keeping current with their status. Status Updates also enable employees to set future statuses, for example, if they know on Monday that they will be out of the office the following Friday, they can set their status to automatically update on Friday.

2. Employee Profiles

The Employee Profiles widget can display Employee Profiles anywhere on the site, such as the home page or Department Site. You also have the flexibility to display Employee Profiles based on some type of criteria.  For example, you want to display only employees with an anniversary in the last seven days, or maybe you want to show them randomly. An employee will feel special seeing their profile featured on your intranet, and it’s a great way to get others to learn more about their colleagues.

3. Message Boards

Message Boards (similar to a Facebook Wall Post), allow employees to share just about anything, from good news to recent accomplishments. Message Boards are public and can be viewed by anyone who has access to your profile. Here, employees can express their personality and give others a feel for who they are. Other employees can also post to your Message Board, or leave a comment on a post. Anyone can add or remove something from their Message Board, whether they have intranet admin rights or not. There is also the option to mark a post as a favorite and view them through the My Favorite Posts link.

4. Follow Colleagues

The Follow Colleagues feature allows employees to select colleagues they wish to follow, enabling them to view colleague activity and see which colleagues are following them. Follow Colleagues can be other employees in the directory they work with often, need to contact regularly, or view their profile frequently.

Added colleagues can be added and followed, then listed under the colleague activity link. If an employee you follow posts to your Message Board or another area of the site, you will see this activity in the Colleague Activity section.

5. Employee Milestones

Display important Employee Milestones, such as birthdays or work anniversaries, anywhere on your intranet site.  This helps employees celebrate one another by reminding them of important milestones and providing an avenue to send celebratory greetings.

Not everyone necessarily wishes to advertise their age or how long they’ve been with the company, so you can simply hide the year. After all, the day and month are all coworkers really need to know when to surprise a co-worker with a birthday cake or anniversary card.

Enterprise Social Networking Improves Collaboration

These 5 enterprise social networking tools are just the tip of the iceberg. Your business intranet comes packed with a variety of enterprise social networking tools designed to improve internal communication and collaboration. If your organization isn’t fully ready to adopt ESNs, you can disable or enable as many of these features as you’d like.

I’m curious to know what enterprise social networking tools your business uses. Please share with me by commenting below.

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By Doug Sabiston

Doug is a web developer, writer and photographer with a passion for everything digital. He graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, specializing in Web and Mobile App Development, with an additional diploma in Journalism & Public Relations. Prior to Intranet Connections, Doug was a freelance web developer where he developed several web apps. Doug looks forward to growing in web & mobile development with the Intranet Connections team and in his spare time, he tends to his saltwater reef aquarium and temperamental cats.