Cnet posted a story on the analyst keynote delivered at Gartner Symposium last week Gartner: Loosen up on social networks, security which received many thougthful comments. Here is some additional detail related to the talk:
• Social media is a new and emerging communication channel. Enterprises will make the decision to utilize, resist or ignore it in the workplace. But opting to resist or ignore it is a decision – one that shuts your organization off from valuable insight.
• Work is a collaborative activity and humans interact as social beings during work. Few, if any, jobs can be completed without the involvement of collaborators so ‘greasing the skids’ of relationship-making and maintenance is essential for performance.
• An employee wasting time on social media is a performance problem. Don’t blame it on social media. Productive employees are too busy with work to spend lots of time in social media having personal conversations. Instead, they use social media as a means to get their work done. Check out any of the Gartner groups on LinkedIn – you will see they are clearly work-related conversations.
Social media is an additional communication channel that augments others such as the phone and email. It offers a new source of information and, perhaps, insight. I’m talking about the opportunity to actively seek information in realtime, as well as to mine collected information for new ideas and perspectives. As an analyst, I can continually monitor what’s being said in social media such as Twitter, facebook and LinkedIn about topics and issues relevant to my research. For other ideas, see Jeff Mann’s research Four Ways in Which Enterprises Are Using Twitter
Work is a collaborative activity. Today people work on 8 – 15 projects at any point in time. They are constantly switching contexts and needing to create or re-establish work relationships. Social profiles give people the opportunity to find out about the expertise of colleagues and ‘get to know them’ even before they meet. They can shorten the ‘mating ritual’ that occurs as a new team forms and allow fellow workers to stay in touch with each other.
Researchers at UCLA found brain experiences the workplace first and foremost as a social system. To read the article on their work, see Managing with the Brain in Mind
Researchers at Harvard Business School found that team familiarity is positively related with team performance. To read the working paper, see Team Familiarity, Role Experience and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services
An employee wasting time on social media is a performance problem, not a social media problem. Dealing with performance issues head-on is uncomfortable. An employee who is not carrying their weight demoralizes the whole team. I once had to fire a guy who came into the office, opened up the newspaper and sat reading it all day. Today, he might have spent all his time on facebook, but he still would be underperforming.
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