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The New Business Model for Corporate Meetings

Beyond • February 11, 2013

Meetings themselves aren’t obsolete – but live in-person meetings are. Today’s employee, from an entry-level position to senior management, is inundated with work and expectations. Stopping what you need to do throughout the day to go and attend an often futile meeting not only depletes morale and dwarfs creativity, it also is an incredible time waster. Meetings are inefficient time wasters. Most meeting content can be shared virtually through email content, slideshow presentations, webinars, videos and more. Allowing employees to access such content at their own leisure and within a reasonable time frame ensures that employees aren’t manipulating their schedule or stopping in mid-project to drag themselves to a watering hole. In a digitally-equipped mobile world, is there still room for the in-person meeting? In-person meetings are designed to meet emotional needs, where rhetoric is matched with non-verbal cues like expression, tone, rate of speech and gestures. These expressive methods are best reserved for when emotional components are needed, i.e. for sales and outreach/partnership efforts. Establishing an emotional connection is not a requirement for communicating with your existing team. Your staff recognizes the workplace dynamics. They’re aware of their responsibilities and expectations and would rather be left to meet them than be obligated to interject their efforts in yet another meeting. In-person meetings need to become the exception rather than the rule. To do this right, your company has to have the right tools in place so your staff is equipped with networking and communication capabilities. A lot companies are also valuing remote teams. Remote teams risk being disconnected from the core office, or the “mothership.” It’s important for these employees to feel just as connected, and for in-office employees to have to opportunity to connect with them – especially if there’s a need for information exchange or room to gain more knowledge and share resources. The perfect software will let employees feel connected through a familiar and useful and mobile portal. Any must-have meetings can now happen over video conference or presentation slides. With a mobile work force, which is emphasized in sales, meetings really are an outdated method of communication. A company interested in being able to flex and grow should take on software that can meet everyone’s needs. They especially need to consider the needs of in-field agents and remote team collaborations. The best software will offer: An information archive, so team members get access to instant custom-created sales and marketing sheets/case studies. Alerts and pings so team members can stay on top of developments. Social business template or a private social network that mimics popular social media communication tools. The modern company knows that none of its team members need to be in the same room at the same time to get the job done. Less meetings means employees can spend time actually getting things done.

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Private Social Networks: The New Business Social Media

Beyond • January 8, 2013

Big business and small business have one thing in common: they’re not sure about where to draw the line with social media in the workplace. Some companies prefer to keep social media out of a professional business environment, while others think integrating modern tools within a corporate social framework benefits their business. One of the biggest advantages social media brings to the corporate table is that it offers team members a central hub to connect. It’s this feature that companies find attractive when considering whether they should include a business social network to their existing structure. Outside of creating a business social profile and encouraging employees to connect at that destination, there’s a big fuzzy grey line when it comes to creating a distinction between social behavior and professional behavior. Executives and managers can’t really benefit from business social media pros if those pros come with a string of cons attached to their coat tails. Yet, this is precisely the duality business owners are facing when evaluating enterprise social media. Along with the pros come barrages of cons that act as detriments to a corporate community, to efficiency and to progress in the workplace. Take for example the security issues that come with exploring business on the same social channels employees use for personal work. Despite best efforts, managers cannot control transmission of sensitive data and private information. For example, will Susan’s husband or teenage children gain access to the private communications Susan engages in her role as payroll coordinator? Was information privy to her role shared there accessible to her co-worker/friend in the off-hours? There’s no guarantee when you mix social media with social business. Then there’s the issue of content ownership. Who owns the content your employees post on the company’s social network? Imagine your employee frequents Twitter and uses it as a means to communicate with clients and staff. In their five year employment with your firm, they may have amassed a considerable follower list. Now consider what happens to that portal once your employee leaves? What happens to all the data they shared and external resource links they’ve provided? And what if this employee just accepted a role at a rival firm? Many employers are hesitant to weave in social media for these reasons and more. Yet at the same time, leaving a social network out of the workplace can be detrimental; your business cannot move forward if you’re keeping it from evolving with the times. In addition to an extensive list of cons, there’s one that’s often left out and remains completely unrecognized by employers – and that’s what social media was designed to do. While social media offers a connected hub, it was originally designed to keep eyeballs on the screen. Social media promotes consumer behavior patterns rather than a business behavior approach; the latter focuses on increasing efficiency and productivity within a business framework. The right solution is taking a business approach through a private social network. In pulling from the best of social media and filling the gaps where needed, the right private social network provides business-friendly corporate social networking. Instead of inundating activity streams, the solution needs to be focused discussion threads. Instead of generic outreach to all followers, users should be able to reach out to their specific group of followers in need of what you have to offer – or who may have what you need. Social media is great, but for business to get it right there really needs to be a social media designed just for business. Enter the private social network. Instead of being impeded by useless updates and distracting chatter, employees can get in, get what you need and move on.

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