Definition, benefits, tools... everything you need to know about the corporate social network.
The desire to promote internal collaboration has led to the evolution of internal platforms. One of the tools available is the corporate social network (CSN). It has many advantages, such as adherence to the corporate culture and the valorization of employees.
80% of large companies have already launched their social platform. It looks like they are becoming indispensable. But are social networks really useful in business? What are the benefits? Definition, advantages, uses, we tell you everything about corporate social networks.
What is a corporate social network?
What is a corporate social network?
How is it different from a personal social network?
The corporate social network is a collaborative platform. It respects the same codes as our personal social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. However, these platforms are only accessible internally by the company's employees. Their purpose is to change communication practices and optimize internal collaboration.
Several types of corporate social networks exist, with varying degrees of functionality. All platforms, even the most basic ones, allow you to share information, react to news and use instant messaging. Some go even further by offering project management modules.
With all its functionalities and informal communication, the corporate social network enables :
- Cohesion to be created within the company ;
- Facilitating knowledge transfer;
- Strengthen the corporate culture.
💡 To go further, find out how to create a strong corporate culture
The benefits of the corporate social network
Implementing a corporate social network has many advantages:
Breaking down hierarchical barriers
Communicating via a corporate social network is less conventional and disrupts hierarchical codes. Instant messaging conversations are much less formal than email. They also allow for emotional expression through emojis, GIFs and voice messages. This makes it easier for employees to communicate effectively, regardless of their hierarchical level or department.
💡 To go further, discover our 7 tips to boost internal communication within a Digital Workplace
Passing on knowledge and facilitating project management
Social networks are an excellent way to facilitate the transmission of knowledge. They create links between employees and make it easier for them to connect. Ultimately, this allows employees to develop new skills and to self-train without wasting time looking for information.
And it doesn't stop there.
Some go even further! They facilitate project management with a task assignment and monitoring system.
Corporate social platforms are an excellent way to spread the company's values and develop a common vision. They strengthen pride of belonging and team cohesion.
It is the way to highlight the achievements of employees. And for managers, the opportunity to congratulate their teams publicly. In this way, employees feel supported and can measure their achievements.
How to use corporate social networks? Some examples of uses and tools
In addition to the classic uses, one way of using corporate social networks is to create private conversation groups to exchange on projects. When a new tool is introduced, power users can be added to groups facilitated by the team.
📌 To go further, find out how to create an internal social networking platform without getting it wrong
Another case of use is to create links through groups based on interests. Film buffs, rugby players, hobbyists, travellers... Bring together your employees who share a common passion.
Here are some examples of corporate social networks and their uses.
Yammer, Microsoft's corporate social network
There are various corporate social networking tools. In the Microsoft world, Yammer embodies this function. It allows you to promote exchanges within the organization. By bringing employees together in communities, Yammer facilitates communication between people who do not know each other.
Microsoft has a solution for every communication need. Yammer meets four of them:
- Connecting your business ;
- Share and collaborate with the right people;
- Find the necessary information from the company's experts;
- Connect and engage your entire network, including your field teams.
💡 To go further, discover 5 good reasons to create your intranet and Digital Workplace on Microsoft.
This solution is integrated with your Office suite, which makes it particularly attractive. Indeed, it allows you to rationalize your tools by limiting yourself to Microsoft 365.
Yammer has many advantages:
- Collaborate within the organization itself. How can this be done? Through internal groups, which are open and flexible work spaces. In this way, you bring together the experts on each of the company's projects;
- Create conversations: share your information and updates in discussion streams;
- Import notes and files for which feedback can be retrieved and be notified automatically of any changes and progress.
- Collaborate externally through external messaging. You can add customers, partners and service providers to a conversation;
- External groups: create dedicated external groups for easy collaboration;
- External networks: build external communities to strengthen relationships and engagement;
- Messaging service with two types of messages:
- Priorities: mark and distribute the most important messages and announcements in your groups;
- Direct: receive and reply to private messages between you and your colleagues.
But Microsoft is not the only player in this market. There are other players, such as Facebook, which has capitalized on its expertise to create Workplace.
Workplace by Facebook
You will have understood from this title: Facebook can also be a corporate social network. The company has turned to BtoB. It has been offering Facebook Workplace for 5 years.
Overall, Facebook Workplace looks like the network we all know. This makes the platform simple and accessible to use.
Its promise? To disseminate the corporate culture to all members of your organization. It allows you to :
- Share and highlight information;
- Use the survey to engage the community or gather feedback;
- Communicating via chat and video conferencing;
- Use flowcharts;
- Share documents in groups.
The Talkspirit social network enables information to be shared, exchanges to be made more dynamic and work to be made more fluid.
They offer more than a corporate social network. Unlike Facebook Workplace, it is a fully-fledged collaborative platform. It supports document sharing and collaborative working. The benefits of the platform are numerous:
- Facilitating communication;
- Facilitating collaboration;
- Engaging employees.
Comparison table of features:
*Some features are not provided by Yammer, as these are already covered by Teams. Microsoft's strategy has been not to cannibalise the tools in its suite. Thus, the functions associated with the different platforms on the market globally group together a large number of common functions.
In the end, it is not so much the functions that count, but the way in which they are integrated into the working environment. There may be obstacles to deploying a tool of this type.
Here are our tips for avoiding the pitfalls of using enterprise social networks. The adoption of corporate social networks is not innate and requires a solid change management strategy.
📍 To take it a step further, turn your employees into ambassadors with the "social network wall" feature.
But what are the obstacles to using corporate social networks?
Despite these many advantages, a good take-up rate of these platforms is not a foregone conclusion.
Fear of judgement
Communicating on social networks is not easy for everyone. Employees should not be expected to reproduce the same behaviour as on personal social networks. Indeed, the fear of judgement inhibits speech.
Why this difference?
On private networks such as Facebook, the tone adopted is very informal and not very codified, which is very different from the business world. Writing a message in a professional social network requires a different effort and causes concern among some employees. They see exposing themselves as taking the risk of being criticized. They therefore prefer not to express themselves. Some even see this as a potential hindrance to their career development if one of their publications is badly perceived.
Lack of confidence
Another concern of employees is the lack of trust in these platforms. What happens to their data? Can it be used against them? Will it be used to evaluate their performance?
So how do we ensure that this project is successful?
To avoid missing out on the adoption of your internal social network, you need to reassure and train your employees. First, give them information on how to use the social network and how it works. By setting clear rules on how to use it and guiding them through their first steps, you will reduce the fear associated with using it.
You can also organize training sessions to reassure employees. In this way, you can help them get to grips with the platform. If you do not have the human resources to carry out physical training sessions, you can also make video tutorials available to guide them.
Finally, communicate the benefits of adopting the platform and assure them that they are safe to use it.
👾 To go further, find out how to secure your employees' workstations.
Things to remember
📌Lifts hierarchical barriers;
📌Promotes the transmission of knowledge;
📌 Facilitates project management;
📌 Strengthens the sense of belonging.