Workstream analytics reveals how collaborative processes are being executed, so analysts can identify where these tools are thriving or struggling. But understanding collaborative behavior is only useful when combined with techniques that successfully change behavior. Turning peer pressure in favor of collaboration, and participation into a game with winners and awards, are emerging as ways to successfully encourage employees to use collaboration tools.
Consider EMC Corp.: Its enterprise social network had grown to 240,000 users, but customers, employees and partners were not using the network as much as hoped. EMC implemented a
program where employees win points for completing tasks, answering questions or doing other work on its social network. Employees receive awards and social recognition for their expertise. The result: a 21 percent increase in total activity.
Rethink the universe of talent
New technologies do more than accelerate old ways of doing things; they make new ways of doing things possible. Over time, collaborative technologies will create new ways of sourcing and using talent. People tend to be regarded as the assets of a department or local group. But collaboration technologies open up the possibility of applying expertise wherever needed.
Crowdsourcing and the social web already enable firms to hand off simple, well-defined tasks to workers outside the enterprise. Twitter Inc. sources thousands of Amazon.com Inc.’s Mechanical Turk users from around the world on a pay-per-task basis to improve how it targets advertising based on trending hash tags.
In the future, these same concepts and technologies will be applied to more kinds of knowledge work. For example, an automotive engineer in Germany who needs help creating engineering drawings could post a request in a company’s internal community site. A retired engineer in Michigan or a young engineer in Europe could offer to help, and receive not just pay but a reputation-enhancing public review for completing the job well. Mechanisms like these can help companies plug skill gaps and enable unemployed or retired professionals to contribute their talents.