Companies have sought to communicate better, create corporate social networks, but also report information or new ideas that could open new perspectives. Social networks in business have flourished in many large companies that intend to use this mode of collaborative exchanges to create fruitful interactions. Are these internal company social networks useful and effective?
Internal social networks?
Online corporate social networks aim to share information between members of the same company. They allow employees to create a profile, subscribe to other profiles and share information with all their subscribers who are internal to the company. However, corporate social networks can only be used by a limited number of people, which is all employees.
58% of large French companies already have a corporate social network and 26% plan to develop one within their company. These intra-company networks seem to be gold for sharing knowledge and resolving operational issues within teams. But, in the companies where they are installed, the enthusiasm goes against that of networks outside the company: only 25% of managers use them and this rate is even lower in teams.
In an online survey and 54 interviews, Jean Pralong Professor of HRM, holder of the chair “HR & CSR Intelligence” Y BDO, the 5th largest auditing and consulting network in the world, conducted with 1,206 respondents, of which 32% belong to companies with more than 5,000 employees, provides us with a fine and detailed analysis of internal social networks in companies. JournalduCRM.com Survey
Why business social networks?
According to Jean Pralong “a large company is a large bureaucracy, that is, a system of nested hierarchies where everyone has a leader, must report to him and is evaluated by him. Organizations that, ultimately, are built to look up or down but never sideways. »
However, the results of the study show that instead of sparking connections between individuals from various teams, corporate social networks overlap existing hierarchical channels. The virtual structure of corporate social networks is almost identical to that of the hierarchical organization: managers create groups of which their teams are mostly members. Few employees come to contribute or even join virtual groups that are not created by their own manager. »
What are the difficulties?
Nowadays, companies need to integrate collaborative exchanges. Online social networks are therefore an opportunity, but they face obstacles such as hierarchical relationships, fear of being observed or being disloyal to the boss or the team. It is difficult to establish rules that allow employees to express themselves freely because employees obviously fear repercussions on their careers and relationships with teams.
What are the characteristics of the constituted groups?
46% groups have been created by administrators
76% of group members belong to the team of the admin who created the group
87% of contributors belong to the team of the creator manager of the group
However, they assume the hierarchical organization of the company. Relations are then built according to a mode of bureaucratic coordination and not as expected from collaborative work with new ideas.
What can we expect from social networks?
For employees, corporate social networks are obviously opportunities for visibility: publicizing one’s missions and successes on one’s personal page, creating or contributing to thematic groups allows them to exist in a hierarchical system that leaves little room for “expression”.
For the companies, Corporate social networks make it possible to generate innovation and creativity and fight against bureaucracy in a world that has changed all these parameters and will continue to evolve: connect employees who face the same difficulties, share experiences and pool solutions and initiatives.