A growing number of companies across the world are working to implement internal communications platforms to facilitate employee collaboration. According to research from Gartner, by 2016, 50 percent of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks, and 30 percent of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today.

What may seem like a simple flip of the switch is actually so much more. Gartner estimated that through 2015, 80 percent of social business efforts will not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology.

What does this mean? internal collaboration

Companies today often make the misstep of assuming that employees are so well-versed in the aspects of social collaboration in their own lives, that there is no need for training when rolling out a new platform or any explanation of purpose behind it. In the past, an email is sent from leadership or management referencing this new platform that, more likely than not, no one has heard of, encouraging employees to begin “collaborating.” This usually follows with a few pats on the back expressing what a great job they did. Meanwhile, employees are left with a platform they do not understand the exact need or use for. In the end, the platform is often unused by the majority and both money and time are wasted.

So, how can this fatal approach be avoided?

To start, a simple and immediate need before sharing this type of platform with your employees, is a roll-out plan. All Things IC, cites only 20 percent of internal comms professionals said that they defined what they wanted their internal social network to achieve before it launched. Remember, it’s crucial to define the purpose behind the platform and to align it to your business goals. Here are 4 steps to help get you started.

4 steps to Internal Collaboration Success:

1. Plan and execute

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Why?
  • How do you plan to accomplish this?
  • What does success look like?

2. Training

  • Educate your leadership and get their commitment first. Senior-level buy-in will ensure social is seen as a priority across the business
  • Do not forget to educate the rest of your workforce. These employees will drive the experience and you can’t just rely on early adopters

3. Reinforce Usage

  • Publish articles about innovative uses, noteworthy results and best practices
  • In those cases, give employees credit; find simple ways to recognize active users

4. Measure and Recalculate

  • Take the first few months to identify what’s working and what’s not. Send out a survey and gather feedback on what can be improved
  • Adapt and adjust where needed