The Rise and Fall of the Enterprise Social Network : 3 ways to improve and drive engagement

Have you ever logged into your Enterprise Social Network (ESN) and felt like you’re joining somebody else’s conversation? Well you’re not alone! We often find that the same group of people post, share and comment, but the majority sit back and watch the ongoing conversation flow.

When ESNs were first introduced, businesses pounced on them as the solution to their communication and collaboration challenges and implemented them without the necessary cultural change to make it a success. The majority of companies, although they may not like to admit it, don’t have a culture of open and honest sharing throughout. A lot of staff are happy to stay on the sidelines and get on with their day to day role without being thrust into the limelight which comes with additional responsibility and accountability. This has led to ESNs becoming ghost towns. What was once the answer to all problems is now another expensive and underused tool, especially as there is often limited access for non-desk workers.

Back in 2012, Microsoft purchased Yammer, an Enterprise Social Networking company for $1.2bn, just five years later, Microsoft decided to kill Yammer’s stand-alone Enterprise plan and move customers across to a different subscription plan, proving that on their own, ESNs probably aren’t the miracle cure that will solve all communication and engagement issues.

So how do we drive engagement? How do we instil these cultural changes that will lead to a more collaborative workplace? Here are three ideas for you to try out:

  1. Use current behaviours to help drive change. According to a study by Asurion, we check our phones every 12 minutes. This suggests that delivering content to a platform that is mobile-first will allow your team to access it on the device that they use most. With 70% of people working away from the office at least 1 day per week, we have to rethink the way that we communicate with our co-workers.
  2. Set permission levels to stop information overload. Some of the negative reviews of ESNs are that there is a huge quantity of information that isn’t particularly relevant to the vast majority of staff. This can be easily avoided with the use of OurPeople’s “Smart Tags”. Cut down on the noise, improve on communication and collaboration.
  3. Ensure that your platform is multi-use. As Microsoft learned with Yammer, an ESN isn’t particularly useful on its own and often needs a suite of products behind it to deliver value. Finding a platform which is multi-use allows you to overcome challenges further reaching than communication. For example, alongside communication, OurPeople is helping our customers to improve their Operations, Engagement, Personal Development and more.

With OurPeople, your team are able to communicate and collaborate without tasks getting lost in the noise. Smart Tags make it easy for you to broadcast content to relevant employees straight to their device of choice. Our micro-learning platform enables staff to better digest and engage with your course content allowing for a better and more consistent approach to learning & development. Get feedback through surveys, quizzes and more at the tap of a screen. The ESN is a thing of the past, OurPeople is the future.

Try a demo for yourself

More stories from OurPeople customers

Find out more

Get a demo