Are you a people person, or do you prefer to associate with computers and data?
We have all seen it – the workplace is divided between those with “soft” skills (think HR, Management, and Sales) and those who excel in “hard” skills (IT, engineering, and finance).
But really, how often is your job exclusively one or the other?
That’s the basic argument that Susan Scott of UK company Vistage presents in her Youtube interview “What to be Mindful of and how “Fierce Conversations” helps your Business.”
For a full transcript of the interview posted above, Click Here.
Scott says that “hard” and “soft” skills can’t be kept separate if a company is going to succeed. They need to be combined to get the best out of all types of employees. The constant conversation between employees, employers, and customers is what keeps a company going.
But how do you as a manager or a HR representative do that?
Put People in your Technology
There is an app for everything. This does not end with your smartphone – today software and IT developers have recognized that businesses don’t just want an HR element in their productivity platforms, they need it!
Social elements of IT allow you to take the processes that employees go through every day as part of their job, and add an extra level of person-to-person connection. This benefits your company in two ways:
It improves connectivity between employees, departments, managers, and customers
It leads to higher employee satisfaction and dedication to the organization
What does this look like? This means the addition of “social” elements to a business’s standard IT. Microsoft has pioneered some of this Social IT in Office 365, and here are a few examples:
SharePoint got a facelift recently, and one of the major areas of change was the expansion of social elements of the platform.
Elements like the Newsfeed encourage employees to remain connected to one another by posting updates on what is going on in their personal and professional lives. From the perspective of human resources, this takes “water cooler” conversations beyond the physical office, and encourages employees to develop strong connections with both the company and one another.
Yammer, recently added to the Office 365 Enterprise bundle, is the ultimate expression of Social IT.
Yammer is essentially a social network within your organization, which allows employees to collaborate on projects and crowd source ideas. Scott might as well have been describing Yammer when she said
It’s almost like a company gets really good at forming these ad-hoc think tanks within the organization, so that depending on what the issue is, they pull the right people into the room, have the right conversation, and come out the other end significantly wiser and better informed than they were when they went into it.
Yammer helps do what every manager wants. It encourages open conversations between departments, generates unique solutions to problems, and increases employee satisfaction with the organization.
So People Person, what’s your next Step?
There is no escaping it, as technology becomes more powerful more and more work will be done digitally. As a people person, be that a manager, an HR representative, or a salesperson, navigate this change by embracing social IT:
Become familiar with the options and platforms out there that allow you to integrate elements of person-to-person connectivity into daily operations
Read up on case studies – what type of solutions have businesses similar to yours found?
Stay up to date. The technology is always changing, make sure you don’t get left behind!
Office 365 Advisors is a premier provider of Office 365 Consulting and Solutions in the Pacific Northwest. Whether it is staying on top of the latest in social IT, or developing customized SharePoint solutions, we are the industry forefront. For more information on Social IT and Office 365, contact us today!