Covid-19 changed where we work but not how we collaborate and communicate.
The pandemic caused a significant increase in the use of social technology for communication and collaboration. However, this technology is still being used for the most basic activities. There has been little shift towards more mature stages of use.
Put simply, we are using social technology more but not better. Even worse, we are using it to replicate many bad working practices.
These are some of the conclusions of this year’s edition of the Social Collaboration Maturity Benchmark Report published by Knowman and OrangeTrail.
Building on OrangeTrail’s Social Collaboration Maturity Model, the two organisations set out to research the type of use and the value of enterprise social tools. The Social Collaboration Maturity Model measures the maturity of the activities performed on social communication and collaboration platforms in 7 focus areas: leaders, internal communications, teams, communities, innovation, support functions, and employees.
A total of 39 organisations from 16 countries across all 5 continents took part in this years’ Social Collaboration Maturity Scan. Together, they represent more than 500.000 employees.
In 2020, 23% of organisations considered social technology a waste of resources or simply a nice-to-have; a similar percentage saw the technology as being extremely useful. After 12 months of working predominantly from home, organisations’ perception of social technology has changed vastly: no organisation considers it a waste of resources, only 7% see it as a nice-to-have, and 41% find it so extremely valuable that work would be impossible without it.
Social platforms can help leaders drive their strategic agenda much more effectively and create more engagement amongst employees. However, very few leaders are aware of these possibilities and not many are stepping up to take advantage of them. Covid-19 did increase the number of leaders online by 12%, but 47% of leaders are not using social technology and continue communicating in traditional ways.
Communications departments are heavy users of social technology and often also own these platforms. However, most internal communication teams use the enterprise social platform to replicate traditional communication formats. Fortunately, there is a growing number of organisations already using the principle of dialogue as a communication instrument. Only 14% of communication departments use the platform in a structured way to influence the organisation and engage employees.
Organisations that use their social platforms well have noticed less negative impact on employee engagement during the covid-19 pandemic. This effect is most prevalent in organisations with more leaders showing a mature usage of the platform.