As I’ve written before, team collaboration tools—also called enterprise collaboration software or enterprise social networking—offer incredible benefits. For evidence of this, you need only look at a recent Forrester study that found Workplace by Facebook to offer an ROI of 400%. According to the study, an investment of $2.6 million could provide quantified benefits over three years of $13.1 million. And companies could start seeing this substantial return on investment in as little as three months.
Now, while these numbers are undoubtedly impressive, it’s worth pausing to consider the actual reasons behind this 400% ROI. How do team collaboration tools change the work environment in such an impactful way? In my opinion the following three reasons are exactly why work collaboration tools substantially improve the workplace.
1. Team Collaboration Tools Improve Communication
Forrester's Total Economic Impact study of Workplace found that the platform makes communication much more efficient compared to traditional email. With Workplace, it takes 34% less time to update frontline workers with important information.
“There are several positive impacts on frontline workers through more seamless interactions with HR, peers, and management. The ability to find and share information within groups, provide real-time feedback through features such as Chat and Live Video, and engage with colleagues virtually, all increase the speed to turn around queries and get access to information,” the study says.
Interestingly, Forrester found that this improved communication can ultimately result in a 10% increase in revenue per customer. How so? As communication improves, the time it takes to respond to customer queries is greatly reduced—which results in happier customers who are more willing to engage with the organization.
Another Workplace communication benefit is that it also cuts leadership communication costs by as much as 25%. “A common comment [among companies surveyed] was that it enabled the executive team to feel more connected with its employees,” says Forrester. “In several cases, organizations had undergone a leadership change and the new leadership team was looking to introduce and connect themselves to its employees. While previously, they may have conducted a roadshow to individual offices, the ability of Workplace, particularly the Live Video feature, enabled senior leadership to connect as well as solicit employee feedback in real-time, without having to incur the typical costs associated with an onsite event.”
2. Enterprise Social Networking Streamlines Collaboration
Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, one of the biggest benefits of team collaboration tools is that they make it much easier for teams to collaborate. Forrester found that Workplace by Facebook can increase task efficiency by 20% and also reduces the time it takes teams to make decisions by 20%. This is largely due to the fact that it takes less time to schedule meetings and arrange follow-up activities.
“By ensuring that the most up-to-date and relevant information is shared through a Workplace group (with that group being accessible to employees), there is a reduction in the time required for follow-up activities. One organization noted the ability to both upload notes during a meeting and share an agreed-upon set of next steps in real-time. Based on the data from the Workplace interviews and survey, we can calculate the impact of Workplace during a meeting (average 8% productivity improvement) and the improved time to decision making (19.5% improvement),” says Forrester.
When it comes to collaboration, enterprise social networks are also great at getting rid of those endless email strings that obfuscate and confuse.
“When work gets busy, communication can get messy. Email threads pile up, filled with one-word responses, missing attachments, and an ever-expanding list of people to CC,” argues the Slack Blog. “The next time you’re working on a proposal, sales pitch, or really anything that requires help from a whole bunch of coworkers, organize that chatter in a new channel. It’s the easiest way to loop everyone in—and best of all, you don’t need to reply-all to bring in a new set of eyes.”
3. Enterprise Collaboration Platforms Strengthen Culture
In the area of company culture, team collaboration tools are great at increasing openness and transparency, and facilitating meaningful employee engagement.
“Workplace can have a profound impact on the culture of an organization. Interviewees often used words such as “transparency,” “openness,” and phrases such as “one company,” when asked about the key Workplace benefits,” says Forrester. “Furthermore, the Workplace survey data showed that organizations agree: employees feel closer to their teams and organization; employees are more encouraged to express themselves; and leadership is better able to recognize employee achievements.
Although it can be difficult to place a dollar value on the cultural benefits of any workplace intervention, Forrester found that Workplace by Facebook can increase employee retention and onboarding efficiency in clearly-quantifiable ways—a 10% boost in retention and a 24% improvement in onboarding.
“Several organizations noted the tie between employee engagement and employee satisfaction, providing employees with a voice to be heard across the organization. One large travel company told us, “The recognitions group has really boosted employee engagement.” Another highlighted how Workplace, “Surfaces many of our unsung heroes”’ states Forrester.
“A stronger and more identifiable culture can improve the onboarding experience of new employees,” continues the study. “For example, several organizations noted a positive impact of Workplace on the onboarding process, from using Workplace to engage with potential recruits through a group, accessing welcome and how-to videos and content, to engaging new hires with Workplace Live Video and Chat. New employees can also become familiar with projects or clients faster by having easy access to files, relevant chat conversations, and links. By having new employees more engaged and understanding the overall mission of the organization, there is an additional positive effect on the overall onboarding process.”
Like Workplace by Facebook, Slack also touts the benefits of enterprise collaboration platforms on onboarding and engagement. Whether it’s using an app integration to survey employees and offer rewards, or making new employees feel welcome and well-prepared through dedicated channels, team collaboration tools are great at connecting individuals and making them feel part of something larger.
“In the old days, new employees were welcomed with a welcome video (complete with awkward acting by the executive team) or a stack of printouts—or, worse, with no real onboarding process at all,” says the Slack Blog. “That won’t cut it these days. A lousy process is bad news for the employee, and when you scale it up across a workforce, it could be disastrous for the company. That’s because while great onboarding is about maximizing employee experience, it’s also about optimizing for business outcomes—things like productivity, performance, and, ultimately, profit.”
Given the benefits of work collaboration tools, no company can afford to ignore these fast-growing technologies. Not only can they replace inefficient email strings when it comes to internal communications, but their integrations and capabilities also allow your to streamline labor-intensive processes like onboarding and employee engagement.
Looking for help with the implementation and risk management of team collaboration tools? Pagefreezer assists companies with the monitoring, collection, and archiving of enterprise social networking data to mitigate risk, prevent data loss, and enforce communication policies. Our experts will be happy to discuss your particular needs.