Whether the tools are embedded into a platform you use already or stand on their own, a lot of companies are using social tools to help their employees communicate better. Without a clear goal in mind, though, it can be tough for a company to truly benefit from the addition of these platforms. These are the four common mistakes that managers make regarding digital social tools and ways to maximize their effectiveness.

Assuming Social Tools Alone Attract Young Talent

Managers often use social tools as a way to attract millennials and encourage them to spearhead pioneering these tools in innovative ways. However, young people who have more experience with social media than workplace technologies are actually cautious of mixing their two worlds: social media is for being social and informal, and work platforms are for working and being formal. You can help bridge this gap by setting guidelines for what kinds of formal and informal communication are appropriate and should be visible on your social platforms, clearly explaining what you want to gain from their use, and modeling the behaviors you want to see in your virtual office.

Making Communications Too Serious

Separating business from pleasure can be a tough balance, and employees at all levels will shy away from sharing details of their personal lives on social tools at work. Some companies will even prohibit off-topic conversation on worksites out of fear that it’s a time-waster. The problem with this is that forging informal connections is key to building trust, asking for help, and working as a team. Encourage your teams to connect with one another in friendly ways, and make sure that you take an interest in them and their non-work pursuits as well.

Not Recognizing Small Acts of Learning

Virtual office tools can let employees watch their colleagues from afar and learn new skills, but they might not necessarily know that they’re learning. Passively absorbing information as a reader than producing it is a form of learning. This comes in two forms: direct knowledge, where new information is visible and learned; and metaknowledge, where it becomes clear who has the expertise to accomplish a task. Both are valuable to recognize as a manager. Encourage the use of your social platforms to learn about other projects and solutions in your business and to see what your employees can learn.

Focusing Only on What You See

Communications and behaviors become more visible on internal social tools, which is why they’re so easy to use for collaboration. However, not all of the information you see is important or useful—or at least not equally. Some strengths don’t show up as technical knowledge posts, and some employees can feel undervalued despite their seniority and experience. Again, encourage the use of the platform to share expertise and offer constructive feedback, and stress that coordinated efforts and innovations can save time, money, and stress.

Digital Office Spaces with executivehub

If you’re looking for a home for your virtual office, look no further than executivehub. We offer amenities that can keep your work and home life separate and support all of your business functions. We provide the infrastructure to make your virtual presence possible as well as opportunities to communicate with like-minded people and make some connections you didn’t know were possible. For more information about our virtual office packages, contact us online or by phone at 480.945.8500.

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