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Q&A: how collaboration tools are empowering HR – Geoff Perfect, Workplace by Facebook

1st Apr 2019
Editor HRZone
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illustration showing people collaborating to come up with ideas
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Digital technology is connecting people in ways we never thought possible in the past. In an illuminating Q&A on day one of UNLEASH London 2019, Geoff Perfect, global sales director at Workplace by Facebook, explains how technology is paving the way for organisations to embrace and celebrate the ‘human’ elements of doing business.

Alongside boosting productivity, what benefits can be found in improving the lines of communication among your workforce?

By giving employees a platform to effectively communicate, companies can ensure that people at all levels have a voice.

This has a knock-on effect within a business; employees feel empowered, they share knowledge, utilise internal knowledge and interact with their colleagues.

Collaborative tech also ensures workers feel connected to the company mission, closer to their colleagues and have higher productivity levels.

What are some of the key problems you have seen become solved through better connecting people?

While every company's needs and challenges are different, what they (and even us at Workplace by Facebook) have in common is the want to create purpose-driven communities.

Motivating employees from within and onboarding faster are two small, but mighty steps in improving collaboration across a business.

Our familiar user interface also means there are incredibly low barriers to adoption so users can start collaborating quickly and efficiently.

This, combined with the ability for customers to create their own unique features means they can work to solve their own specific challenges.

80% of workers work on the frontline, so connecting those people with the rest of the organisation is paramount in creating a positive and successful culture.

This can be achieved by creating and building applications through the use of bots that are truly designed for them.

For example, a bot that encourages employees to nominate their colleague for ‘employee of the month’ and then use the platform to celebrate these achievements, can create a supportive and inclusive culture that helps boost employee happiness and retention.

Nurturing a strong, healthy company culture is vital to attracting and retaining great talent and ensuring the purpose and values of the company are understood and adopted by employees. What role can technology play in helping enhance the culture within an organisation?

In the UK alone, we have an increasingly ageing workforce who carry with them a wealth of knowledge and skills.

This, combined with next gen workers, who expect to be able to connect and communicate in ways they do in their personal lives - results in real business value - if connected in the right way.

This can be achieved by implementing a platform like Workplace by Facebook, where employees can speak to whoever they want in the company.

This could be a colleague from another department to collaborate on a project, or even someone in the same position based in another region to share learnings and feedback.

It’s a fact that 80% of workers work on the frontline, so connecting those people with the rest of the organisation is paramount in creating a positive and successful culture.

Employers today are expected to champion diversity and inclusion, and to create a sense of purpose and belonging among their workforce. How can leaders / HR professionals transition towards a more inclusive culture? How can technology help with this shift?

Providing a platform where employees of all positions, ages, genders and backgrounds have a voice should be put at the top of a business’s priority list, especially if inclusivity is a priority.

Diversity and inclusion is not a destination but an ongoing journey. For many workers feeling valued, and in a position to be heard, is crucial if leaders and HR professionals are to build a successful business, where different backgrounds and experiences result in higher quality, competitive outputs.

What happens to the employee experience when organisational silos are broken down and a culture of openness and feedback is encouraged? What positive changes can be seen?

By providing a space where employees can interact, engage and share feedback, businesses can get a better insight to not only what their employees are thinking, but also to how their customers are feeling.

A better recruitment process can be achieved by replacing slow technology with collaboration tools and ensuring existing employees are tapping into their own network to find the best talent.

When you give everyone a voice, ideas can be shared across the organisation to help businesses to continue to learn and grow.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a 25-95% increase in profit - feedback across the board must be encouraged to break down silos and ensure businesses remain competitive.

Finally, how do you envision the collaborative technologies space will develop in the next few years? Will HR keep pace with these changes?

Collaboration technology will help HR professionals drive impact across the entire employee life cycle. This is everything from recruitment through to employee recognition.

For example, a better recruitment process can be achieved by replacing slow technology with collaboration tools and ensuring existing employees are tapping into their own network to find the best talent.

This, coupled with employee recognition, creates a culture where people feel empowered and valued.

When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied 'give recognition'.

Giving praise when praise is due and celebrating achievements not only brings the best out in employees, but also further helps people make connections with those they otherwise wouldn't have.

Want to learn more about what we discovered at UNLEASH? Here are some other pieces you may want to read next:

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