With the explosion of social media tools in the workplace the role of Internal Communications is evolving. One of the key roles of Internal Communication has always been to facilitate conversation in business; but as the digital landscape continues to change, it is important that Internal Communications take ownership of the collaboration strategy in business.

The challenges with collaboration are when organic communities start to appear; with no real sense of identity or fit into an overarching conversation. The scope with digital media and social enterprise tools is huge, but unless you take a holistic view you may end up with multiple communities on multiple platforms that collaborate in small pockets, but not necessarily with the right people.

It is a difficult balance; you do not want to discourage people creating organic communities which can become a powerful tool for engagement, but you do want some influence over the conversation.

The answer can lie in the collaboration tools you deploy in your business.

What is the difference between a channel and collaboration tool?

There is very little difference, in fact the lines between communication channel and collaboration tool are becoming more blurred. As the digital landscape evolves employees are engaging more with social enterprise tools such as Yammer (that is a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook) than a company magazine for example.

It is likely that collaboration tools will have far more influence over your employees than your traditional communication channels. So, it is important that it is Internal Communications that really drives your collaboration strategy.

Picking the right collaboration tools

With the evolution of social enterprise tools in the workplace it is easy to try and integrate all of them into your strategy. But there is no need; using multiple collaboration tools will only create a sense of confusion about what to use and when for employees. The real benefit of collaboration tools is to break down silos, and if you try and introduce too many, you may well create some.

For the full article please see the Progressive IC book.

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3 thoughts on “Is it Communication or Collaboration?

  1. Interesting post and agree with your points about having an integrated strategy. collaboration tools like yammer will create a lot of noise in the organisation. Internal comms therefore have a more challenging role in cutting through this to deliver the key messages for the organisation. Both are important to maintain as without strong internal comms, employees will potentially lose points of reference and connection to the vision and values of the organisation.


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