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January 9, 2020

There is a saying, “When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.” Through employee collaboration at the digital workplace, employees become more empowered, integrated, engaged, educated, skilled, and knowledgeable, which in turn improves their overall productivity, efficiency and generates a circle of knowledge. A collaborative workplace naturally creates a culture of respect and cultivates a sense of community within an organization, where employees feel like they are part of a big family. They feel recognized and motivated as they can interact with the higher levels in the hierarchy and share their views and ideas freely, which gives them a sense of satisfaction at workplaces.

In today’s age, effective collaboration is increasingly achieved via intelligent workplace collaboration tools. When working on a project, an individual often needs inputs from other employees. By collaborating with others − different departments or even different offices, skills can be pooled to make the project more successful than it might otherwise be.

Over the past couple of years, organizations have been designing intelligent workplace collaboration tools to create personalized experiences for their employees. Collaboration tools include a broad range of functions, from instant messaging to company intranets to document collaboration to knowledge bases, forums and user groups.   These tools definitely improve access to the people and information and enable faster and more accurate execution of work in the organizations.

Following are the benefits of social collaboration tools at workplace:

  • Smooth experience of employees onboarding process
  • Job aspirational posts/feeds which will help the recruiter to close the open positions through internal job posting (IJP)
  • Learning and knowledge sharing
  • Social appraisal and feedback
  • Enterprise-level employee’s social profile
  • In-built algorithm logic to measure the overall exposure level which can be used in promotion, succession planning, and career development as an important parameter
  • Dedicated focus groups like communities, groups and teams to interact with
  • Improved communication with the leadership
  • Enhanced employee experiences
  • Self-help and peer help within the organization
  • Self-development and discovery
  • Sentiment analysis of the employee
  • The more people collaborate, the more productive they are. Employees with diverse skills come together to work on a task with social collaboration tool
  • Mutual respect, understanding, trust, skilled leadership, appropriate cross section of the employees
  • Appropriate pace of development, flexibility, transparency, establishment of informal relationships and communication links 

These days, AI-enabled collaboration tools have the potential to speed up the discovery of new ideas and lead to improved outcomes for teams working together at different locations. Also, cognitive intelligent machine learning model will help to do text analysis of any feed within the collaboration tool to find if the content of the feed is positive, neutral or negative/toxic in nature. This will help to control the content of the social platform and remove the content, which is toxic in nature.

In spite of all the benefits, cloud-based collaboration technologies can invite serious security and governance challenges. As companies enable workers to access data from any location, and on any device, they depend on a cloud-based system. Therefore, they need to ensure that this cloud-based content is secure.

Using a structured approach to the adoption of social collaboration is one way to give the culture change and transformation the best chances of success. There are certain adoption steps to get our social collaboration transformation on a good footing for the future. The steps are as follows:

  • Align organizational vision with employee collaboration/engagement strategy at enterprise level
  • Show the leadership commitment
  • Develop an employee engagement program to drive awareness, confidence and energy about the enterprise social network
  • Encourage progressive refinement of the functionality being implemented in the whole process

There is employee collaboration at the digital workplace which is evident in activities such as content posts, chats, document sharing, communication addressing the employees of the organization, CXO’s corner, events, one on one connects within the employees, article sharing, blogs, and quick posts for self-help that are required to drive a culture of openness at all levels, trust and shared vision. I believe that social collaboration is necessary for every business. It will gradually become an employee empowering tool that will motivate employees to work with you, create value with your clients, and ensure the transparency and authenticity required for success in the new world. There are software providers in HR industry who have already started to bring AI and ML to the collaboration tools. Using natural language commands, soon we will be able to experience intelligent and human-like conversational interfaces for the applications and devices. As the amount of data in the workplaces continues to grow exponentially, AI capability through speech and messages is all set to drive the future of work.

Tuhin Tah is the co-head of Innovation and Product Engineering group within TCS Platform Solutions. He is responsible for multiple product engineering and build initiatives covering new functional modules, major product enhancements and innovations. In his career of over 19 years (last 8 years with TCS), he has worked in various domain and technology consulting and senior architect roles for large application deployments, SAP HR and payroll implementations and product development. He has also worked as Global Head – Sales and Pre-Sales in the Platform Solutions unit. He holds an MBA in HR from Utkal University, Bhubneshwar(India), a master’s degree in Economics from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (India).


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