A Gallup report recently found that a whopping 85% of employees are not engaged at the workplace. This implies massive productivity losses and something all companies are now taking very seriously.
As executives look for solutions, collaboration tools emerge as one of the frontrunners, especially as they have been designed keeping productivity and teamwork in mind.
However, many companies hesitate to implement these tools, or upon implementation, don’t see desired results immediately. This often results in them abandoning the idea of collaboration tools altogether.
A major reason behind this is that many companies begin buying into common cliches about collaboration tools. As a result, they begin to have certain pre-conceived notions that ultimately prove counterproductive.
It’s important to recognize these myths and stay away from them, focusing purely on effective implementation.
In this article, we discuss some of the most common myths about enterprise collaboration platforms and how you can avoid them.
What is an Enterprise Collaboration Platform?
An enterprise collaboration platform is basically a software that enables teams to collaborate with one another and become more productive.
Communication is one of the key features of these tools, whether it’s text-based, audio or video conversations. Collaboration tools also enable the integration of various other apps that enhance productivity and improve engagement.
These include file-sharing apps, reward systems, polls, virtual meetings and so on.
Over time, enterprise collaboration software has really made a place for itself in most organizations.
Companies like Slack are valued at $17 billion and other collaboration tools like Trello and Asana are not far behind.
Top Myths About Enterprise Collaboration Platforms and How to Avoid Them
Implementing a collaboration tool just doesn’t give any ROI
Most executives are used to looking at every decision from the perspective of its immediate impact on the bottom line.
If something does not directly bring significant ROI (Return on Investment), they will usually drag their feet on implementing it.
A major cliche that surrounds enterprise collaboration platforms is that the ROI from implementing such a tool is not definable and therefore there is no guarantee that it even exists.
As a result, most executives hesitate to spend a huge upfront or monthly expense on collaboration tools.
One way to avoid this cliche is by understanding that the ROI from a collaboration platform will not be immediate or direct.
Any ROI will only come indirectly through increased productivity and better collaboration. The first step is to find metrics that will help you measure this ROI so that you know you’re on the right track.
Secondly, many collaboration tools actually have free trials that are feature-rich. With tools like Gridle, for instance, you get a free trial that allows you to see the benefits of the tool.
Once you’re able to see the potential of using a collaboration platform, the decision to implement will become a lot simpler.
An enterprise collaboration platform has a very steep learning curve
One of the major myths associated with enterprise collaboration tools is that they are extremely complex and require a long training period.
Executives worry that this training time will distract employees from their actual work. This is usually because executives look at a collaboration tool as just another kind of enterprise software, and most enterprise tools are extremely complex and require significant investment in training and learning in order to become truly effective.
It’s important for executives to understand that a collaboration tool is fundamentally different from enterprise software in its design.
The first step for a collaboration platform is to encourage more communication, which then leads to better collaboration and more productivity.
In order to encourage communication, most tools tend to keep the interface as simple as possible.
Most of them are designed in a manner that is similar to social networking sites which makes getting hooked to the tool very easy in the initial days.
While formal training is always a good idea, it’s important to remember that the learning curve is fairly straightforward and most employees will be able to begin using the tool almost immediately.
Deploy the collaboration tool and everything else will follow
This is the other extreme of the previous cliche. There’s a group of leaders who look at a collaboration tool as the only thing they need to improve collaboration and productivity within the company.
They feel that as long as the tool is implemented, everything else will get sorted immediately and no more work will be required to achieve desired results.
These are the kind of unrealistic expectations that lead to immediate disappointment. When things aren’t immediately hunky dory once the tool is implemented, people start blaming the tool and tend to give up on collaboration platforms altogether.
It’s very important to remember that a tool is just that; it’s only a means to a solution and not the solution itself.
You need to have other important elements in place — from a supportive culture to a proper collaboration strategy, an execution plan, and a clear understanding of the problems the tool will solve.
Without these, the tools themselves will be unable to bring about the deep-rooted change that is needed.
An enterprise collaboration tool comes with too many risks
There are two major risks that enterprise collaboration tools are associated with. The first is the lack of privacy.
People believe that sharing sensitive and confidential company information on a
collaboration platform carries the risk of data being compromised.
The other risk that people assume comes with collaboration tools is that it will become an avenue for people to actually waste their time on frivolous communication.
When it comes to the privacy concern, there are several measures that can be taken, including self-policing the network, that can easily address this issue.
As far as time wastage through collaboration tools is concerned, this is more of a mindset issue than anything else.
If people are determined to waste time, they will find other avenues as well. It doesn’t negate the overall benefits of the tool in any way.
Only employees who are close to each other will use the tool to communicate
Leaders think that because a collaboration tool hinges on communication, it is likely to work only for colleagues who are already close.
In other words, it will be effective in cases where employees already know each other well, but it won’t improve collaboration between diverse teams and employees.
This simply isn’t true because collaboration tools are much more than just communication tools. They are designed in a way that organizes and encourages collaboration across teams and even geographies.
Online collaboration tools work great when teams and departments are geographically dispersed and don’t have enough interaction with one another outside of the collaboration platform.
Collaboration in an enterprise is not a new concept. For decades now, executives have designed and executed plans that facilitate collaboration between employees, thereby enhancing overall productivity in the organization.
It has to be remembered that an enterprise collaboration platform is simply an enabler in the overall journey of improved team collaboration.
It is a tool that enables these principles and strategies of collaboration to be executed seamlessly across the organization.
The tool will only be effective if it is implemented in the right spirit. Executives need to avoid all the extreme cliches — from unrealistic expectations from a tool to extreme resistance to its overall potential.
Would you like to share any more myths attached with using collaboration tools. Feel free to share in the comments.