Thomas Bayes, an 18th-century mathematician and minister, came up with a theorem that the likelihood of something happen in the future is partly based on how often it happened in the past. On many occasions, business leaders can take comfort in this thought; however, workplace blogging is still fairly new in the early 21st century, making it difficult to estimate the effects of this social media tool. But for the forward-thinking leader, adopting workplace blogs can provide many benefits that help a company improve.
No, you can't post the secrets of the universe in a single blog post, but as Knoll Workplace Research reports in 2011's "Five Trends That Are Dramatically Changing Work and the Workplace" you can use blogs to hook up with employees, customers, suppliers or business partners and gain from their skills and expertise. Blogs alert others of ongoing projects and allow everyone -- regardless of location, function or position -- to collaborate and provide mutual support through posts and comments. This easy communication between sales, research and development, customer service and other departments adds to individual employee knowledge, which ultimately can improve collaboration.
There are lots of reasons blogs can increase productivity. Co-workers can brainstorm to find answers to problems and gather ideas to improve processes, speeding up decision-making. Bloggers and readers can use blog posts, comments and comment ratings to thrash out project issues and discuss ways to increase sales and customer satisfaction. Authors Yan Huang, Param Vir Singh and Anindya Ghose, in the 2012 report "A Structural Model of Employee Behavioral Dynamics in Enterprise Social Media," explain that this online collaboration between departments often boosts the work-related knowledge of the company's readers, improving productivity and satisfaction, and the company's overall performance.
Additional Learning Opportunities
Huang, Singh and Ghose also report that companies such as IBM, Google and Charles Schwab support employee blogging to allow employees to swap ideas and become more familiar with a variety of topics. Blogs allow employees around the world to share their know-how, which could lead to increased innovation and the development of new products or services. For example, a programmer in IT might blog about a particular Python programming language problem, and teammates and other employees learn more by posting remarks and questions to the original blog post. Companies can encourage workers to join in this kind of knowledge-sharing by recognizing and rewarding the employees' participation at evaluation time.
Added Marketing Opportunities
Companies can save money by using blogging as an effective marketing and public relations tool. For example, social media links and the interaction that result from blogging count for a lot in search engine rankings. As a result, Google ranks blogs higher in its search results than static pages, so a blog can increase a company's visibility and its brand recognition. Through the blog posts, a company can also connect with its customers and suppliers to share information about products and offerings, generating leads for future business.
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