Social Collaboration: Building A Competitive Workforce For Tomorrow’s Digital Economy

Roger Noia

The fast-paced progression of our digital world has, without question, transformed the makeup of our workforce. Qualified talent is transcending international borders, allowing more people to work remotely. The rise of the gig economy is empowering freelancers and contractors to match their skills and interests to meaningful work.

As the workforce evolves, training becomes more complicated. Different geographies and departments tend to develop their own habits and cultures around collaboration. Training materials may be siloed, disjointed, and rendered inaccessible for some areas of the business. Learning management applications may not be integrated with back-end data from HR, which limits collaboration, identification of future of leadership, and the potential to make maximum business impact.

How do you onboard, train, and develop today’s workforce without letting costs surge, disrupting operations, and disengaging employees by ripping them away from their professional and personal responsibilities? According the July 2016 commissioned study, The Total Economic Impact of SAP Jam, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP, the answer may be simpler than you think.

Social collaboration drives workforce readiness with 20% less cost

To retain the best talent possible, you must continuously engage them in learning opportunities, starting from day one. Social collaboration takes employee learning to a whole new level – enabling blended, mobile, or online learning events that reduce the need for business travel and limits disruption to productivity. Instructors can initiate and follow-up with participants throughout the learning experience and beyond. Participants can be assigned homework before the training program officially starts, using digital capabilities such as video recordings, pictures, or presentation tools.

Take Marriott International, for example. The global hotel chain was determined to provide training more efficiently across its diverse workforce of more than 200,000 employees. In the past, employees, such as property general managers, would take a two-week course at a designated training hotel in Fargo, North Dakota. Not only did the program pull employees away from their personal responsibilities (for up to a month), but the employee was deprived of being at their property and interacting with their new team. By adopting a social collaboration platform that integrates with their learning management platform, managers can now pursue their training and development plans while giving the hotel property, employees, and customers the attention they need and deserve.

However, this is not where the impact of social collaboration ends. In fact, the Forrester Consulting study reveals that the platform’s capacity to transform workforce development is so far-reaching that HR organizations can save upwards of 20% of their training and onboarding budget. More impressive, when compared to the results of its 2015 study, this approach increased in impact by 7%.

From core to edge, social collaboration transforms workforce development practices

Here are three unexpected ways you can reinvent your workforce development and learning practices with a social collaboration platform:

  • Create a community of practice and sharing. Social collaboration enables the HR organization to automatically add employees to relevant communities based on attributes such as job category, experiences, location, organization, or project. This capability provides employees with an immediate group of peers and colleagues within their discipline that can help them develop, grow, and succeed in their current role and improve their chances for future promotion.
  • Retain young talent. It’s common knowledge that nearly all employees expect collaboration tools to be embedded in their daily work – very similar to our digitally powered home life. And this expectation will continue to grow as Millennials and Gen Z continue to enter leadership ranks. By maintaining a secure, scalable, web and mobile-accessible platform, that can deliver experiences to not only enhance engagement and efficiency, but also pave the way for flexible work options.
  • Build a repository of meaningful training content. Whenever continuous self-learning is encouraged, it’s inevitable to see an increase in content creation and updates companywide. Social collaboration enables business unit leads, hiring managers, and subject-matter experts to collaborate with ease to co-create content, delivering training materials that are all-encompassing of all related roles, processes, and impacts.

The beauty of social collaboration is the creation of a community that allows every employee – from the new hire to the seasoned expert – to connect with colleagues easily in all areas of the enterprise; exchange ideas, experiences, and content quickly; and engage in meaningful learning opportunities on demand. Each of these advantages is significant on its own; however, social collaboration uses each benefit as a building block to amplify the depth and breadth of transforming workforce development practices.

By uniting people, processes, information, and applications, the platform enables better problem-solving and decision-making as employees collaborate to learn and innovate together.

Are you interested in learning more about social collaboration? Check out The Total Economic Impact of SAP Jam, a July 2016 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP.


Roger Noia

About Roger Noia

Roger Noia is the director of Solution Marketing, SAP Jam Collaboration, at SAP. He is responsible for product marketing and sales enablement for our dedicated sales team as well as the broader SAP sales force selling SAP Jam.