The emerging workforce is more than ready for social tools that will empower them to transcend hierarchical barriers and collaborate globally
What can a cement company tell us about social business? When one of the world's largest suppliers of building materials needed to innovate quickly, it adopted a web-based collaboration tool that made it easy for employees in all business units and geographies to share and develop ideas. The impact was immediate, with new products reaching the marketplace in record time.
An early adopter of the current generation of social business tools, CEMEX has become a textbook case of business leadership enabled by social technology. Most notably, senior management made a commitment to change traditional practices by opening its deliberations and decision-making to viewpoints and voices that had historically been barely audible. Based in Mexico, and with plants operating around the world, the company was able to engage its global workforce by tapping employees' passion for sustainable building solutions and their readiness to share expertise in local building practices.
Global workforce tend to include a high proportion of young people for whom social tools have long been essential to their personal lives. Industry research shows that it is this younger generation that is well conditioned to work and operates in a more socially-connected world. Young workers and especially the millennial generation today are primed for a work culture that empowers innovation, collaboration and creativity. This emerging workforce is more than ready for social tools that will empower them to collaborate globally, transcend hierarchical barriers, and make meaningful contributions to their work as well as personal lives.
When we talk of India, social business is yet to be fully demystified in the country. There is a growing need to connect networks of people to create business value that should result in a more engaged, transparent and nimble work environment. This is reflected when we look at India's leading paints manufacturing company, Asian Paints. Asian Paints, which had more than 100 offices in India alone, with 700-plus salespeople and managers, wanted to become a leading decorative paints company in the world. To achieve such growth, collaboration and communication is required through collective knowledge, talent and experience of its employees. After a study was conducted, it was seen that collaboration does happen through phone but there was no single, consolidated platform where business leaders could share their expertise and innovative ideas and employees could talk of their challenges.
The company went ahead and adopted a social collaboration software that supplied it with the required social networking features. The idea was to connect people across the organisation with one another and the CEO blog, company user profile contest, communities of interest and one-click widgets among other things. This is finally doing the trick for the company where employees across the globe can now transact and engage with one another to jump-start collaboration.
With India becoming the top three fastest growing Internet markets in the world (Source: Assocham and Comscore), social technology is permeating into businesses like never before. This is an excellent time for small and medium businesses as well as the established ones to push their traditional boundaries and limitations, and innovate and collaborate more productively to create tangible business values.
Humble attitude, capacity to adapt to complex situations make Indian managers much sought-after