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Microsoft survey finds that social networking is underestimated or frowned upon in the workplace

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According to a new survey conducted by Microsoft, more than a third of employees surveyed stated that their company underestimates the benefits of social networking technology in the workplace. In fact, nearly half of the respondents stated that their company “frowns on social tools.”

Adam Pisoni, Microsoft’s general manager of Yammer, believes the idea of “social” is shifting from a “nice-to-have tool” to a necessity in the workplace. “As all companies are faced with the increasing pace of change, they need to leverage the power and knowledge of employees more than their current technologies allow. Just as email accelerated business in the 90s, social tools are driving a faster flow of knowledge and information within and across organizations,” Pisoni adds.

Social networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp help consumers connect to each other and share feedback. Now, place social networking in the workplace and you have a modern way of sharing, learning, and organizing internally within a company. As Microsoft states, this allows employees and employers to be much more responsive to consumer needs.

You can check out the study here, but in essence, the software giant surveyed nearly 10,000 employees in 32 different countries. The results found that nearly half of employees use social tools at work and it helps them increase their productivity. However, more than 30% of companies underestimate the value of social networking tools and even restrict their use.

The data also found that 39% of employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplace, while 40% of employees believe social tools will help foster a better teamwork in their workplace. 31% of employees actually stated in the survey that they were willing to spend their own money out of pocket to purchase social tools for their workplace.

The data indicated that men are more likely to blame company restrictions on social networking tools to “security concerns” while women will blame “productivity loss” as the reason why companies will not tolerate social networking tools.

“Enterprise social tools like Yammer have helped Red Robin transform a widespread employee base of nearly 30,000 across 44 states into a more tightly knit workforce focused entirely on team member and guest satisfaction. Even more importantly, it helps us ensure we reach our workforce in the right ways for learning and engagement because how they want to be engaged is through social and mobile,” senior vice president of Business Transformation and chief information officer at Red Robin, Chris Laping, stated.

Microsoft has also launched a new site called the Worldwide Water Cooler, which allows people from any country to partake in a discussion about workplace collaboration. You can check out that site at theworldwidewatercooler.com

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