We live in amazing times. With a web browser or a mobile phone, I am a simple Google search away from the answer to almost any question I can think up. Whether it’s finding out the average yearly rainfall in Burma, how many Academy Awards has Michael Caine won, or getting walking directions to the nearest Starbucks, finding information in the modern world is unbelievably easy. The most frustrating exception to this rule is information about the people I work with. I have lost track of how many times I have needed to reach a co-worker on their cell phone or at home and didn’t have their number, or needed help with a very specific problem but didn’t know who could help me.
Having outdated tools can make a company feel just that, outdated. When companies have modern tools that help people get their jobs done, it sends a fantastic message to employees that their time and effort are valued.
I have three basic expectations when searching for information within my company:
- I want everything to be a search away — whether I need to find someone by name, skills, hobbies or job function, finding the right person is as easy and accurate as searching with Google.
- I want control over my data — the easiest way for my information to be up-to-date is to give me the ability to update it myself so I can manage how I am represented to my colleagues like I can with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
- I want information that is not just up-to-date, but real-time —sometimes finding the right person involves finding someone who is available and can chat right now, or someone who is physically at the office.
When it comes right down to it, small hindrances can dramatically impact productivity. When a company invests in tools to empower its people to do their jobs better, it says volumes about how much they value their time and energy. The question I ask myself is, “How does my company make it easier to connect with other people, find them instantly, and collaborate on work?”