Employee collaboration is a lot like your company’s bottom line. As a business leader, you’ve likely heard that the two are linked, but you might sometimes feel that neither is directly under your control. McKinsey noted, for example, that 80 percent of senior executives believe that coordination across teams and offices was “crucial” to their growth. But only 25 percent of them rate their organizations as “effective” at it.
The issue is that collaboration is influenced by many factors other than your words, actions and decisions. But, if you assemble the right combination of people, tools, processes and culture, you can promote a healthy level of collaboration in your company.
This article is about one such tool. If you’re familiar with Salesforce, you might have heard about the benefits of Salesforce Chatter. As an in-application collaboration tool, it keeps your employees out of their inboxes and in your CRM, where they can communicate directly on relevant information records. Switching from email to Chatter alone can increase connectivity and productivity, but these 3 Chatter hacks can boost employee collaboration even more.
3 Salesforce Chatter Hacks to Boost Employee Collaboration
1. Send automatic notifications to Chatter Groups to keep multiple people informed.
You may already know that you can automate Chatter messages with Process Builder. You can even mention specific people in these posts, say, the owner of an Opportunity or its related Account. But in some cases, you want to reference the same people, no matter who owns it. Your VP of Sales, Jim, may want to be mentioned on every Opportunity when it’s won, for example. And sure, you can hardcode Jim into these automatic notifications. But then every time someone else wants to be mentioned on these posts, you’ll need an admin to go into the back-end and change the rule itself.
Instead, to build a scaleable Salesforce solution, I recommend mentioning a Chatter Group instead of each individual user. Chatter Groups are great ways of letting specific teams collaborate, and you can reference them in as many automations as you want. So instead of individually mentioning every sales rep in an automatic notification, you can add all of them to one “Sales Team” Group and reference that Group. That way, when someone joins or leaves the team, you don’t need an admin to make the change. You merely need the Group owner to change its membership. Plus, every user gets to decide whether they get emails from each Group they’re in — so this solution gives everyone more control over how they get notified.
2. Announce information with “Broadcast only” Groups.
Even beyond automated notifications, Groups can do a lot to strengthen employee collaboration. Each one acts as a local message forum where Group members can discuss particular topics — anything from new industry trends to pictures of their pets.
But one under-used type of Group is “Broadcast only,” which offers specific communication settings. Regular members can’t post to it, but Group admins can send updates to all members. I recommend setting up one “Broadcast only” Group for company-wide announcements. Although making all of your Groups like this would hurt collaboration, in this case, the restrictive settings of the Group reduce the clutter in it, making it easy for employees to find valuable information.
3. Understand collaboration trends with Chatter topics & reporting.
Chatter also supports "topics," which are similar to Twitter hashtags. With defined company topics, your employees can quickly search for posts that interest them. They can even subscribe to topics. As a business leader, you can also see analytics on topic usage, to get a sense of who’s talking about what.
Salesforce also allows you to create reports on Chatter activity, by user or Group. These reports make it easy to identify top Chatter influencers. If you’re struggling with Chatter adoption, try reaching out to these users to see if they can get some of their colleagues onboard.
Looking for more people-focused Salesforce tips? Download our checklist of 11 employee-centric Salesforce coaching hacks to build feedback into the same platform as your other business processes.