As video conferencing solutions continue to gain popularity at organizations around the globe, it is important for business decision-makers to understand the best strategies for taking advantage of this technology. Simply selecting and deploying these solutions is not enough – employees need to actually use the tools, and use them well, in order for a company to see serious results.
To get employees to this point is not always an easy matter. In fact, to maximize video conferencing's impact, businesses must often change the corporate culture first.
The corporate culture
One of the biggest changes to occur in many organizations' corporate culture over the past few years has been an increase in independence. Freelancers and remote workers have become common for companies in every industry, thanks largely to the rise of broadband Internet and unified communications. Personnel don't need to share an office with one another in order to be productive members of a team.
For the most part, this is an incredibly beneficial development for most firms. However, one downside of this trend is that workers don't feel the need to engage with one another as regularly or deeply as they did in the past. This means that while employees are still getting all of their work done, they may not be forming the same level of connections with each other and the organization as they would have previously. This can undermine collaborative projects and hurt retention efforts, as these employees will be less inclined to stick with a given company.
Video conferencing's impact
Video conferencing has the potential to change this state of affairs by better connecting employees throughout the organization. However, for this to happen, leaders need to break employees of their isolationist habits. A remote worker who currently reaches out to coworkers on a rare, as-needed basis will not likely change his or her tendencies just because video conferencing is now available.
Instead, managers and other leaders need to develop plans and programs that encourage and even mandate broader cooperation and communication among all workers. The key for such efforts to succeed is to demonstrate the value of video conferencing and other forms of communication. This can be achieved by assigning more team-based projects, both business-related and extracurricular. Ultimately, video conferencing and broader UC success will only come when employees see first-hand the benefits of embracing greater engagement with their colleagues.