5 Benefits to Discussion Boards for Business

You have probably checked discussion boards like Reddit for all manner of things at one point or the other, and found the information useful, or maybe too useful… 

Introduction

You have probably checked discussion boards like Reddit for all manner of things at one point or another, and found the information useful, or maybe too useful…

The beauty of such forums is that whatever question you may have, it is more than likely that someone else already asked it. You can easily navigate to the relevant section and go through responses provided by people that have experience with the subject.

The same concept applies in businesses. There could be some problems that team members commonly face and then, only one person would have the solution. It would be inconvenient and unproductive if this one person would always have to respond to each and every teammate on separate occasions. With a discussion board, they can simply answer those questions and that will serve the department for years to come, even after this person leaves the organization.

 

Benefits of Using a Discussion Board

There are many benefits of using discussion boards in your business, and some of them are highlighted below: 

  1. Employees have a platform where they can ask questions without feeling that they are interrupting their peers by email or telephone.

    With remote work becoming more commonplace, it is no longer as easy to walk to a colleague’s desk to ask questions. Worse still, the colleague could be in a Teams meeting, and since you wouldn’t want to interrupt, you would have to wait for hours before being able to make contact. With a discussion board in place, one could simply search the discussion board for answers to that question that have already been provided by members of the team.

  2. Future and/or existing employees benefit from questions and answers that have previously been asked.

    For a new person starting in a company, there are always questions to ask, and processes to keep up with. A discussion board would be of great help during those early days. With a discussion board and a well-thought-out forum group structure, a new employee can search through questions and answers, or even use tags to locate subjects of interest. If a particular topic is yet unmentioned, the new employee could create a post and ask the question. This is as opposed to the new person seeking out different teammates to ask different questions. Not every new employee is as bold on their first few days, and not every existing employee is as friendly. With a discussion board to help with those questions, newcomers can hit the ground running and that could go a long way towards improving productivity.

  3. Brainstorming improvements or ideas

    A discussion board contains features such as voting, likes, and ratings. This helps to get feedback from an employee base or from members of a team. Posing a question such as “How can we improve our sales processes?” could be asked inside a “Sales” discussion forum. Existing salespeople or other roles from other departments could have an input and upvote other people’s responses. This helps the decision-making process and can be used as valuable feedback during sales strategy meetings. It helps to keep the meetings shorter since discussions have already taken place. In the same vein, anonymous comments can be obtained for sensitive topics or topics regarding employee welfare. This is particularly useful as employees can speak their minds without fear and give candid opinions.

Figure 1: Image showing an anonymous comment on a department’s forum topic
 

  1. Providing a community within your business or department to improve communication and culture
    According to research, more workers feel isolated now than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. This is even more pronounced as remote work is now the norm. There is a need to foster connections and a discussion board provides a platform where conversations can take place about any subject. It would not even have to be business-related. It could be semi-structured such as having a “Watercooler” Discussion Board with Forum Groups for “Travel”, “Fantasy Football”, and “Games”, and staff could have conversations with their like-minded co-workers.

Figure 2: Image showing different forum groups and forums

  1. Create a culture of sharing knowledge

    You may not necessarily have a question, but you may have learned something that is relevant to your organization or team through reading a book or watching a video online. Sharing it with other people within your organization or team could benefit them as much as it did you.  A discussion board is the ideal platform for this since the content can be posted in the most relevant forum to the subject.

 

Why use a discussion board in Teams or SharePoint?

Teams and SharePoint have become integral parts of our business lives. We now spend most of our days in Teams meetings or communicating over Chat. A Discussion Board integrated within a Microsoft Teams team channel, or a SharePoint Site means that we can have categorised discussions within the platforms we are already using. A Posts tab or One-to-One chat is ideal for communication within a team, but not ideal for building the knowledge base over time. The chronological order of the posts tab and chat interface means it is difficult to find answers to questions.

A Discussion Board like Social Squared provides the best option for categorised discussions such as those often found in communities on the internet.

You can download Social Squared, go through installation and product guides and install it in your SharePoint and Teams environments. For sales enquiries, contact sales@lightningtools.com and for product support, contact help@lightningtools.com.

 

TL;DR – Your organization needs its own Reddit too.

 

Social Squared

Learn more about Social Squared and how you can deliver discussion boards to your organization within the context of SharePoint and Teams. 
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