By nature, people are social. We crave meaningful interaction with others, especially with those who share similar goals and desires. 

This need for interaction doesn't go away when we go to work. As a rule, we don’t want to be siloed in our work, toiling away without the benefits that working collaboratively provides.

When people work collaboratively, they can easily share their ideas and knowledge. They can tap into the expertise of the workforce so they can get the information they need to do their jobs more efficiently and with better outcomes. We tend to find greater meaning in what we do when we collaborate with others across departments, time zones and countries to resolve issues, innovate or help the company’s bottom line. This, in turn, can drive employee engagement that can further drive productivity and efficiency.

One company that has figured this out is Omron Corporation. Omron makes nearly 200,000 products for industrial automation, electronic components, social systems, healthcare and the environment, so collaboration across the organization is important. Omron Europe needed a way to streamline work processes and leverage the collective knowledge of its employees, so it installed a social business network that provides quick access to expertise. As a result, the company benefits from better communication and collaboration, which helps salespeople share opportunities and leads to better business outcomes.

When a company gives its employees the social tools that encourage and foster collaboration, it’s an empowering experience. People are more productive no matter where they work: in the office, at home or away on business. Employees can more easily build and use relationships to gain knowledge and, in the process, increase customer satisfaction because employees not only know what they need but how to find it quickly. Companies benefit from increased innovation by bringing products to markets more quickly and uncovering and solving customers' needs in a timely manner.

For example, when Cemex, a $15 billion cement maker, wanted to create its first global brand of concrete, the company didn't build a new lab. Instead, Cemex built a social business network where employees in 50 countries formed one global active community whose collaboration helped launch the first global brand in a third of the anticipated time. 

The bottom line is when we work together, share knowledge and expertise and are given the encouragement and proper tools to do so, we are more satisfied in what we do. That’s the power of a Smarter Workforce, to engage employees and create an experience that allows everyone to tap into the collective knowledge of the company.

Join us tomorrow, September 18, for IBM's virtual event, "Reinvent the Way Work Works" from 10 a.m. ET to 1 p.m. ET by registering here.