ERM - Employee Relationship Management
Barter is an inefficient system. It implies finding someone providing something you need, while you offer something they also want. It’s even more seldom that such a trade would take place precisely at the time you first meet.
So three things happened: First, people decided to meet at a market place so that they could all expose to others what they had to exchange (information sharing). Second, people also started to keep track of what other people were offering (information recording). Third, Money came into play so that people didn’t have to exchange things at the same time (disintermediation).
Today, people still keep track of what other people are doing. That’s why we go on Linkedin and why we exchange business cards. We also continue to go to some marketplaces to review what others are offering, sometimes offline at trading fairs or conferences, but more and more so online.
That being said, when it comes to organizations, we don't connect as much internally. Past a certain size, we tend to only stay around those we directly work with. This is a great missing opportunity as more connected people in the organization is more likely to: a) avoid redundancies (people in two parts of the organization working on the same thing), b) create synergies (people working on complementary things which would both gained from each others), c) reduce external costs (preferring to leverage internal resources, better aware of the business rather than relying on external vendors or contractors).
That is why it is crucial for organizations to have an Employee Relationship Management (or ERM) platform. Most organizations now have an employee directory, but those are designed to find people’s contact information, not to expose what they are working on. A well designed ERM platform would work just like a CRM where anyone could take private notes on other employees, tag them with labels, record their past conversations, set reminders to contact them again etc.
Encouraging internal synergies and collaboration takes much more than having open spaces and shuffling desks. It requires the proper tools and incentives.