Social media is everywhere and it’s coming to your workplace. Social media use by Fortune 500 companies for the purposes of marketing and customer service is no longer the new and shiny thing. Seventy-seven percent of the Fortune 500 use Twitter and 70% use Facebook for engagement (seen below), advertisement and marketing. Social media use for engaging and communicating with your employee population is still in its infancy. Business leaders and HR have traditionally kept employer content and information confidential within the confines of the interoffice memo, behind the company firewall or contained with work email. The problem is that employees are bombarded with constant messaging and information making it less likely employees will actually read an entire email. Social media on the other hand, is typically shortened messages similar to the subject line of an email making for productive scanning with the sender forced to get to the point in 200 characters or less.
Uses of Enterprise Social Media
When I think about the case for social media in the workplace, there are many opportunities to leverage these tools as we become a more mobile and visual workforce that is literally always on the go. Social media is poised to become the office and workplace productivity tool of choice. I see seven genuine categories where social media can be used at work helping to improve productivity, work flow and overall communication between teams, managers and business leaders who are tasked with reaching an audience of employees who are overwhelmed, disengaged and bombarded with tasks and responsibilities more than ever before.
- Distribution and Communication. You want to reach your audience quickly and through multiple channels to ensure that the message and information is received and mostly absorbed by your employees.
- Recruitment and Hiring. Employers should look to their current workforce first to fill job openings. What better way that setting up social media or digital communication channels for employees to receive job openings to their mobile phones via instant message, direct message or by text. Social media is also a great source for engaging candidates externally. See more on using social media for recruiting and hiring.
- Research and Personal Development. Social media allows you access to peers, experts and individuals providing you networking opportunities, insights into experiences and most importantly personal development. I have not only made great friends as a result of social media channels but have found mentors and new learning opportunities that have forced me to grow professionally and personally.
- Employee Recognition and Engagement. There are a growing number of enterprise social media tools and technologies that are focused on recognizing, communicating and engaging your employees. These tools and practices supercharge your company employee survey and focus group meetings. Business leaders are able to see areas of opportunity, employee sentiment and trends as they develop instead of after the fact.
- Social Learning and Collaboration. This is a huge area of growth and opportunity as employers are crowdsourcing learning and development directly from the employees and individuals who are working in the trenches. Collaboration among departments, regions and divisions is so important as it keeps employees engaged and focused on driving efficiency and productivity at your place of work.
- Employment Branding. Social media and recruiting has evolved into almost a science where candidates are reached through touch points and marketing campaigns just like your customer facing marketing team except this strategy is focused on the job seeker long before they apply for a job and become a candidate. Employment branding is complex like most marketing strategies and involves an understanding of the customer you are trying to reach, your industry and geographic locations as well as experience working in HR and recruiting.
- Listening and Monitoring. As a manager of a new location, I often spent several days poking around the break room of a new facility before I was formally introduced as a new member of the team. Social media allows you the same access providing employers insights not only into customer opinions but your employees and job seekers too. Most importantly, employers should be monitoring the activities before an inappropriate or potentially damning photo, blog or video goes viral.