>Come tweet with me

>This week’s Q&A topic has probably been written by many others before me, and I may not be saying anything new, but I wanted to put it out there to see what opinions are around. My question is this:

Is it possible for organisations to use social media for employee engagement?

Here’s my thinking. The trend for employees to have a social media account of some sort is increasing constantly. At the moment, here’s how most of those accounts are being used:

Facebook – personal relationships, event type pages, uploading videos and photos of company events
Twitter – networked relationships, creating a ‘personal brand’, promoting your message to the world
LinkedIn – professional relationships, job opportunities, conference promotion
Yammer – in-tact relationships, deeper discussions on topics selected by people regularly working together
Blogs – individual voice, rants, thought pieces, attract a following
Foursqaure – competition element, checking in, winning badges, special offers for ‘mayorships’

And that’s just a selection of what’s out there. So we can take each of those and think – how can an organisation use any/all of those to engage with their staff better? Cynicism aside – truly aside,

Facebook – so it seems 500 million of you have a Facebook account. I don’t for what it’s worth. but I’m in the minority it seems. Imagine if you would, a company friends you. Not to follow what you have to say, but so they can update you on company communications. We’re holding a company meeting, we’re hiring spread the message, there’s a new starter today say hello, did you know Bob is wearing a red pyjama outfit for Comic Relief?

Twitter – not so different about the kind of message that can be spread from Facebook, just a different way of sending that message out.

LinkedIn – encouraging your staff to connect with each other, but with the aim in mind of developing a strong employer brand. Brands in this day and age know the power of a collective and crowd sourcing. So you have a strong public brand, but what about a strong professional brand?

Yammer – wikis and intranets are still the way to go, but Yammer offers an additional way to talk to each other. Remember that internal training on Assertiveness? Let’s talk about that a bit more. What about the new internal product we’ve rolled out? Discuss and comment.

Blogs – blogging is an interesting beast, but all the same there’s a lot of people at it. Done something you’re particularly proud of? Ask someone to write about it on their blog. That’s right, on theirs, not yours. You already have a company blog which will have a corporate message. How about hearing the same message articulate differently? Are you brave enough?

Foursquare – ‘checking in’ presents an interesting opportunity for rewarding being ‘present’. A slightly more organisational bent, rather than engagement – but rewarding people for 25 check-ins, with a free coffee? A mayorship with an Amazon voucher, or additional company discount?

I know there will be heavy cynicism from a fair few of you, and that’s all good, but indulge me for a moment.

The question then:

Is it possible for organisations to use social media for employee engagement?

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

6 thoughts on “>Come tweet with me”

  1. >Hi Sukhi, I think it's important to note that companies already benefit from employees using social media by the exposure gained for that individual feeding the company image (if a media company anyway).Blogging and even tweeting can also improve that 'tone of voice' we hear so much about and also help employees understand the difference between 'good content' and 'good web content' as well as helping them create the latter.

  2. >Hi SukhThe answer is yes. Well, that has been my experience. For example, at business publishers RBI I helped set up a weekly knowledge sharing event (face to face) which was promoted through a mix of Yammer, email, word of mouth and postsers in the reception area. A dedicated blog prvided write-ups of each event and a place for people to add comments. Yammer provided the glue to stick all these pieces together – colleagues could carry on the conversation on Yammer, we could promote the latest event blog post, use it to survey colleagues for forthcoming events etc. The result was a regular attendance of 20-plus colleagues which was a high level of engagement. I wrote a post about this for Claire Walsh which you might be interested in!

  3. >Absolutely, its a no brainer. And organisations will get there. It will just take a few years for the key gatekeepers to get on social media themselves and start seeing these tools for the benefits they can bring, not as evil time wasters!

  4. >Hey SukhYes, yes, yes! It's about culture change first though as Gareth says – you need an organisation that sees the value of social networking as a learning tool. Unfortunately a lot of companies (in Australia) are very busy writing detailed policies on not using social media at work!We probably need a few studies stating that use of social media at work enables engagement. There are a few around.I think that worlplace learning itself needs a big revamp, a revolution. Want to help me lead it!!!???

  5. >Hi SukhMy stop doing dumb things to customers experiment started life as a dual blog when I worked at BT. One internal, one external. They took a different view about connecting employee purpose to customer experience, supported each other and took off in a way I couldn't have expected. The internal blog quickly became one of the most read in the whole of BT. It got noticed and thanks to its popularity and the business benefits we were deriving from it – it was allowed to continue. I'm confident that if I had sought permission to conduct this experiment it would not have been granted. This was one of my first "proceed until apprehended" actions. It helped others to do likewise and I am proud of this.We tried using Facebook for chat sessions. We had some success though this part of the experiment faded. People were a little nervous about having frank conversations and idea sharing so openly. Hey ho…still glad we tried it.We also tried Yammer but could not get it to stick. Sharepoint and other sharing spaces were already established and so yammer was always struggling for airtime.I have benefitted hugely from using social tools in organisations and I encourage it where I can.Sadly – the client I am engaged with at the moment blocks access to twitter facebook and the like. They have no internal blogging – yet 🙂 They have a fake twitter which is allegedly from the big boss but it is scribbled by someone else (and it says so on the faux tweets!). I agree with Gareth – we'll get there. It's up to you, him, me and others who have braved the experiments and seen wonderful things happen to keep telling the stories.Cheers – Doug

  6. >Absolutely Yes! At the Learning Skills exhibition the other week I attended a session presented by Virgin Media's Head of Learning. He explained how explained how they built it the SM feature in their Learning Platform for that particular reason – to better engage with employees, have them go away and share/discuss their learning then bring it back into the work place.In my last organisation we used Yammer! as well as the wiki, discussion forums and profile pages on SharePoint. Was a great way to tap into expertise and share ideas without having to get on a plane. Those already using SM were they largest users and also encouraged others to use it.I understand that not all organisations have those resources behind them and this is where they are missing the boat! They should capitalise on free SM Platforms as Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, etc…as it was mentioned, it's just a question of time!On that note…Facebook awaits you! 😉

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