Time to assess the positives? Social media for internal comms

by Astrid Wilson08 Oct 2012

It’s likely that your organisation will have a strong social media marketing strategy – using Twitter for succinct company updates, Facebook and LinkedIn for recruitment, and perhaps YouTube for showcasing your workplace culture – yet a new report has found many large organisations have failed to recognise the power of social media for internal communications as well.

New research from UK-based recruitment firm Hyphen has found that despite a strong desire from employees to communicate with management and leadership teams via social media channels. Some 42% of employees would like to communicate with their direct manager via Facebook, while 20% would be comfortable engaging with their head of department of CEO via Twitter.

“The research shows there is a clear opportunity for HR directors to lead significant internal communications and organisational development programs by embracing a desire among employees for greater interaction with senior management via social media channels,” Zain Wadee from Hyphen wrote recently. He also pointed to the positive flow-on effects to setting the tone of organisational culture, and the possibility of heightened engagement and industry-leading internal communications.

Most significantly, the desire to communicate on social media platforms (or Enterprise Social Networks as internal systems are known) was not just one-sided – nearly 40% of managers submitted they would be happy to engage with staff via channels such as Facebook.

Yet despite these positive projections, management is failing to engage with employees on social media. Many organisations continue to use outdated intranets, message boards and newsletters instead of designing their own in-house social media platforms. Citing the examples of IBM and Nokia, the research found these organisations were early adopters of social media for employee engagement, having designed their own versions of Facebook and Twitter.

While sensitive issues should continue to be managed through the appropriate HR channels, when implemented effectively, social media can be a highly successful internal engagement tool, encouraging innovation, idea generation and knowledge sharing across teams and departments, Wadee said. “Investment in social media as an internal communications tool must now be the norm for companies that want to get the most from their employees, encourage creative thinking, and foster innovative organisational culture at all levels,” he added.

*The survey of more than 1,500 employees was conducted between May and June 2012


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