Employee voice through social media
Do you use social media to engage with your employees?
If not, you could be missing a huge opportunity.
The links between increased engagement and giving employees a voice are well researched and documented. We have spoken about them before in numerous blogs on this forum. Online platforms can provide very good mechanisms for open and transparent communication across the organisation, between employees and management and between colleagues. They could enhance the voice we provide.
Typical platforms include Yammer and Jive, but there are many that can be geared for anything from simple updates to answering questions to working on solving a challenge with new ideas and approaches. They are particularly useful for remote workers and for those who operate across geographical locations. Large corporates with a more dispersed workforce are using social media to assist with engagement and interaction. That’s a benefit ACAS picks up on in big companies in the UK according to their recent research.
Social media and bespoke tools also offer what we need – real-time access and feedback. They make sense in a business environment that is faster moving and ever changing. More traditional mechanisms for providing employees with a voice my be too infrequent and take too long to report on, such as the staff survey, rolled out once or twice a year. And co-workers often solve questions or challenges raised on platforms, so employees can end up helping each other out.
There is one more benefit we’d like to highlight too. Online platforms can provide a voice for those employees who have less confidence or feel uncomfortable speaking up in meetings and larger company gatherings. Favouring these less direct communication methods, they may be more inclined to contribute through these channels.
So we have spoken about some of the benefits here. What should you consider in terms of your own internal engagement through social media? Fear of misuse is a common issue raised – will employees use the platforms set up appropriately? Experience to date says, on the whole, they do.
In part two of this blog we will cover a few good practice guidelines for HR managers.