Likewise, Larson noted “a few town hall meetings and newsletter blasts” are not enough. Social media is a way to engage and inform a valued audience: the workforce. “This is a completely different way of communicating and engaging with your people. If you’re a business leader in charge of change, and you have people spread out across a wide range of geographies, how you can possibly drive that platform without embracing social channels?”
Some of the positive benefits of social media include an open channel for employees to feed views, concerns and ideas upwards, and greater knowledge sharing and innovation between employees at all levels.
Larson added that social media is “about dialogue, not monologue”.
“Someone can look at the video or a blog post and then comment – there’s a closed loop mode of communication here, which is tremendously powerful. A blog I post can spark a bunch of other discussions – it’s leveraging the expertise of those who have a stake in the business from across the world. How can you do that with email?”
Social media interactions can also give organisations access to a unique blend of qualitative and quantitative data, which in turn can drive greater employee and customer insight, said the report.
Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the UK-based CIPD, said that social media was an opportunity to enhance ‘employee voice’ within organisations.
“For organisations to thrive, employees must be given the opportunity to discuss how their organisations can innovate and feed their views upwards, as well as having the freedom to blow the whistle about genuine issues at work,” he explained.
“Social media won’t always be the most appropriate channel for discussing issues, but employers must wake up to the fact that they can’t ignore it. Employee voice expressed through social media is much more influential because it is more likely to be heard.”