For nearly a decade, organizations around the globe have been using social media to connect and interact with external audiences and potential consumers.
More recently, importance has been placed on encouraging internal employee engagement through the use of social media, and understanding the benefits associated with having an engaged workforce.
“As more and more companies are realizing the value of engaging their employees online, social media is quickly becoming a preferred way of increasing knowledge sharing, encouraging teamwork and collaboration and adding value to the employee experience.”
Case Study: Vets Now
A case study, conducted by Jo Stratmann, examines how one organization successfully incorporated an internal social media platform into their employees’ daily operations. Vets Now, an after-hours veterinary care facility for veterinary processes, which is located across the UK, implemented a social media platform, VET Emergency Critical Care (VETECC). Since inception of this platform, the organization has found many positive outcomes from connecting employees around the county, to creating an information sharing network, accessible to all Pets Now locations, at any time.
“Using social media as part of your internal communications plan has a number of benefits. For one, companies are able to have real-time, authentic conversations with employees. Plus the very nature of social media means that anyone can participate in discussions, allowing communication to flow from the top down, bottom up, and even from side to side. If you are part of a global company it also means you can connect with people all over the world on a more involved level than just email and phone, thanks to the picture, profile and forum features available on tools like Facebook and MySpace.”
The VETECC platform has created an online community of internal stakeholders, which has, so far, received successful results in regards to participation and interaction with other employees.
“The community currently has 924 members. 60% of Vets Now internal staff are signing on to VETECC at least once a day. More impressively, over 95% of the internal team are visiting the site at least once per week…the average time each user spends on the site is 9 minutes, which means that people are taking time to absorb content and interact with other members online.”
Lessons for others:
Internal social media platforms allow employers to protect the organization and its employees from a privacy standpoint. Social media activities are outside of a public forum and the benefits of employee engagement and information sharing are evident. Having the ability to create an online social community, which may have otherwise not existed, is a significant milestone for certain organizations such as Vets Now.
Submitted by: Nicole Schmidt – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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