Boost Employee Engagement Through Social Media

jmann89    June 12, 2014

NHSIndustry: Healthcare HR Consulting

Contact: Karen Charman – Director of Engagement

In today’s world, change is the norm. They say wait a few months if you want something better. That’s how fast technology is changing.  Hospitals have to keep up with the best technology to provide the best care for their patients, but what about their internal customers – their employees? What have hospitals done to keep up with current trends? Technology and workplace trends are changing so rapidly and if organizations do not evolve to keep up with the current changes, it can be fatal.

The National Health Services (NHS) Employers provide advice and assistance for health care employers in England, UK to keep up with these rapid changes and latest workforce thinking. NHS Employers provide services ranging from negotiations, pay, employment practices and recruitment.

How does NHS Employers approach employee engagement?

A common issue for human resources professionals today is employee engagement and this issue was also found in the National Health Services in England. “Staff are the NHS’ biggest asset”. The NHS Employers quickly recognized that poorly engaged employees are not performing at their peek and as a result of poor culture retention and recruitment also become an issue.  NHS Employers discovered that Social Media and Online Forums could be a staff engagement tool as it allows for immediate recognition and allows employees to have a voice.

How can NHS Employers harness Social Media for employee engagement?

NHS Employers mention that there are two ways to “increase staff engagement: bringing the outside in and taking the inside out”.  No one actually goes to work wanting to do a bad job.  Providing feedback is one way to improve performance and through Twitter and Facebook staff are able to “listen to what is being said about their organization and are able to empathize with service users’ views”.  Staff are being recognized publicly and internally which can be more effective than monetary rewards. “Imagine how good you’d feel if people ‘liked’ a Facebook update about your latest qualification or you completing 20 years of service.” Employees are able to have a voice and are able to be informed quickly and effectively through social media.

engageMajor consequences can come from social media such as Facebook and Twitter as it allows for customers to have a voice whether you like it or not. Organizations are forced to focus on reputation management as negative feedback can go viral yet it all depends on how the organizations handle the situation.  Social media could serve two birds with one stone: improve employee engagement and improve their services. Feedback is just one way how organizations can improve their services.  NHS also uses their Social Partnership Forum for staff survey’s to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the importance of not only listening to their patients but to their own employees.

Social media employee engagement examples:

RachelThe Chief Executive Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership, Rachel Newson, is active on Twitter praising the hard work and accomplishments of staff members. Through her experiences, employees who use Twitter to discuss and share their professions are more engaged at work. She believes Twitter conversations can translate into new ideas and connections in the workplace, helping the organization develop as a whole.

“I find Twitter a good way to show my staff how proud of them I am. It has helped me celebrate the successes of those staff who use social media to bring in new information and ideas to our organization…Over the next 12 months I want all of my staff to know that they have permission to use social media at work to help improve our services.”  Rachel Newson

DavidThe Clinical Governance Lead, David Foord, at NHS is also a strong believer in Twitter. He leverages Twitter to bring what is being said outside the company back inside showing needs for improvement in areas and successes in other. He also uses social media to connect with other professionals in his field leading to internal networking within the organization.FluFighter2NHS also uses Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness among their staff of the opportunities and benefits of having the seasonal flu vaccination. This will help spread awareness to protect employees and there families. “NHS Manchester has harnessed social media to support the national flu fighter campaign, promoting awareness among NHS staff, patients, careers and the wider public.” NHS launched an organization wide campaign to improve vaccine numbers throughout the company and country. The employee and organization with the greatest increase was celebrated at an awards ceremony. The employees were engaged with a new challenge and rewarded for there hard work. This was an excellent example of employee engagement.


Lessons Learned:

  • Employee engagement tools are forever changing and social media allows organizations to share positive information and grow and build on the negative.
  • Having an “open to public” social media avenues can be very beneficial but certain measures and monitoring need to be put in place. Managing what people are saying about you is a full time job “Dean Royles has said on his blog, “Using social media isn’t just an add-on or just another task in your already busy day, but a fundamental change to the way we work.”
  • Sharing internal successes and milestones socially within the organization can be a huge boost for moral internally and create a positive brand externally.

Submitted by: Jordan Mann, University of Waterloo

Author Contact:

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director

Web References:

NHS employer Pages

Engage for Success

Social Partnership Forum

Rachel Newson Image – Twitter Handle

David Foord Image – Twitter Handle

NHS Flu Fighter Image – Facebook Page

staff Engagement Social Media