Thinking About Social Media Strategy in the Workplace

Carrie    May 29, 2013

Surprise the Shortstop!

The US economy takes a $370 Billion hit from over 70% of employees, that are actively or passively disengaged with their work. There are tools that exist which are specifically geared to engage employees internally in social media, with one of the popular ones being Yammer.

The goal with all of these [tools] is to give people a voice, a way to share their ideas and know they matter to the organization. It allows long-term employees to mentor new hires, sometimes across global locations where collaboration is needed. This builds strong internal relationships, boosts morale and improves the performance of both the mentor and the mentee. The mentor’s skills are refreshed, and she gains the satisfaction we all feel when helping someone. The mentee, of course, learns the ropes not only from a leader, but from someone who lives them every day. – Employee Engagement: Every Leader’s Imperative

Looking beyond simply replacing the suggestion box, employers are starting use social media as a way for employees to get instant feedback on their ideas as well as create new opportunities for mentorship internally.

Using social media does have a cost associated with it, time. One could examine what employees did before social media, as people were still busy yet somehow found other ways to be engaged. An article in the Harvard Business Review, highlights the reality that most of us have decided to put time into social media without deciding first what to take time away from in order to do it properly. In the article they suggest some things to measure in order to prioritize what to keep and what to retire:

  1. What am I learning from social media?
  2. Who am I meeting through social media?
  3. Who am I reaching through social media?
  4. How am I replenished by social media?

For organizations looking to adopt social media tools, there is a need to account for the time it takes to do it properly. There are great rewards to using social media in the workplace, but, they will be short lived if you are simply adding an hour or two to people’s work day.

The cost of social media doesn’t go unnoticed. A group in India recently surveyed over 100 companies and found that 31% of employers were skeptical of social media usage in the workplace with 56% believing that it distracts their employees.

Submitted By: Carrie Murphy-Rodgers, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo

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