Over the past couple of years, Virgin Media has altered their communication strategies to incorporate more employee involvement via social media. According to a case study conducted in 2010, Virgin Media’s Head of Internal Communications, Helen Farrar, describes that there are many benefits to encouraging employees to increase connectivity through the use of different forms of social media. Virgin has been focusing on six different mediums of social media for the purpose of giving each of their employees equal opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard. These channels include:
- An online intranet channel that is used by all employees to communicate internally
- A live web chat that they call The Grill, which is accessible to everyone in the business and used for sharing opinions which are recorded for future improvement
- Specific forums used to address certain areas or issues
- Informational Wiki’s that contain and build local knowledge communities and information regarding different sections of the business
- A private Twitter account that encourages employees to use their own personal Twitter account to link to each other and the business
- A variety of blogs that chronicle different sectors of the business; employees are encouraged to write and share these blogs themselves
But with all this time focused on encouraging the use of social media, not to mention the time spent using the social media, what advantages make these efforts worthwhile? Helen Farrar outlines the main benefits as real-time communication and feedback, the ability to defy geographical boundaries to reach and link a variety of diverse cultures, and giving all employees a method of having their voices heard. In addition to these benefits, employees are able to choose how they communicate and share information with each other, and are urged to take responsibility for this communication and sharing of information.
With all of these perks attributed to the use of the variety of forms of social media readily available to us, there’s even more in store with the benefits of higher connectivity of employees. Businesses will become more personalized and communications will be cut down to eliminate unnecessary exchanges to focus solely on important and relative discussions. We see people these days dedicating a number of hours out of their day to communicating with their peers through social media. Virgin is just one example of how social media can also be a tool to effectively encourage businesses to be prosperous by increasing internal connectivity of employees.
Submitted By: Aryana Heit, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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