How to use Social Media to Support Employee Engagement Strategies

John Andrade    October 12, 2013


Mary Knight, in her article Three Strategies for Making Employee Engagement Stick, states “managers who define what their engagement goals look like, integrate engagement activities into one-on-one discussions, and empower team members to lead engagement sessions often have higher levels of engagement among their team members.” Then she asserts that managers perceive major improvements when using these strategies to implement the 12 Elements of Engagement, developed by Gallup, that best predict employee and workgroup performance.  For example:

  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

Informal recognition provided by managers can be more motivating than formal reward programs.  In this regard, Social Media can be a valuable tool, as recognition can be provided fast, and shared one-on-one or with the audience preferred by the employee (e.g. co-workers, upper-management, family, etc.).  For those who like to be recognized in a public forum, establishing a Facebook page for co-workers and customers to post their experiences and thoughts regarding nominees for an award is an example, just as Best Western in Illinois did to recognize Wallace Pope, one of its employees.

  • At work, my opinions seem to count.

In its March 2013 Research Report, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the world’s largest Chartered HR and development professional body, indicates that Social Media technology not only helps to solve problems that arise from using conventional employee surveys, but can also help to encourage employees to express their voice. Nevertheless, equal access and opportunities, as well as genuine listening to this voice, are paramount in generating employee participation.

  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The 70/20/10 model for learning and development places increased weight in the learning that takes place through collaboration with others.  Crowdsourcing, Snack-sized learning, and Social backchannels are boosted by the developments in Social Media, and constitute growing trends in Social Learning. Then again, these approaches need to be coupled with best practices, like encouraging participation, providing the right tools, opening the lines of communication, while avoiding the Social Media black hole, to help employees better communicate and collaborate through Social Learning.

Lessons Learned:

  • Social Media technologies can be helpful in encouraging employee engagement.
  • Nevertheless, Social Media tools should be used within a strategic context, and not as isolated technological initiatives.
  • Because, after all, what is sought is employee engagement as a way to positively transform the culture of an organization.

Web References:

Submitted by: John Andrade – SMBP student University of Waterloo. To contact the author of this entry please email

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.