When you go out for dinner with family or visit friends, it’s easy to see the obligatory question of the night creeping up: “So how is work?” For some, this question is followed by a very short answer, which, in turn, is followed quickly by the introduction of a new, more likable topic. But for others, that question is answered with great pride and joy in the work they are doing.
So why don’t we all look forward to that question? Well there could be many reasons but in general terms it all boils down to company culture and employee engagement.
A company’s culture is evident in how people get work done, how they communicate, and in the stories they tell their friends, family and followers. Culture and engagement are impacted by everything you do and start with the core of any company: it’s employees.
The idea of an “engaged employee” has been around since the early 90’s and has been growing ever since. An “engaged employee” is one who is enthusiastic about their work and takes positive action to further the companies reputation and interests.
I am not one to dwell in the past, so let’s look at how employee engagement has been trending recently. Gallup has tracked US employee’s who are considered “engaged” and found an upward trend since 2013. This engagement level has consistently remained above 32% since September 2015.
Let’s shift gears and put the spotlight on a company whose employees make up a part of the 32%; a company whose employees are actively engaged and using social media in their everyday work.
Allow me to introduce to you Buffer. Buffer was founded in 2010 as a way to easily schedule tweets. Within a few years, Buffer has become one of the leading social media management tools on the web, helping more than 2 million users connect with their followers every day.
A great place to start when talking about Buffer is their core philosophy, that reads:
“A commitment to culture and customers has helped Buffer grow from humble beginnings to now serving more than two million people every day. Our passion for support, happiness and quality flow through everything that we do.”
This is a great foundation when it comes to culture; but how do you keep employees engaged when the bulk of your work force is spread across multiple countries and continents? The first step is to allow those employees to live in a place that makes them happy. The second step is to use social media to keep the remote team connected both personally and with what is happening within the company.
Brian Peters, Social Media Manager at Buffer was gracious enough to tweet me last week and let me know they use Trello and Slack applications to help keep track of everything business related and encourage staff to post on social media. “It’s a really fun process.” Each employee has the opportunity to post a blog on the Buffer website relating to a specific business topic. This interaction is a great way to keep employees engaged and feel part of furthering the companies interests and reputation.
@Jeff12Johnson that is happening across the company. We use various tools like Trello and Slack to keep track of everything and often..
— Brian Peters (@Brian_G_Peters) May 27, 2016
Take for instance Nicole Miller. She is just one employee that not only contributes to the buffer website, but also uses social media to blog about her urban homesteading adventures with 15 chickens, 4 ducks, 2 dogs and a horse. Wow, I’m not sure what keeps Nicole busier, her work or the 15 chickens!
Jokes aside, that’s just one example at Buffer of an “engaged employee” using social media for business performance. She believes in the culture and feels empowered to not only blog for her company, but also loves to share her interesting life. When Nicole is asked “how is work,” her answer will not be a quick one.
Lessons for Others
Employee engagement is not an exact science. It does however need to be a two-way street. The way Buffer keeps their employees engaged may not work for all organizations but, if companies don’t adopt some sort of strategy, culture may develop on its own. When employee culture develops organically it’s harder to control and may not be the culture that you want it to be. Buffer put a strategy in place back in 2010 and it’s been working for the organization and its employees ever since.
Industry: Internet based communications company, Social media management for marketers and agencies
Name of Organization Contact: Brian Peters, Social Media Manager
Authored by: Jeff Johnson
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.
Culture Development: Pam Ross (2014), Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.pamross.ca
Employee Engagement: Wikipedia (2016), Retreived May 30, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement#Definitions
Percentage of engaged workers in the US: Gallup (2016): Retreived May 30, 2016, from http://www.gallup.com/topic/employee_engagement.aspx