Using social media to engage your workforce

Used well, social media can increase employee productivity.

Woman checking social media on a laptop

Every year, companies spend billions of dollars on social media marketing campaigns to better reach the “always connected” millennial generation and turn their digital consumption into higher engagement and sales. Proving the exact ROI of these campaigns, however, is difficult and often subjective – making it hard for a company to measure whether it’s received maximum value from its spend.

So, what if a percentage of that digital spend was redirected internally, and devoted to engaging your workforce to boost collaboration and benefit the business?

Companies already adopting social media internally are seeing the benefits in a number of business critical areas. Through polls to communities, microblogging and ideation, building social media into everyday work dialogue and tasks, they have created new ways of working, heightened employee engagement and fostered productivity.


Engaging employees

The global workforce is changing. By 2025, Millennials will make up the majority of workers. This generation is much more technologically minded than any before, and the expectation for employers to keep up will be profoundly heightened. EY research has found that 80% of enterprise change transformation programs fail, and the common characteristic of this failure is lack of effective employee engagement.

One of the ways to keep up with this generational change – and to boost engagement – is to tap into Millennials’ behavioral habits by implementing social media and collaboration technologies for your internal communication strategies.

Sharing, instant messaging, Yamming, Tweeting, blogging, tagging, posting videos and photos are the go-to methods for social media communication in this era – so ignoring these methods, when communicating with employees, will significantly limit the reach of your messages.

Adapting to your employee’s social media habits can open new channels for innovation, dialogue and insight. Furthermore, it integrates employees into company culture, creates a sense of value and community, and can be a major driver of increased employee engagement.

Here are three simple and effective ways to use social media to encourage employee engagement:


1) Create memorable campaigns

Platforms such as Yammer and Pinterest are perfect vehicles for encouraging new and fresh thinking when it comes to employee engagement campaigns. They are designed to showcase visual assets with ease, and offer simple sharable functions. By factoring in gaming elements, competitions or incentives, employee engagement can be taken to a new level. The key idea? Create a user experience that will not go unnoticed.


2) Actively seek opinions

A global energy company used the social media tool Poll Everywhere to help form and engage a new advisory council for an enterprise-wide project. The technique was used as a vehicle to gather specific and candid feedback from key internal stakeholders. This, in turn, helped the business identify specific needs and address them proactively.  


3) Encourage internal communities

Communities are not just external – using tools such as Jive, Think Tank, Connections and SharePoint can foster an internal community that goes beyond the traditional staff intranet. Typically, these platforms allow individuals to join groups, create communities and provide a space for collaboration.

One example was a US-based multinational provider of IT and professional services, which used Group Systems’ Think Tank to make collaborative decisions internally and accelerate a finance transformation implementation. By bringing together an engaged community around the project, they found the approach not only saved time, but also created a road map to successfully achieve goals.

Young colleagues discuss work in a modern office

Are you making the most of social media?

In today’s fast-paced, globalized, multimedia workplace, engaging employees in transformation programs through traditional methods is no longer enough. As the working population becomes ever more engaged with social media, companies must keep pace or lose a valuable opportunity to gain insight, innovation and feedback.

As EY research and case studies have shown, the use of social media in change programs can play a vital role, not only in realizing the promise of major change initiatives, but also in creating a more engaged and productive workforce. In this age of rapid change and digital disruption, can you afford to lose the potential edge that social media could give you?


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