Businesses these days seem to suffer from an ethical dilemma regarding social media –to be or not to be social media – friendly! While they ‘Like’ social media for promoting their brands, they are dubious about allowing their employees to use it.
Of course there is a lot of fuss regarding allowing social media in workplace can take a toll on productivity. Employees will get carried by social media conversation and will neglect their duties. Some even fear that those with foul motive can pass on secret company information in a social media platform and may even tarnish the brand reputation.
However, researches show that employees who do social media for a small amount of time during their work hours are more productive and creative than those who do not. Capitalizing on this trend, more and more companies these days have a defined social media policy. They consider this among their most sought after employee benefits as this is one benefit that most employees love to have these days.
According to Payscale 53% employers have a well-defined policy on social media usage by employees while 42% employers still put a ban on social media at workspace. Also it seems that the small companies are more prone to having a formal social media usage policy (57%) compared to the medium (52%) and large (47%) companies.
October 2011 edition of Cisco’s connected world report polled 2,800 students and graduates worldwide, and discovered that 33% picks the access to social media and mobile devices in the workplace over pay raise.
The Current Trend
With people rating social media access over salary, large employers are cashing in on this tendency to get staff excited about perks. DLA Piper’s research report dated October 2011, ‘Knowing your tweet from your trend: keeping pace with social media in the workplace’ states that around 76% employers today have a social media presence. Around 40% of them stresses this presence as a way of employee communication while around 37% sees social media as a form of engagement.
So, social media access at workplace is one of the employee benefits that help the employees and employers alike.
Let’s find out how having a formal social media policy benefits the employees
- Getting the benefit message – Employees can learn about the company benefits through the usage of social media and discuss with co-workers. Knowing the benefits through social media often minimizes any disparity in distribution of information across the organization.
- Perks that sparks discussion and enthusiasm – Knowing about perks from social media pages keep the employees focused and generates a new enthusiasm across the organization. It also sparks a discussion in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Getting recognition – When a company recognizes the work or efforts of an employee through social media, they feel more engaged and honored.
- Getting ideas – By discussing thoughts and ideas with other professionals, employees can come up with better ideas for work. It may even save hours of brainstorming in the meetings.
- Honing their skills – When employees come across some useful tips and tricks through social media, they incorporate them in their day to day work and emerge as a more skillful personnel.
- Getting better in writing communication – When employees use Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis, it improves their writing skills. After all, expressing thoughts within 140 characters needs some serious skill.
- Building professional network – Using LinkedIn and Facebook will help employees build a professional network on which they can turn to for suggestions.
- Improves mental health and alertness – Studies show that those who use social media on a regular basis remain more alert and in better mood.
- Learning from others’ experience – On social media people discuss about various experiences. When an employee comes across a challenge at work, he may get some insight on the situation by reading about a similar experience or by talking with someone who has been in a similar situation.
- Deciding to go with the best company – When company policies are mentioned in their social media page, it helps the future employees to gather more information on the company and take the call.
Now, what can an employer achieve by giving access to social media as employee benefits?
Check these out:
- Increasing visibility: Engaging employees in social media on a regular basis gives a company a chance to always stay in the talk. By taking active part in discussions, sharing daily thoughts and ideas employees can make a brand a visible one.
- Building a community: By reaching out to customers and sharing information, a company can strengthen their community – Building new connections, allowing community members to share ideas and increasing the number of voices.
- Promote your product: Social media is the perfect platform to showcase and talk about any product. And involving the employees, a business can do it in a friendly and informal way without coming across too promotional. Employees are the best spokespersons for a business and they can easily answer questions, discuss features and offer tips to help the users.
- Develop better ideas: Social media allows everyone to see what works, what people want more of and what they need. When employees browse through social media they may come across some brilliant idea and use them in to works.
- Network faster: Through Twitter, Google+ and Facebook any employee can have a detailed discussion with the industry experts and professionals within an hour and save the operating time. This is not possible in any other way and thanks to social media; no other way is required to achieve this.
- Learning from other influencers: You are the company you keep – remember this proverb? Well, that holds true in social media too. Social media allows a company and its employees to get acquainted with the major social media influencers. This helps them learn the tricks of the trade to increase their authoritativeness and also increases the brand value.
- Empower your staff: When your employees spend more time on social media, they come across useful information that helps them hone their skills. Adapting these skills, your staff can emerge as a better workforce.
- Tell the company’s story: Social media is a platform that introduces customers to the people behind the logo – i.e. the management and staff. With employees taking active part as company’s spokesperson telling your company’s story in various social media platforms, customers today get to interact with real persons and not to some IVR. And they just love it – it creates a personal feeling and makes people take part in your success.
- Develop your company culture: When your business demands you to be social and interact with customers in real time, you need your employees answer questions through social media. They create your true brand identity in social media platforms and create a new company culture.
- Better hires: Using social media, your recruiting department can help your company hire better and faster. It introduces you to qualified candidates and helps to build your referral network without having to sort from a pile of resume.
Social media is not a magic wand that will take a struggling business to the height of success with a few clicks in your Twitter account. But your employees can take you to the peak of success both in terms of business growth and social media. Equipped with social media they make you a better company by giving you extra ears to listen, extra hands to respond faster and more efficiently than ever before. You see, using social media is not a mere “playing on your computer” anymore!