Human Resource managers may be tempted to shape policies that ban social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the workplace. Some corporate leaders, however, are turning on its head the idea that social platforms are detrimental to efficiency. Instead, they are looking to social media as a key tool for marketing and defining the business’s brand.
Social Media in the Workplace
New reports from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicate that social media has, in recent years, become integral to many companies’ outreach programs. A 2013 study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research suggests as much, showing that 77 percent of Fortune 500 companies participate in Twitter and about 70 percent have an active Facebook page.
According to SHRM, however, over time the focus has progressed from increasing awareness to engaging the public, users, and even employees in the brand. Because such media is appealing and social, it can help create organic conversation about the company. In fact, experts are increasingly suggesting that human resource can encourage active participation in the platforms at work in ways that are both efficient and effective in furthering corporate goals.
“Social business and real strategy require a focus on process, the user experience, the flow of social into the business, measurement, and business impact,” said Yvette Cameron, research director for HCM technologies at Gartner.
Incorporating Social Media Effectively
Of course, giving employees free range on social media in the office does not necessarily mean that they are using it effectively. Rather, staff training and development programs should focus on teaching workers how to utilize it so that it accomplishes corporate goals.
Cameron suggested that social tools can be implemented in a variety of ways that are beneficial to the brand. First, employees can be encouraged to interact with company pages on sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which promote the business to the public. Additionally, clients can be invited to reach out to the company via social media as a means of customer service. This can not only improve effectiveness in responding to client concerns, but also demonstrate the business’s commitment to its users.
On an internal basis, however, the tools can be beneficial as well. Cameron described how sites such as LinkedIn provide platforms through which employees can collaborate with one another—discussing current projects and sharing experience, particularly from senior members to newer workers.
“To communicate more extensively and effectively, embracing technology inside the enterprise to leverage that is going to become that much more essential,” said Judah Kurtz, senior manager of the talent solutions practice at BPI group in Chicago. “If you can understand the knowledge and expertise of people throughout the organization . . . [they] are the ones who are going to be able to share information and documents and best practices and data or whatever ends up becoming an opportunity for us to have this back-and-forth dialogue.”