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Posted: February 13, 2013

Top 10 reasons to engage employees through social media

Give your business a competitive advantage

Paula Berg

Nearly half of all U.S. companies still ban workers from using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn while on the job.  However, the 100 Best Companies to Work For embrace social media, going so far as to allow their employees to represent their brand online, resolve customers issues, and create online content. 

Even highly regulated organizations like Mayo Clinic, Deloitte and USAA are able to reap the benefits of social media while many of their peers are still fretting over IT challenges, security concerns and productivity loss.  If your organization isn’t using social media for employee communication, here are 10 reasons to reconsider:

Unlock Institutional Knowledge and Expertise – Internal blogs, forums and social networks allow organizations to unlock institutional knowledge by allowing employees to share questions, answers, and valuable information in open forums rather than the confines of email, where only a few people benefit from shared information.   Employees can stay abreast of the most up-to-date information and employers can identify staff needs.

Unleash Creativity, Diverse Thinking and Innovation- Constant idea sharing in a cutting-edge environment creates a culture of innovation and collaboration.  Social media allows organizations to easily conduct virtual brainstorms and focus groups by tapping into a broad base of diverse thinking and creativity. 

Generate Leads and Revenue– Sharing marketing messages and offers with employees in easy-to-pass-along formats can help employees accurately advocate for your products and services, generate leads, and boost the bottom line. 

Improve Speed, Agility and Efficiency – The ability to communicate with employees in real time can help organizations educate employees, distribute facts, quash misinformation, and respond to urgent employee needs. This speed is especially critical for crisis communications – both inside and outside your organization. 

Strengthen Culture and Employee Camaraderie – Frequent and timely communication helps employees stay plugged into what’s going on in the organization.  The ability to connect employees with similar talents and interests can also build stronger working relationships.

Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity– Effective use of social media can eliminate unnecessary paper, printing and postage, while helping employees interact more efficiently. 

Eliminate Regional and Global Communication Barriers – Social media helps employees communicate beyond borders and time zones, eliminating silos among departments and geographically dispersed teams. 

Make Information Mobile – Mobile-friendly communication allows organizations to communicate with employees anytime, anywhere, which can be particularly useful for a workforce that is frequently on the move or without computer access. 

Retain and Recruit Top Talent – Social media allows you to communicate more effectively with the next generation of employees – namely Millennials – for whom social media is standard practice. 

Lead With Clear Communication – All organizations must continually reinforce their missions, values and strategies to rally employees around a common cause.  Social media provides endless opportunities to motivate employees in fresh and creative ways. 

Engaged employees are a competitive advantage in any industry, going above and beyond to make a measurable difference in their organizations.  Whether your organization if undergoing changes, launching new products or services, or rethinking how you do business, make sure you are maximizing your internal communication efforts to support your business goals. 

Paula Berg is the new Digital Media Leader at Linhart PR, a national public relations and corporate communications counseling firm based in Denver, where she specializes in social media strategy, integration, infrastructure and crisis management. Paula earned her social media stripes at Southwest Airlines, where she served as the company's first Manager of Emerging Media, responsible for the development of the airlines' now acclaimed online communication and social media strategy. Prior to her work in social media, Paula was a company spokesperson with emphasis on media relations and reputation management. Paula also supervised on-location production of Airline!, Southwest's reality series for the A&E Television Network. Contact her at pberg@linhartpr.com.

 

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Readers Respond

Good article. Employee engagement is important for any organization, implementing an employee self service portal allows an organization to be more connected. Just read an informative whitepaper on this very topic " Increasing employee satisfaction with Microsoft dynamics AX, readers will find it helpful @ http://bit.ly/YflG9k By ramya divya on 2013 02 14
Excellent reminder, Vicki. -Paula By Paula Berg on 2013 02 13
I really applaud companies that follow your advice - may I add one caveat? Trust is obviously essential but I have had a client or two that allowed employees free reign over their facebook page - however, when an employee left under less than positive circumstances, passwords weren't changed in time and the ex-employee wreaked havoc. Employers must ensure that there is good in-company knowledge about changing passwords and other procedures in place so that this does not happen. By Vicki on 2013 02 13
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