How does your employer view social media?
I’ve spoken to several employees from a variety of companies lately about their use of social media, and I was shocked to discover that many companies still don’t think it’s particularly important. Some companies have social media accounts, but don’t update them regularly; others dipped their toes in for a couple of weeks and didn’t see results, and so gave up. Most shocking of all, one employee told us that the organisation they work for doesn’t allow the use of social media as part of their marketing strategy – because they assume employees will become ‘distracted’ by it.
Here at People Lab, we love social media. We update our accounts several times every day, keeping our followers updated with what we’re up to and who we’re working with. We’re also really passionate about sharing best practice, and social media is the perfect way to do just that – if you stumble across an article about a company who’re really great at engaging their employees, you can share it in seconds.
I was really struck by the company who restrict the use of social media because they didn’t want their employees to be ‘distracted’. How insulting is that?! The assumption is that having a Facebook account means that all employees will spend their day Facebooking instead of working. It’s a ludicrous assumption – does having access to a telephone mean employees spend the entire day chatting to friends? Of course not!
Where’s the trust for your employees?
Trust is an essential element of employee engagement – if your employees feel that you’re suspicious of them, there’s just no way they’re going to be engaged. And we all know that if they’re not engaged, they’re not working to their best – so what’s the harm in opening a Facebook or Twitter account if it means your employees feel trusted and valued?
I couldn’t imagine working for an organisation that watches my every move, or bans me from accessing social networking sites. One employee told me that access to social media accounts is prohibited at all times in the organisation, and so employees can’t even pop onto Facebook in their lunch hour. Microsoft conducted a survey recently, and discovered that a mere 30% of employers embrace social tools in the workplace. I was really shocked by this low figure – it feels like many organisations are stuck in the stone age mindset that social media just isn’t useful or needed in business.
Trust and freedom form a massive part of my personal engagement. Although employee engagement is different for everyone, I know I’m not alone in this. If an employee at your organisation suggests using social media to promote a product, let them. Allow them the freedom they need to do a good job – after all, they’re trying to help you and your business.
Do you work for an organisation that doesn’t support the use of social media? Or maybe your company embraces the use of social media and allows you the freedom you need to use it? Either way, I’d love to hear from you – contact me with your stories on email@example.com.