I am a ‘baby boomer’ and I embrace social networking. Today Generation Y (the Millennials) make full use of social media channels. For them email is almost extinct. Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are their mainstay. They communicate, buy and sell, arrange social functions, share music, photos, and videos, on these channels.
Threatened by social media?
Social media is here to stay. Some business owners and managers feel threatened by its use at work. Is it because they do not know how it can contribute to business? Or how it can contribute within the workplace? Do businesses feel they are losing control?
Bridge the chasm
Employees are said to be a businesses ‘most valuable asset’ but are not always treated as such. Research shows that by empowering staff, by giving more responsibility, by showing trust, they will give of their best. Staff can be really creative; can usually see solutions to problems because they are at the ‘coalface’. However, because of restrictions or reporting lines, they are frustrated and so lose momentum and give up. Sometimes they become disenchanted because their managers do not listen, do not hear them. Can social media help to bridge this chasm?
Is HR getting excited about using social media?
I listened to an excellent webinar recently about how HR can influence the use of social networks in the workplace (Social media@work: Opportunity or Danger). What if staff are empowered to use social media in the workplace? They could talk directly to the managing director or other influential person; they could answer a question from a colleague working on the other side of the world; imagine the time that would be saved by using direct routes; by cutting down research time when someone else in the organisation has already invented the proverbial wheel? In the webinar a senior manager at GlaxoSmithKline talked about the time and money saved in this way – clinical trials take a lot of time and money which social networking saved!
Social networking can be used successfully within an organisation – it’s known as social enterprise. Talent can be developed through it. Knowledge can be kept alive in a business, even when people move on. It can be used for collaboration and for conversation. It can be used to empower employees, to grow businesses, to retain talent, to contribute to profit.
Embrace your people. Let them help you by using social media. But it’s also important to set out some guidelines in a policy so your employees can use social media with care. It is instant, viral and in the public eye so as soon as a message is posted it’s out there.
Do you need advice on social networking within your organisation or an internal policy?
Cecily Lalloo of Embrace HR is an HR specialist helping businesses to embrace HR because people make profits. She is particularly interested in helping business to use social enterprise to communicate and to share knowledge.
Contact Cecily Lalloo on 07767 308 717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org