Rethinking social media at work

Employee Instragram | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office Kalgoorlie

Posting inappropriate memes. Instagramming lunches. Facebooking a few office selfies. Browsing instead of working. Snapchatting Sharon trying to fix the printer.

These are the events companies imagine will takeover the work day if they let employees use social media on the job. Unfortunately, for businesses that ban the use of social media in the workplace, it is likely your employees are using it regardless of your policy (after all, thanks to smartphones we all have access to Facebook, Insta & Snapchat 24×7 without reliance on the work internet connection). Instead of wasting time and energy policing social media use at work, lets take a look at how business can leverage it to their advantage.

Social media use for marketing, communication or customer services purposes is no longer the new shiny thing, it’s been here for a while and it’s here to stay.

Recently Sonia from Scribe & Social wrote this post on Elevating your Social Media, click through to learn how to create an authentic voice for your business.

When I think about the case for social media in the workplace, there are many opportunities to leverage these tools as we become a more mobile and visual workforce that is literally always on the go. Social media is poised to become the office and workplace productivity tool of choice. I see 5 genuine categories where social media can be used at work helping to improve productivity, work flow and overall communication between teams, managers and business leaders who are tasked with reaching an audience of employees who are overwhelmed, disengaged and bombarded with tasks and responsibilities more than ever before.

  • Distribution and Communication. You want to reach your audience quickly and through multiple channels to ensure that the message and information is received and mostly absorbed by your employees.  Workplace by Facebook is a tool to connect employees via IM, video chat and groups to share work related information. I was lucky enough to take a look at it in practice at a local business in Kalgoorlie not long ago and was impressed by how they were using it as a communication tool. However, social media, just like any other comms tool, quite simply, will work for some businesses and not for others. It depends on the culture, the demographic and how much you can invest into it.
  • Recruitment and Hiring. Employers should look to their current workforce first to fill job openings. What better way that setting up social media or digital communication channels for employees to receive job openings to their mobile phones via instant message, direct message or by text. Social media is also a great source for engaging candidates externally. So while we are on the subject, take a look at your business Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram pages through the eyes of a potential employee, a potential employee who’s likely to be a Millennial. Do you like what you see? Is your content a good mix of sharing what you do and a touch of the personal? Does it speak in an authentic voice? Does it speak to your demographic?
  • Research and Personal Development. Social media such as Linkedin allows you access to peers, experts and individuals providing you networking opportunities, insights into experiences and most importantly personal development.
  • Employee Recognition and Engagement. Do you give out quarterly awards for employees who go above and beyond at work? Tell your social network about it! Not only are you giving a very public shoutout to the employees in question you are actively showing employees & visitors to your pages you value your employees & the work they do. Content sharing can be really powerful for spreading your message, your employees are likely to have connections that sit within your target demographic. If you can identify the active social employees within your business and recruit them to become social media champions, they can have a huge impact on sharing content to build your brand & following.
  • Employment Branding. Social media and recruiting has evolved into almost a science where candidates are reached through campaigns just like your business marketing, except this strategy is focused on the job seeker long before they apply for a job and become a candidate. Employment branding is complex like most marketing strategies and involves an understanding of the candidate you are trying to reach, your industry and geographic locations as well as experience working in HR and recruiting. I’ve written more about employment branding here and here

The most important thing to consider with social media, is that you will only get out of it what you put in. It’s really important to listen to the conversation taking place and find ways to engage your employees, by creating and sharing relevant content.

As use of mobile technology rises, it is important for businesses to give content human appeal and make the message sound genuine. Social media isn’t rocket science but you have to try things out until you find a way that works for you.

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes. The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discus what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office