Employees today, especially millennials, consider their work and careers as a key marker of who they are. Their professional and social lives are intertwined, with colleagues being friends outside work, and talking about the work and workplace within personal friend circles. And given this close connection, social engagement becomes a huge part of the employee engagement strategy. Granted social engagement might not be one of the traditional ways to engage your employees, since it extends well beyond the workplace. But when you are willing to use this informal mode of interaction to subtly align your employees to the organization, the payoff is huge.
Let’s take a look at the various ways in which social engagement can take employee engagement to a whole new level:
Social Platforms offer an informal interactive space
Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the hub of current day informal interactions. As per the Hootsuite 2017 Social Media Yearbook, there are 2.097 billion social media users globally, and your employees are among them.
What’s important to realize is that these platforms are a level field where the professionals hierarchies do not apply. It affords a peek into the personal lives of people and helps your employees discover commonalities with each other. This could be with team members, or with people from the management. It builds a level of camaraderie and trust in the social sphere that gets carried over into the professional arena. That makes for smoother interactions, better understanding, and hence improved productivity.
Even intra-organizational social platforms can be a good place for employees get to know each other better in a slightly informal environment. It gives them a space to take communications beyond the professional, and hence build better connections that translate to improved ability to work together in teams.
Social Engagement displays trust
Traditionally, organizations usually frowned upon the use of social media in any professional context, except for maybe branded social media communications. But given the rising prevalence of social media, the personal and the professional are no longer water-tight compartments and employees do talk about their work.
When organizations embrace and even encourage this fact, it displays a level of trust in your employees. The fact that you trust them enough to represent the brand positively on a public forum can act as an immense motivator. Additionally, when your brand engages with their social media activities, it portrays an image of employer-employee relationship that’s extremely attractive to new talent, and boosts the loyalty of your current employees.
Improve engagement with organizational goals
Employees are one of the best spokespeople for your organization and your brand. 92% of the people trust earned media and peer recommendations, according to a Nielsen survey. And your organizations that leverage that by building a close synergy between your brand’s social media, and your employees social media activities.
L’oreal has done this brilliantly by creating a set of branded hashtags and seamlessly weaving those into employees’ social media posts. Their employees were already talking about their work and workplace on social media and L’oreal simply decided to introduce a subtle branding that helps these social messages to align with organizational goals. So hashtags like #LifeatLoreal, #LorealPassion and #Lorealgivesback were being used by employees whenever they were posting work or engaging in L’oreal’s CSR activities.
Similarly, by giving employees the freedom to post about their work, and what they feel about the organization, employers get a huge base of user-generated social content that reflects well on your brand. This is a form of engagement that is completely voluntary and can easily by used by organizations to further their goals or attracting the right talent, and giving employees a great way to engage with organizational goals.
This translates into the workspace as well, as employees become more proactively involved in organizational activities.
As you can see, there are immense gains to be made by consciously focussing on social engagement. It’s a avenue where employee engagement is proactive and voluntary, and hence greater number of opportunities to leverage it for your organization.
Yes, it’s an idea that would definitely need some work on the part of the management to smooth out all the kinks in the execution of it. But once established, social engagement can be a key way to create an excited and highly engaged workforce.
While you put in place your ideas to engage your employees on social media platforms, Journyz can be a great starting point to create an internal social platform. As with all social platforms, it allows like-minded people from across the organization engage in causes and campaigns that they care about. Once again, by allowing employees to run the show, especially by forming campaigns, it becomes a voluntary form of employee engagement.