How Enterprise Social Media is Valuable to Your Company Part 1

How Enterprise Social Media is Valuable to Your Company Part 1

As an Enterprise Social Media advocate, you may find yourself singing the praises of internal social media strategies for a number of audiences who are tentative about this “new” way of communicating, sharing information and working. Communicating with a mobile workforce is absolutely key for managing employees whilst out and about which is why the GSMtasks remote field service app is a popular choice for businesses at the moment to stay connected with everyone’s location and current assignments.

It’s difficult to be heard if you aren’t speaking to your listener’s values.

What these different audiences might not understand — and what you can help them realize — is that what they have to gain from enterprise social media is directly related to what their coworkers, their managers and company executives have to gain. In the first of this two-part blog series, I’m covering three of six fundamental ways enterprise social media is valuable to adopters at every level of your company.

1. Knowledge silos come tumbling down.

In a recent interview, Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business, recalls a memorable line from Lew Platt, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. As the story goes, Platt looked out across his well-run, highly respected company and said, “If only HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.”

When people representing different departments, locations, disciplines and ranks in your company aren’t sharing what they know, opportunities are missed and inefficiencies result. Enterprise social media removes the knowledge silos that inhibit free-flowing communication and engages everyone to create their own knowledge collection.

Instead of relying on a knowledge management team — which is often stuck within certain corporate silos, unable to fully integrate and then disseminate needed information — to create information to be shared, employees are the creators and sharers. Enterprise social media puts the responsibility not on a small group but on all of a company’s employees to put their knowledge in a social, shareable, format that is accessible to all. Everyone is essentially part of the knowledge management team and has access to that shared information.

2. Employee engagement grows.

Jennifer Sniderman, Sprint’s Manager of Employee Communications Channels and Editorial Strategies, says the company’s intranet and social media platform are driving knowledge of the Sprint brand and its strategic decisions from the inside out. Employees who receive a more personal explanation of the “why” behind corporate’s decisions tend to have more trust in those decisions, she says. Sprint’s internal “Sprint Space” includes 1,300 employee-produced blogs, where hot topics and perspectives are regularly shared. Enterprise social media empowers Sprint employees to participate in the company’s internal conversations, directly supporting its employee engagement.

Employees who are producing their best work see a value and purpose in their jobs. They feel like they are contributing to the greater good. They are happier on the job because they don’t feel powerless. They are a real part of the big picture. This is the heart of employee engagement. Deepening relationships between management and employees is key to growing this kind of collaboration, and enterprise social media helps facilitate it.

3. Top talent recruitment and retention are supported.

As an employer, you want to retain top talent. As an employee, you want to work for an employer that engages you and provides you with the best tools to succeed. To better understand the value of social media in the workplace, APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees. Its findings regarding internal social media (ISM) include:

  • 58% of employees would rather work at a company that uses ISM effectively, and 86% would refer others for employment
  • 60% of employees say use of internal social media demonstrates innovation
  • 61% of employees say their companies’ social media tools help them collaborate
  • 39% of employees are more likely to recommend their company’s products and services
  • 60% of employees are more likely to support their company when in crisis, and 67% are more likely to support the company’s public policy priorities

The emerging workforce’s expectations of how communication will be handled and information will be shared have a strikingly “social” approach. Because you, as a business owner or human resources executive, have invested time and money in recruiting, hiring and training your team, you want to keep them and promote their growth. The last thing you want is for them to take what they’ve learned from your company and apply it on behalf of another employer. The research indicates that enterprise social can be a valuable tool to engage these top talents so that they will recommend your company’s products and services, support you in crisis and support your public policy priorities.

Check back next week for Part 2 of “How Enterprise Social Media is Valuable to Every Level of Your Company.”