Working Socially - Nine Ways to Set the Agenda and Leverage Social Media in the Workplace
Smart companies are putting social media to
use, not fighting it – because it’s a powerful way to connect with people inside the company and to connect with external stakeholders. This ebook is showing you 9 ways how to do it.
THE SOCIAL BAROMETERWe surveyed 168,000
people in in 30 countries about their use of social media in the workplace. 35% 24% 30% % who communicate by % who think it’s acceptable to use social media to % who use social media in their job searching smart phone, worldwide communicate with friends/colleagues about work more than newspapers or online job boards 43% 47% 75-90% % who say social media has affected % who worry that use of social media at work, % of companies who use social media their productivity at work for personal reasons, will lead to problems to recruit, depending on the region
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COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA,THINK DIRECTION, NOT CONTROLTwo worlds have collided: the personal and has grown up with browsers and portable They have also come to recognize that This brings us to the two obvious risksthe professional. The widespread use of technology accessible day and night. From broadcast communication can be supported by in the social–professional mix: workersocial media by the general public is on a internet forums and blogs to social networks of or even replaced with social tools, internally or distraction and corporate over-reaction.permanent trajectory, and it has streamed every stripe, the latest wave of workers sees no externally. Even advertising has become a two- Users of social media see it as a personal toolinto the professional workplace. Use of need to leave tools or communication habits way street, if not a multi-lane, social highway. for sharing and communicating. If you try tosocial media across an individual’s personal at home. Not surprisingly, the established After we asked the opinions of nearly 170,000 remove these tools, many feel their rightsnetworks is now competing with formal, cadre of workers, Generation X (born between survey participants in 30 countries, it’s clear are being infringed upon. Nearly a third ofbusiness-oriented social communications 1964 and 1981) and the Baby Boomers (born that the presence of social media is survey participants believe it’s acceptableon company-branded properties. Not between 1946 and 1963), are slower to accept something to manage or direct, not to fear. to use social media for personal reasons atonly is there concern for the proper use of the personal use of social media at work. Social media started as a primary impetus work. On the geographical dimension,employees’ time while at work, but also for That said, this more mature demographic is behind describing and sharing, online, the 48 percent of Asia-Pacific participants findtheir possible conflicting and competing now showing the most rapid growth rate. details of daily life. Now social media is it acceptable to do personal socializingmessaging within the same channels. Many companies began pushing their messages sparking new ways of thinking about work, via technology during working hours. YetSimply put, within the social space, informal to customers through social mechanisms doing work, and taking care of customers. For despite the social media rights viewpoint,conversations are bumping into formal ones. around 2005. Now they realize that social corporate organizations, the potential of social 47 percent of all participants, acrossThe emerging generation of workers, communication is a way of life in charting media could be viewed as one of the most generations and geography, worryGeneration Y (born between 1982 and 1995), employee-related strategies and protocols. useful phenomenon of online innovations. that the social–professional boundary
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COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA,THINK DIRECTION, NOT CONTROL continuedcrossing might cause problems at work. the third alternative, our preference. Says use, not fighting it – because it’s a powerfulAnd it goes both ways; 56 percent of all Kelly CEO Carl Camden, “By establishing basic way to connect with people inside the companyparticipants believe that access to their guard-rails around social media, companies and to connect with external stakeholders.social pages is not their employers’ right. can dramatically accelerate the speed at which Besides, even if you prevent social media use their teams can safely operate … helping them on company equipment, your employees willMany companies continue to view social respond to the market faster than ever before.” connect through their own tools like personalmedia as something they must regulate. A smartphones. However, to counter socialmore pragmatic viewpoint suggests another Embracing the concept of a social business media’s strong power to distract, companiespath: the use of social media in the workplace and constructing it requires strategic must set the tone by proactively developingis best considered in terms of responsibility attention. The process is a matter of and implementing social policies, strategies– neither a right nor a cause for restriction. degree – the difference between setting and their supporting tactics. Also, to stand direction and resorting to command andCorporate leaders have three options. They any chance of success, these initiatives must control, the process of converging personalcan let the collision follow an unguided course. directly relate to the organization’s business rights and management responsibility.They can look at it as a problem and implement strategies and must be fully supported andaggressive blockades to tackle it. Or there’s Smart companies are putting social media to funded by the executive leadership team.
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find common groundIt would be easy to conclude that using social use of social media in their individual work Combining both can lead to a powerful can serve existing standards, rather thenmedia at work is more popular with younger environments. advantage for an organization. It’s wise to avoid threatening them.workers or workers in emerging economies the classic mistake of employing younger, green 3 Directly align the social strategy with By fostering work experiences – on projects business objectives. This provides for abecause they “get” smart technology or employees to manage corporate communities and in targeted customer relationships – that stronger, longer-term strategy and helpsbecause mobile tools are the only resources without the overseeing eye of an employee incorporate a role for social media and establish prevent organizations from becoming toothey have for communication. But every year, wise in the art of professional communication. the parameters, companies can set a foundation socially tactical and prevents the urge tothe use of smart technology and visits to social for the wise, productive use of social media on To begin putting social media use in the context chase every new social item on the horizon.media sites are growing exponentially among terms that satisfy management and workers of of workplace experience, companies can take 4 Participate on social networks with aBaby Boomers. So why do we have such a big all backgrounds. As workers witness the impact five actions. branded presence and integrate socialdivide when it comes to opinions about using of their influence on the company’s use of 1 Manage the initial disruption. Establish networks into branded web sites. Thesesocial media at work? social media, and as they see in front of them a social media-use policy to protect both efforts should directly support the corporateThe digital divide in the workplace pertains not concrete examples of professionalism, their employees and the corporate brand from objectives (i.e. serve the company’s sales,only to the adoption of social media and smart social energy will shift to more professional issues ranging from simple embarrassment to marketing, customer service, recruiting andtechnology but also to the norms around what pursuits while they’re at work. A balance can disruptive legal actions. media strategies).people consider appropriate working behavior. be found with the younger worker sharing 2 Involve employees of all experience 5 Empower employees to share relevantThis is an experience gap, and employers can their knowledge of social media and the more levels in a review of company ethics company content within their networks.close it by setting priorities and establishing mature worker sharing their knowledge of Define a simple process that allows people and performance standards. Guideprocesses that clarify what is the appropriate professional and appropriate communication. to engage. employees in exploring how social media
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Build a toolkitIndicating social media progress, only they’re not just waiting it out or hoping it In these early years of social media 5 Explain good sense and sharing examples12 percent of survey participants said goes away. policy-setting, 10 best practices of industry and corporate best practicestheir companies still ban the use of social have emerged: 6 State both the risk and rewards of specificmedia outright. Successful companies make the social 1 Address the real-time nature of behaviors media policy the heart of the toolkit, communicating 7 Update the policy regularly andWhen a company stops looking at the 2 Consider the abundance of channels communicate those updates establishing general use guidelines andsocial–professional collision as war, it signals available 8 Clarify that employees have a stake in the standards. The best policies link directly toits acknowledgement of the fact that social 3 Articulate how specific social media success of the policy by setting guidelines business strategy and organization culture,media is not only here to stay but can be a channels support the company’s business for how employees can listen and respond emphasizing what employees can do, notstrong asset. With the elimination of the and strengthen customer and community to company activity on social networks just what they cannot. Strong policieswar context, changing internal nomenclature relationships 9 Give examples of positive and negative usefrom “arsenal” to “toolkit”, companies can are inclusive and leverage employees as 4 Clarify the parameters for using company of social mediaexplore the uses of social media in real time, advocates, thereby allowing the company equipment and social media accounts (while 10 Be prepared for what will go publicallydemonstrating that while they may still be to scale social tactics across their employees’ being aware of and not violating freedom of wrong. Think social triage.learning how to fully leverage social tools, social networks. speech and labor laws)
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Set boundariesBoundaries between companies, their With nearly half of all survey participants of the defined scope of appropriateemployees, suppliers and customers will expressing concern about mixing personal information sharing (as explained in the In the socially connectedcontinue to blur. At the same time, hierarchies and professional social media contacts and social media policy), you can expect a workplace, the boundariesare flattening, so employees are taking a channels, it’s clear that the desire for boundaries reaction that may include employment must be fluid and usedbigger role in organizing themselves into cross- is not the issue; it’s how to set them. termination. to empower employees,functional teams. 3 Company equipment is for company not limit them There’s nothing better for dealing with shifting activity and therefore can be monitored.In managing these shifts, companies are boundaries than to create new ones. But in Assume that’s the case.equipping employees to access corporate the socially connected workplace, the 4 Personality is fine; getting personal is not.knowledge and experience in a self-directed boundaries must be fluid and used to empower 5 Here is what we – managers andmanner. However, companies should expect employees, not limit them. Begin by setting employees – consider “too muchemployees to turn to each other informally expectations and then get down to specifics. information”. (Provide pertinent andand to external online sources both to educate Here are a few examples. specific examples)themselves and to share their opinions. All 1 With rights come responsibilities. If yougenerations value having unencumbered access want this, then you are responsible for that.to information, colleagues and friends. 2 When you share anything that falls outside
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capitalize on cultural differencesGeographic location clearly bears on the way the fact is, large migrant populations are 2 Visa requirements set high standards forcompany cultures absorb social media activity. entering workforces far from their native lands skill, experience and even education levels. In the Asia Pacific,In the Asia Pacific, workers are three times more – bringing cultural habits, including their use Combined with the fact that these workers workers are three timeslikely than in the Americas to approve of the and perceptions of social media, with them. are digital natives, recognize that they could more likely than in thepersonal use of social media at work – yet they Apart from studying and benchmarking cultural share valuable best practices for managing Americas to approvedon’t want or expect surveillance. Workers in practices, companies can do three things to time and relationships via digital means. personal use of socialother parts of the world may use social media capitalize on cultural differences. 3 The non-native worker’s state of media at work—yetat work, and they would be surprised if their 1 Use the fact that many non-native connectedness means they’re they don’t want orcompanies didn’t take a peek. workers are comfortable accessing and connected to their native markets. This expect surveillance sharing information, so they can provide knowledge and these relationships haveCompanies that hire only in their resident rich experiential data about social media inherent value to employers seeking tocountries may believe they are immune understand multicultural markets – as well channels and habits. as expanding globally.from the impact of findings like these, but
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Invigorate your trainingCompanies continue to make significant learning from each other. It should, in fact, highly skilled workers with access to each other,investments in professional development and enhance it. For at least the next two decades, producing innovative solutions that increase the Learning via social mediatraining. For many of these organizations, social learning methods will level the playing company’s value to all its stakeholders. should never replace theit is the equivalent of military boot camp, field between workers of different experience practice of workers learning A quality training course would include theacculturating employees into “the company levels. Experienced workers may share from each other. It should, following basic elements:way” – from product development to customer company, customer and industry knowledge in fact, enhance it 1 Stay current – with constant changes inservice methodology. with new staff, and new staff will demonstrate social media a corporation’s training will the real-time capacity of using social media to quickly become dated.As a burgeoning element of corporate culture exchange ideas, communicate with customers 2 Use examples – the use of overarchingnow worthy of policy and strategic attention, and capture industry practices from anywhere examples can provide guidance withsocial media has a place in the corporate in the world. more longevity.training manual too – not only as a subject, 3 Leverage what’s already available – manybut as a teaching channel. Companies need to By eliminating physical and temporal social networks provide in-depth help.find the middle ground between a boot camp constraints, learning via social media can help Don’t reinvent the wheel.mentality and a college campus style of training. companies concentrate worker learning on 4 Global corporations need training that expertise and data, and possibly move away includes the diverse social channels they’llLearning via social media – social learning – from legacy modes of learning based on use around the world.should never replace the practice of workers top-down decision-making. The result will be
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dig a productivity channelIn a perfect world, the corporate use of social work requires giving them a reason to use social through social media, especially as theymedia fuels effective, timesaving interaction not media for productivity. This is the bridge to relate to internal knowledge sharing, sales Getting workers to managejust between workers but between the company the state of transformation that will benefit the and customer relations. their personal time withand its suppliers, customers and influencers. company as well the workers. 4 Use analytics to capture how social media social media to minimize 1 Identify workers at every level – executives, is helping the company improve. Share the distraction requires givingForty-seven percent of the survey participants managers, staff – who are using social media data. them a reason to use socialworry that their use of social media at work, correctly. Give them a company platform that 5 Reinforce the positive intersection of media for productivityfor personal reasons, will lead to problems. enables them to set an example. personal and professional use of socialForty-three percent report that social media has 2 Ask these workers to share their tips for media. They are not diametrically opposed;already negatively affected their productivity. using social media at work, including how to they just need to be intelligently andGetting workers to manage their personal time manage their personal time. proactively directed.with social media to minimize distraction at 3 Look for ways to improve work processes
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recast employees as messengersPeople have always discussed their work representing the company. Employees are no differentiate you in the marketplacewith the expectation that the conversation’s longer just assets, they comprise a primary 4 Connect employees to current company Employees are no longerreach would be limited to the recipient or the conduit to the marketplace. thought leaders, and put their own thought just assets, they compriserecipient’s network if they chose to repeat the leadership in the spotlight. a primary conduit to It’s time to equip employees for the branddiscussion. However, social media makes it very 5 Back up the company’s own socially- the marketplace ambassador role. based interaction with employees witheasy now for one message, however private 1 Think about the employee persona that offline activities that are already a part of theor momentary, to be repeated on a very large depicts the company’s culture, product and company’s culture.scale. Add to this the indexing and search services authentically, compelling interest 6 Remind workers that every encounter isability of the message and it takes on an entire and loyalty from customers and other an opportunity to connect – make it alife of its own. employees. Give this persona a voice by positive connection.Nearly a quarter of survey participants report giving employees content they can use in 7 Above all, remind employees to listen firstthat they think it is acceptable to use social describing the company and their roles in it. and then talk only when they have engagingmedia to communicate with friends and 2 Consider ways to enable employees to and relevant content to share. Nobodycolleagues about work. The fact is, employees vent with each other within the company’s likes a person who constantly talks aboutare now company messengers. And even for own walls so that they don’t feel the need to themselves without regard to the ongoingthe employees who confine their personal use do it via public channels. conversation; the same holds true onof social media to non-work hours, if they’re 3 Create new mechanisms for employees to social media.talking about work, they are, to some extent, create and share company content. It will
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expand your tribeIt’s no surprise that within business strategy a hiring decision. Yet 30 percent of participants Various forms of social media can be useddiscussions there is some contradictory dialogue also state they use social media in their job to showcase the company, search for and Various forms of socialabout the use of social media. While people searching, more than newspapers or even engage with candidates. For forward-looking media can be used toare moving increasingly online to look for work, online job boards. companies, these efforts can also be tied to showcase the company,they don’t like the idea of potential or current onboarding and training employees – and search for and engage withemployers studying their social media moves. Somewhere between 75 and 90 percent of connecting them to one another to extend the candidates and screen them companies use social media to recruit workers. corporate culture to decentralized employees.Only around one third of survey participantsthink a current employer should look at an A company’s social media presence can in factemployee’s social network pages – or that a be a strong point of differentiation from itsprospective employer should use them to make competitors.
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Feed your customersEvery company wants to be close to its taking care of them, too. Workers see their 1 Begin with the company’s valuecustomers. Until social media knocked on success tied to that of their companies. They proposition. Use social media to ask Companies have begunthe enterprise door, companies studied their understand that customers do business online, customers, creatively, what they want, need to listen to customers as acustomers in the context of the products and so they expect to see companies living there, and expect and where the company adds way not just to get close toservices they were selling. When conducting beyond transactions alone. value to their lives – not just their wallets and them, but to help defineresearch and tests, companies more often than the specific problem a product or service products and servicesnot put potential and established products in How a social media presence aligns with addresses. For example, if customers valuefront of customers to see what they thought. the company’s business strategies, cultural sustainable business practices, they willNow, personal technology has put customers values and customer priorities is important want to know if the company employs them.at least at pace with product and service to workers. More and more, workers see This may not be immediately traceable viainnovation, if not ahead of it. So companies their companies as communities populated product information or pricing; social mediahave begun to listen to customers as a way not with suppliers, customers, shareholders and is an excellent way to share information traditional media. about sustainability.just to get close to them, but to help define 2 Ask good questions. Always express theproducts and services – social innovation. Alignment with this community is often best answers in the customer’s terms.Workers are well aware of the importance expressed in social media, and workers can 3 Use what employees know – from theirof having a home on the social networks, shepherd it along. If companies feed their own experiences as customers – to createand not just for listening to customers but for customers, they feed their employees, too. hallmarks of the company’s brand.