Nearly half of all U.S. companies still ban workers from using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn while on the job. However, the 100 Best Companies to Work For embrace social media, going so far as to allow their employees to represent their brand online, resolve customers issues, and create online content.
Even highly regulated organizations like Mayo Clinic, Deloitte and USAA are able to reap the benefits of social media while many of their peers are still fretting over IT challenges, security concerns and productivity loss. If your organization isn't using social media for employee communication, here are 10 reasons to reconsider:
1. Unlock Institutional Knowledge and Expertise -- Internal blogs, forums and social networks allow organizations to unlock institutional knowledge by allowing employees to share questions, answers, and valuable information in open forums rather than the confines of email, where only a few people benefit from shared information. Employees can stay abreast of the most up-to-date information and employers can identify staff needs.
2. Unleash Creativity, Diverse Thinking and Innovation -- Constant idea sharing in a cutting-edge environment creates a culture of innovation and collaboration. Social media allows organizations to easily conduct virtual brainstorms and focus groups by tapping into a broad base of diverse thinking and creativity.
3. Generate Leads and Revenue -- Sharing marketing messages and offers with employees in easy-to-pass-along formats can help employees accurately advocate for your products and services, generate leads, and boost the bottom line.
4. Improve Speed, Agility and Efficiency -- The ability to communicate with employees in real time can help organizations educate employees, distribute facts, quash misinformation, and respond to urgent employee needs. This speed is especially critical for crisis communications -- both inside and outside your organization.
5. Strengthen Culture and Employee Camaraderie -- Frequent and timely communication helps employees stay plugged into what's going on in the organization. The ability to connect employees with similar talents and interests can also build stronger working relationships.
6. Reduce Costs and Increase Productivity -- Effective use of social media can eliminate unnecessary paper, printing and postage, while helping employees interact more efficiently.
7. Eliminate Regional and Global Communication Barriers -- Social media helps employees communicate beyond borders and time zones, eliminating silos among departments and geographically dispersed teams.
8. Make Information Mobile -- Mobile-friendly communication allows organizations to communicate with employees anytime, anywhere, which can be particularly useful for a workforce that is frequently on the move or without computer access.
9. Retain and Recruit Top Talent -- Social media allows you to communicate more effectively with the next generation of employees -- namely Millennials -- for whom social media is standard practice.
10. Lead With Clear Communication -- All organizations must continually reinforce their missions, values and strategies to rally employees around a common cause. Social media provides endless opportunities to motivate employees in fresh and creative ways.
Engaged employees are a competitive advantage in any industry, going above and beyond to make a measurable difference in their organizations. Whether your organization is undergoing changes, launching new products or services, or rethinking how you do business, make sure you are maximizing your internal communication efforts to support your business goals.
Follow Paula Berg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/paulaberg