Gone are the days of anonymous feedback forms and unidentified staff surveys. In today’s digital world, chances are everything you need to know about how your employees are faring can be found on a public social forum. There’s no doubt they are talking, but are you listening?
One way surefire way to join the conversation is to get on board with social media. But before you launch your company’s Facebook or Twitter account; make sure you have done all the necessary planning around it.
A successful social media strategy can provide great gains – such as increased employee engagement and brand awareness – but it also comes with great risk – such as negative publicity and loss of productivity.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the slippery slopes of social media and how to use it to boost employee engagement.
- Separate the personal from the professional. Admittedly the line is becoming increasing blurred these days but it’s important to understand the difference. In many cases, employees would rather join an organisation’s Facebook group rather than accept the personal friend request of their CEO.
- Engage. Once you have opened the lines of communication, communicate. Find ways to become part of the conversation without being invasive. The goal is to connect with people.
- Act. If you come across a good idea, acknowledge the person who offered it and implement it. If you hear complaints, do something about them. If you uncover a great story, share it and give reward and recognition to those who deserve it. There’s no point listening if you have no intention of acting.
- Be authentic. Authenticity speaks volumes. Don’t just ‘pull the company line;’ your employees expect, and deserve, more from you. You will create better connections by being real and by being honest.
- Provide guidelines. Don’t expect all your employees to jump in and start using social media straight away.Provide the tools and training you would for any other organisational initiative, and support them along the way.
- Respect privacy. There is a big difference between engaging and spying. Just like in the real world, there are those of us who love the limelight and those of us who prefer to lurk in the shadows. Don’t expect to connect with everyone.
Finally, there is no doubt that social networking is revolutionising the way companies connect and communicate with employees and the public. And, unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for establishing a successful social media strategy. Our advice: Do your research to get the right results, and don’t be afraid to take a (calculated) risk.