Six reasons not to ban social media at work
Social media can boost culture and collaboration, and give your business a competitive edge. Here are six compelling reasons why your organisation should plug into social networks
Social media can boost culture and collaboration, and give your business a competitive edge.
Employers can be quick to crack down on social media at work when they are looking for a quick boost to improve employee productivity or to prevent adverse publicity.
But with an estimated 40% of people worldwide now actively using social media platforms, we’re rapidly reaching the point where their use should be accepted – and embraced – as a normal part of doing business.
Here are six ways that social media can benefit your organisation.
1. It can improve your organisation’s culture
Encouraging people to interact with each other via a social media platform – such as Yammer or Workplace by Facebook – is a great way to create a cohesive culture and boost morale in the workplace wherever they are.
New starters can easily start to get a picture of the organisation and talk to employees from any department though an online network. Profile photos allow new members of staff to put names to faces and find out what their new colleagues do and where they are located.
Senior leaders and managers can also use such networks to engage with staff by sharing regularly updates, information, and good news. Doing this frequently, online, is often more effective and less disruptive than holding an all-staff meeting once a quarter. Choosing to include images and video with posts adds another dimension to updates, too.
2. It can create advocates out of your employees
Think about how often you’ve been influenced to purchase a product, try a new restaurant, or read an article because of a recommendation or post you’ve seen on a social media platform. It’s probably pretty often – and possibly even multiple times a day.
Employees who talk about their (hopefully positive) experiences working at your organisation become advocates for your organisation, contributing to your employer brand. And don’t just take our word for it – here are some compelling statistics:
- 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, according to a study by LinkedIn
- Fewer than half (49%) of employees would recommend their organisation to a friend, according to 2015 Glassdoor research
- More than two-thirds (69%) of people would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation – even if they were unemployed
- The majority (84%) of workers would consider leaving their jobs if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation
3. It encourages collaboration
Although many assume that social media is only for non-work-related interactions, platforms that are designed especially for use in workplaces often contain useful tools that aid collaboration and productivity.
Social media encourages collaboration, the ability to share data in any form, quickly and easily (and often for free), with a large number of people or specific teams, means platforms such as Slack and Google Hangouts are invaluable tools for collaborative projects.
Because social media channels can be used in any location and on any device, staff can keep in touch with each other whenever or wherever they are working – improve productivity, ensuring projects stay on tracking, and enabling flexible and remote working.
4. It’s good for business
If your business relies on personal networks to succeed, then you’ll want your staff to be on social media channels:
- networking with key contacts,
- sniffing out sales opportunities, and
- identifying industry superstars who should be on your ‘must-hire’ list
is good for business.
To grow a business, everyone needs to have the trust, ability and tools necessary to do so. If a company is completely insular, then it will be quickly surpassed by its competitors that are embracing new technologies and strategies using social media.
Of course, there is always the risk that employees will be networking with alternative employers, but this will happen regardless of whether or not you’re embracing social media as a networking medium.
It’s essential that you trust your staff, and have an adult relationship with them, if you are going to embrace social media.
5. It can help you recruit better staff, more quickly
Social media recruitment is not only a highly effective way to attract top talent to your brand, it also reduces recruiting costs.
With free access to passive and active job seekers, it’s easy for HR teams to build a talent pool of candidates that it can draw on, rather than having to use expensive agencies.
Encourage your staff to share and promote vacancies through social media and you’ll broaden your potential reach even further.
By allowing your employees to share and promote vacancies through social media, you can tap into their networks and attract a greater number of applicants to choose from. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of recruiters rate candidates sourced from social networks as ‘highest quality’ candidates, according to a 2014 survey by Jobvite.
If you have an online recruitment portal, it’s easy for your employees to direct interested candidates to an online recruitment portal to begin the process. Social media can also form part of the onboarding process, enabling new employees to learn about your organisation and its employees before their first day.
6. Social media provides a window into the future
Allowing employees to monitor and engage with external social media conversations is a great way to ensure that you’re always aware of future trends and opportunities. Social media increases engagement and is often the first place for new ideas and shared news; keeping abreast of these can differentiate your organisation from your competition.
Encouraging your employees to share interesting news, with the relevant people within the business, improves your ability to be agile and creative. Social media will also provide you with an insight into what developments your competitors are promoting or conducting market research about, which is invaluable intelligence for your organisational strategy.
This article was first published in January 2016. It was updated in October 2022 for freshness, accuracy and clarity.