Senior leaders should embrace not fear workplace social media

Employers are afraid to use social media in the workplace and those that do are doing so badly. However, these ten good practice points can make it a success.

Good social media use can help senior leaders in several ways, including improving workplace culture, giving employees a voice and understanding workforce concerns.

A guide published by workplace concilatory service Acas found where social networks were used at work, few staff said it was done so effectively, to share knowledge or ideas or to access the employee voice.

Instead many employers did not yet see the relevance for workplace social media, many managers were concerned about time-wasting and the impact on productivity, and there were big concerns around its potential misuse.

To alleviate this and encourage employee engagement, Acas has published a guide to social media in the workplace which includes ten good practice recommendations.

Written by and based upon research conducted by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), the Acas Going Digital? Harnessing Social Media for Employee Voice report, urged employers to use new technology as fully as possible to support employees’ voice.

The report added that enterprise social networks were very promising tools which offered huge potential and could help transform how organisations communicate with staff, how they involved them, how they collaborated and innovated.

But warned this potential seemed to be largely under-used.

“Few employers are using social media internally for voice, and where they are, success has been limited,” it said.

“There are strong signs that where employers are using enterprise social networks, they are doing so in a way which doesn’t go with the grain of the technology. They are using a modern tool, designed for networking and open-communication, bottom-up, user-generated content, in a more traditional way, which is top -down and controlled.

“If employers wish to get the best out of social media and unleash its potential, they should use it in a way that matches the technology’s capabilities, and ensure it is part of a wider approach to supporting voice at work,” it added.

 

Ten good practice recommendations were included for successfully implementing a social network in the workplace. They are:

  • Have a positive culture of employee voice
  • Integrate with other voice platforms
  • Show leadership – the role of senior managers and champions
  • Trust your employees
  • Develop a social media policy
  • Create a safe space
  • Act on employees’ contributions
  • Deal positively with negative comments
  • Focus on the purpose of the organisation
  • Work towards achieving critical mass

 

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