What started as a phenomenon on a more personal level is now extending its reach to work and offices. Organisations started by using social media as a recruiting tool. But now companies are realising the importance of social media for internal communication as well. After all, the concept of 'Employee Branding' is catching up like fire in the age where people don't hesitate to express themselves.
"Many organisations are known to use social media strategies to reach out to customers and peers quite successfully. Now, communication professionals are realising that this tool can be used effectively to reach out to internal audience as well," says Sunil Goel, managing director, GlobalHunt.
According to an international survey, about 42% of employees would be happy to talk with their line manager or team leader on Facebook, and would even be comfortable tweeting the head of department or chief executive. Likewise, nearly 40% of managers would be happy to respond.
"In India sectors like Telecom, media, FMCG, Retail and IT are largely considering social media for internal communication," points out Goel.
Developing on this interest could result in enhancing internal communication, creating opportunities for innovation and knowledge sharing. However, for it to be successful, HR will have to take it up as an opportunity to persuade management to engage with employees in this "new age" way.
One of the ways this can be done is through employee blogging, encouraging employees to share ideas and giving opinions on new policies. "This tool will also ensure that every piece of communication reaches employees, which otherwise is lost through mass mails or newsletters," points out Goel.
Going forward, the line between internal and external communication will blur as social media starts to play a key part.
Here are top 5 reasons how social media will help strengthen employee communication:
* Open new feedback channels: People from across departments can share ideas and thoughts. This will bring in fresh ideas and boost creativity.
* Blur the distance: Social media will help in communicating across geographies and bring employees from different regions on the same platform. This will ensure that the message is reached to everyone in just one click.
* Breaking down hierarchies: This will encourage cross-platform communication and open office environment.
* Interactive: Without doubt the communication will be two-way, unlike through emails and newsletters. This will make employees feel like they are being heard.
* Approachability: Employees can pick and choose who and what to engage, hear what others have to say, understand a different perspective and so on.
These attributes are certainly desirable in an organisation. But, don't get carried away advises Goel. "It's important to draw a line while communicating on social media platform. Let the employees know the dos and don'ts. This will ensure that no trade secret is discussed on an open platform."
(Meghana Biwalkar, TimesJobs.com)