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Why social media is key to keeping employees engaged at work

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Nathan Resnick
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Nathan Resnick

Nathan is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world's top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to… (show all) Nathan is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world's top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to turn ideas into realities.

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When it comes to social media and the workplace, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are typically viewed as distractions, rather than assets. However, when used properly, social media can become an invaluable tool for keeping employees more engaged, happy and connected at work.

While companies certainly need to enforce set guidelines for personal social media use in the workplace, business-oriented usage can ultimately help business owners get better results from their team — here’s how.

Substituting emails

There are already many social media platforms specifically geared for use in the office. Facebook Workplace, Slack, and Basecamp are just a few of the networks designed to help employees communicate and collaborate on work-related projects.

This makes it much easier to ensure that important messages don’t slip through the cracks. Studies have found that the average employee has 199 unread emails in their inbox.

Needless to say, it is all too easy for messages to get lost in the clutter. Social media messaging, on the other hand, provides an interface that many users are more comfortable with, allowing for faster and more efficient communication.

In fact, a study from McKinsey found that the use of social platforms could increase workplace productivity by an average of 20 to 25 percent by reducing time spent reading and answering emails and gathering project information.

Similarly, a Facebook Workplace case study for Volkswagen Group Ireland noted that substituting emails with social media communications improved efficiency by replacing large distribution lists and ensuring that messages were only sent to targeted, relevant groups.

As a result, 95 percent of the company’s employees now use the platform.

A platform for praise

Employees need some level of recognition for doing their job well.

According to Gallup, “Recognition for good work releases dopamine in the brain, which creates feelings of pride and pleasure. Better yet, that dopamine hit cements the knowledge that more of that behavior will create more praise, resulting in another dopamine drench, and so on. This is why positive reinforcement works so well, even among animals.”

These positive feelings result in increased engagement and satisfaction at work, leading to increased productivity and reduced turnover — major issues that have a direct impact on the profit margin. Social media provides a great avenue for sharing praise, especially in larger organizations.

One company that does this particularly well is Royal Ambulance. The emergency medical services (EMS) company uses Facebook Workplace to increase employee engagement, and much of this is done through public praise. EMTs are encouraged to praise their partners on the platform each week, resulting in a system that helps all feel appreciated for their work.

Thanks to this high social engagement, 55 percent of the company’s new hires come from employee referrals. On top of that, CEO Steve Grau was recently ranked #25 on Glassdoor’s Top CEOs of 2019 for small- to medium-sized businesses.

A better teaching tool

In many work environments, social media can also serve as a helpful tool for reinforcing company culture and values, as well as educating employees to improve their work output.

Gamification has become a popular social media teaching tool, with products like Punchball and Badgeville using contests and challenges with prizes and scoring metrics to increase engagement.

Such tools provide a fun, interactive environment that educates employees and motivates them to do even better at their job. In one case study, the company LiveOps used a gaming app that rewarded employees for key activities such as completing additional training and meeting key performance indicators for call time and quality.

As reported by Fast Company, the results spoke for themselves: “Participating agents outperformed peers by 23 percent in average call-handle time and boosted customer satisfaction by 9 percent.” By turning something routine like training or goal setting into an interactive social experience, employees become far more engaged.

Turn employees into advocates

As previously noted in the example of Royal Ambulance, social media provides the perfect platform for your current employees to become active proponents of your brand.

Encouraging employees to share their work experiences on social media allows them to take greater ownership in their workplace participation. When done right, employees can help share content, provide a helpful response to customers or even assist in recruiting.

Of course, such activities will need some guidance.

As Ritika Puri has previously written for The Next Web, “An employee social media policy should be clear about the compliance policies and laws that govern your industry. Financial services and other regulated companies need to ensure that their employees are compliant with the law. For companies with complicated legal considerations and sensitive data, this level of structure is crucial.”

This doesn’t mean that you should try to dictate everything employees do when talking about your brand in a public-facing social media setting. You should allow them to be authentically themselves. However, giving some guidance will help you avoid public relations mishaps and other potential social media problems.

Get social

While encouraging social media use may not seem like the best way to improve workplace productivity, the right implementation can make all the difference for your brand.

By thinking outside the normal confines of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can find ways to help your team become more engaged and efficient, ensuring greater results for your brand in the future.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

Published July 11, 2019 — 19:21 UTC