Yammer, Jostle, Bitrix24. They might all sound like metallic combatants from Robot Wars but they are, in fact, social networking platforms used by employers to encourage colleagues to communicate with each other.
In an age of tweets, posts and likes, adapting social media for the corporate environment makes perfect sense, especially when the latest generation of workers have grown up with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And social networking platforms can prove a great way for staff to share knowledge with each other, whether it’s about a new project, effective ways of working, or giving presentations.
Social networking platforms can also serve as an effective channel for senior management looking to engage front-line staff, while employees might use such platforms to create communities for chatting with like-minded colleagues – they could be for a book club, running group or five-a-side football team.
Yet convincing employees to use social networking platforms can prove difficult. Just because employees use social media outside work doesn’t mean they’ll want to use it inside work. And, done the wrong way, there’s a danger that a workplace social networking platform comes across as the corporate equivalent of a dad dancing at a disco.
Another problem is time. In busy corporate environments, workers might feel that they cannot afford to spend time posting on corporate social networks when they’ve got reports to write, meetings to attend and emails to reply to. Then there are those who have the time and the inclination to chat via such platforms but worry their line manager will see their posts and wonder why they’re not spending that time doing ‘real work’.
So how can organisations convince overcome these obstacles to staff uptake of social networking platforms? Promoting the platforms in a way that excites employees, and reassures them that engaging in such platforms should be integral to their job, is essential if people are to embrace corporate social media. Another solution is to hold a ‘jam’ – an online conversation that takes place over a handful of days. A growing number of organisations are holding jams, which see staff log on and join conversation streams on everything from company strategy to work-life balance. Members of senior management teams often join these debates, creating an engaging event in which most employees feel comfortable taking part. Jams can be an effective way of finding out what staff think, as well as for generating ideas for business opportunities and improving the way organisations work. They’re also a great example of organisations learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to harnessing the power of social media in a corporate environment. As is often the case with communications channels, it’s not what you use but how you use them. If you’re interested in learning how you can take advantage of new internal communications channels, get in touch with us at email@example.com
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