The UK currently faces what can only be described as a productivity crisis. Our productivity rates per worker are the lowest of the G7 and while we have experienced some growth this year it has been sluggish at best with an increase in output of just 0.2% per employee per hour. While there are a number of contributing factors behind this, the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, has cited poor management practices as the biggest culprit.
While managers likely have their own opinions, it nonetheless behoves them to find new ways to engage employees to improve productivity and close the productivity gap. And this means embracing practices that might seem out of left field… like not only permitting but encouraging social media use at work.
Here are some ways in which you can leverage social media to improve engagement, thereby increasing productivity and profitability.
Encourage employees to engage with your business’ social media presence
Your employees bring value to your business in a multitude of ways every single day. They showcase the ideals and values that make your company stand out amongst the competition. They embody your customer service policies and training in their interactions with your clientele. Their ideas and contributions help to shape your company and allow it to stay agile in a fast-changing and volatile market.
But when it comes to social media, they can also contribute in another way. They can act as both advocates and ambassadors for your brand. If you encourage and incentivise them to share cool stuff about your company on social media, inform their friends and family of your special offers or even write a review of you as an employer on a platform like GlassDoor, they are building value in your brand throughout and beyond their own social circle.
Of course, this shouldn’t be something they’re strong-armed into doing. The surest way to encourage this is by adhering to the policies and principles that your employees genuinely believe in and/or are passionate about.
Establish a clear voice using social media for your company
Who’s in charge of generating and posting your social content? Is it the responsibility of one individual? Or a team? Or is anyone free to post on the company account? Being an active contributor to your business’ social presence can help employees to feel like a part of your company rather than a worker drone, so there are many good reasons to democratise access to your accounts.
However, it’s a good idea to have clear, fair and consistent guidelines in terms of who posts, how often and exactly what can be posted. Outline a clear “voice” for the company’s social presence and explain the specific aims of the company’s presence on various platforms. All contributions should be in line with those aims. Make sure everyone understands and is accountable for fair acceptable use and that everyone knows how to handle minor crises like customer complaints on social platforms.
When employees understand your business’ social media guidelines (or, better yet, have a hand in shaping it) they can make contributions while understanding that their voice is the voice of the company.
Perpetuate a great workplace culture through social media practices
Your brand is at the heart of everything you do. And your workplace should encourage employees to perpetuate everything that makes your business what it aspires to be.
That means creating a workplace culture that celebrates togetherness while valuing individuality. A culture that ensures that employee achievements are celebrated with pride. A culture that ensures each and every member of the team knows that the company’s success is their success.
Make your employees visible to your clientele on your social channels. Show them how much their contributions and talents are valued. Allow them to see how their efforts and endeavours are actively shaping the company.
A growing proportion of the workforce now values company culture over monetary compensation. Through your social platforms, you can show the workforce (and the world) exactly what your workplace culture values and celebrates.
Gamify their knowledge of products and policies
Many employers place a blanket ban on social media use in the workplace because they worry that the use of games and discourse on social platforms can become productivity-sapping distractions. But there are also forward-thinking companies who understand the value of using social media to better improve employee’s knowledge of the products they sell and the policies they uphold through gamification.
Through games, quizzes and daily challenges, employees can take a quick break from the daily grind while actually improving their knowledge and engagement with your company. Of course, this works best if you introduce a competitive element and share and celebrate high scores. As we’ll discuss in more detail shortly, recognition and encouragement mean a lot to your team members. When you share and celebrate their achievements with the rest of the workforce, this can actually be more meaningful to them than giving them bonuses and monetary incentives.
Use work specific social platforms to facilitate employee recognition
Finally, social platforms can be a great way to promote employee recognition. In fact, there are specific platforms that are designed to do exactly that. They look just like existing social platforms and have similar UX but they exist for the sole purpose of celebrating employees’ achievements and helping them to feel recognised and valued.
When asked how their employers could improve engagement, 58% of professionals pointed to employee recognition practices. These platforms allow managers to share and celebrate the achievements and successes of employees and allow their peers to like and comment on these posts. This can be a huge confidence booster and promote a feeling of engagement and belonging at work.
That said, while 28% of the most memorable recognition comes from an employee’s manager, peer recognition is also extremely important. These platforms allow employees to share one another’s accomplishments, congratulate each other for hitting targets, nominate each other for awards and share their own authentic stories to influence and inspire their peers.
While social media use in the workplace certainly has its caveats, when used smartly, there’s no denying the dividends that it can bring in terms of boosting employee engagement and helping to forge a united and productive workforce.