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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Social Media for employees and business productivity

We are so used to thinking of social media in a consumer and brand centric context that it's easy to forget that we as brand custodians and marketers are also social media users. In our individual capacity most of us interact personally or even professionally with friends, colleagues and co-workers from our previous jobs, using Facebok, LinkedIn or Twitter. In fact, it is more likely that we are in touch with people through social media, than through email. This has become our natural way to share, connect and stay in touch.

So why is it that social media is not given importance or leveraged as a tool for employee interaction within the workplace? Can it lead to a different and more productive pattern of working than the conventional email/ google documents?

Three senior executives at the cutting edge of technology seem to think so. This interesting breakfast chat recorded by Andrew Nusca of ZDNet reveals some telling truths about enterprises' reluctance to embrace social media (maybe we think it means encouraging employees to access Facebook during working time?). 

Email and spreadsheets continue to remain the way we exchange information even in the most high-tech organisations. Needless to say, these are not the best methods to share or disseminate information. This is information with is 'pushed' as opposed to more collaborative ways of working. 

Did you know that people use LinkedIn to search for their colleagues, demonstrating that social networking media may be preferred to, if not superior to, internal tools?

It is definitely possible that social media can be used in the enterprise to leverage productivity, provide employees with a platform for interaction where they feel comfortable and connected, and to build a digital age corporate culture of transparent sharing.

Here are some exciting examples. Think of a company where a junior employee can exchange views with his US based CEO through Twitter. Or let's say that you have an interest in fitness and can share your interest with other employees through a Flipboard style magazine generated through shared user content. One day, you go for a national conference and people you have never met already know you through your passion for fitness and tell you that your content has helped them personally. Just a couple of examples of how social media can help people in an organisation connect and feel connected!