Over Half of Employers Use Social Media For Internal Communications, Survey Reveals

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By Genevieve Douglas  

Social media tools can be effective in creating a sense of community and employee engagement, but an employer's efforts must be tailored to the particular needs of the organization, Towers Watson said May 23 in announcing a new survey.

Using social media to create community is “definitely worth it,” Kathryn Yates, global practice leader for communications and change management at the global consulting firm, told BNA May 30.

According to the survey from Towers Watson, 56 percent of employers currently use various social media tools as part of their internal communication initiatives to build community. However, when asked how they would rate the effectiveness of social media tools, only 30 percent to 40 percent of respondents rated most of the tools as “highly effective.” Additionally, only 40 percent rated the use of social media technology as cost effective.

“Employers are struggling with how to figure out how to most effectively use social media,” Yates said. Defining what success looks like for these programs will be the next step for many organizations, she added.

Yates recommended that employers start with a pilot program, because often executives and upper levels of management can be nervous about the involvement of social media.

Organizations also should do a trial run with a community of employees who are open to a different engagement and communication environment, she said.

For example, Yates said, a sales workforce working remotely that wants a closer relationship with each other and management would be a good candidate.

Yates cautioned that human resources will have to “have some courage” in opening itself up to comments from the employee community. “If a new program can weather this initial [feedback] storm, it will work out,” she said.

One way to prevent too much negative and nonconstructive feedback is to disallow anonymous comments, Yates said.

HR also should remind employees that the corporate code of conduct applies to the use of social media, she added.

The 2013 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Survey was conducted in April 2013. A total of 290 large and midsize organizations from across North America, Europe, and Asia participated.


More on the survey is available at http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Press/2013/05/just-over-half-of-employers-using-social-media-tools-

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