As the use of social media in the workplace continues to become a widespread reality in the corporate world, staffing, recruitment and HR Services provider Randstad Canada, says today’s leading employers must learn how to harness these “social business” tools, if they haven’t already.
Lauralee Guthrie, Digital & Social Media Director, Randstad Canada says that “many employers are making an investment in social media channels. Social engagement is critical to business success and like it or not, business is embracing social media in a big way. Recent data from Forrester Research indicates that the sales of software used to run corporate social networks will grow 61 per cent a year and will likely become a $6.4 billion business by the year 2016.”
Reinforcing the importance of social media in the workplace, are the results of a new poll of Canadian business leaders conducted by Queen’s School of Business. The data shows four in ten bosses (39%) believe social media is essential to growing their business but they’re unsure of taking the leap, while over one third say they (35%) use it often. The results also show that the majority of executives (72%) say they are planning to invest in social media in the coming year.
“Organizations that haven’t adopted such tools are now in the minority,” says Guthrie. “One of the reasons why employers and workers are using social networks in the office is, in large part, because these channels are increasingly becoming a routine part of how work gets done. There are many advantages to being socially “connected” in the workplace. Well-connected employees are more productive, and instant messaging tools and intranets can help to increase the productivity by which they connect and collaborate,” she says.
According to Guthrie, “Randstad Canada encourages employees to use social media to keep up with company events, recruit talent and gain a deeper understanding of their customers, and network. We’ve found many ways to integrate social media tools into the fabric of our business. From being active on Twitter, to posting fresh content several times a week on our corporate blog, to sharing videos on our YouTube channel, to setting up LinkedIn groups that bring people with similar interests together, to keeping everyone updated via Facebook. We truly believe in the incorporation of social networking technologies.”
“Indeed, we not only encourage our employees to help us engage people online, but we also use instant messaging and the intranet as tools employees can use to share and collaborate with each other internally,” says Guthrie.
For employers that are concerned about the risk of problems arising from the use of social media in the workplace, training your staff on policies and practices will set clear guidelines and lessen the risk of misuse, says Guthrie. “There are legitimate work-related purposes to which these channels are being used. Employees should be trained to do more of this, employers should not make it harder. Social media is here to stay, and whether you embrace it or fend it off, your business will be impacted,” she adds. “There is a world of conversation and engagement that’s happening right now – with or without you.”