“Going social”

By Lisa Lyssand HR Director on June 07, 2010

“Going social” seems to be a very popular phrase today in both personal networking and the corporate world. As the HR Director of BroadVision and the main Administrator behind our Intranet, which is built on the Clearvale footprint, I can’t help but notice a lot of changes because of “going social” and what it means in the workplace.

For example, I’ve been receiving some very interesting emails lately from companies trying to promote their HR services, and I’m finding more and more that they seem to focus on Social Media. Here are some selections from emails I received just this week:

· “When you source with social networks, you need to understand the rules of the game.”

· “Social Media – The Most Cost Effective Way to Recruit!”

· “…a fifth of employees would turn down a job if it did not allow them access to social networking sites or personal email during work time.…”

· “Recruiting Through Social Media: How To Find Top Candidates.”

· “Each generation gets jobs their own way. The Great Generation got jobs from their neighbor. Baby boomers got jobs from newspaper ads. Generation X got jobs from online job boards. Generation Y gets jobs from social media.”

· “Employees want to connect with each other, and more importantly, they want to connect with the company and senior management. A study by Towers Perrin found that employees overwhelmingly want to know ’that leadership is interested in them.’”

· “Social networking critical to employee satisfaction.”

One of the quotes mentions Towers Perrin. Towers Perrin conducted a study entitled “Capitalizing on Effective Communication.” The study highlighted Social Media and Networking as a way to leverage effective communication, and the research came up with some findings that we have seen while using our own intranet here at BroadVision:

“Companies that are using social media to engage employees are using these tools to address a variety of topics. The most prevalent topics are collaboration and team building, adapting to change, and promoting health and wellness”

The study also measured the reasoning behind companies not implementing or expanding the use of social media. 45% of participants said it was due to limited staff or resources and 40% due to limited knowledge. It’s an interesting finding because if the market understood more about the ease of implementing and maintaining some type of ESN, and discovered the potential ROI, then concerns about limited staff or knowledge would vanish.

But one of the most compelling findings of the study was a simple one: Successful companies communicate with their employees. Seems like common sense to me, but some companies just don’t interact effectively with their workforce. I think that we used to be rather guilty of this ourselves until we began using a proper tool to help us facilitate better dialogue with staff of all levels.

Improving communication is something that many HR departments strive for, and rightfully so. As the study states: “Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators”. Wow—an impressive figure indeed. And if “going social” helps contribute to the higher return while improving communication within the organization, I for one am all for it.