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Cath Everett

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Social media still ‘misunderstood by management’


Even though social media can be useful as an internal tool to encourage staff to network and share information among themselves, management fears over loss of control, reputational damage and legal issues are holding back adoption.

According to a ‘Social Media Survey’ undertaken among 2,600 internal communications professionals from 1,800 organisations by research and training firm Melcrum, just over a third of respondents indicated that it was ‘tough’ to obtain funding for such initiatives, while a fifth said it was ‘very tough’.
This was because 64% of managers were afraid of both losing control and that the reputations of their companies could be harmed. Just under three out of five were worried about legal issues, while just over half were felt that there were inadequate metrics in place to measure value.

Judith Germain, founder of Dynamic Transitions Ltd, said that one of the key problems in this context was that most organisations saw such offerings, which include online video, blogs, wikis and online forums, as an external activity that needed to be regulated rather than an internal tool for staff engagement.
“Most HR departments think that social media is all about policing how employees use Facebook during work hours, but it has so much more to add to the organisation in terms of daily interaction and sharing of knowledge,” she claimed.
Rather than being a workplace irritant, social media could be used as both a means of staff retention tool and of creating a culture that made people want to be involved with the company over the long-term, Germain added.
Organisations that were already using social media internally cited getting staff to talk to each other and share information as the biggest single benefit.
The largest perceived gain among those respondents that had already put together a business case, however, was innovation and ideas exchange (41.5%), followed by employee engagement (38.4%). Third on the list was collaboration and knowledge management, which was cited by 30.8% of those questioned.
“Social media as an internal offering is a relatively new concept to most HR departments and a daunting one to approach but, if executed correctly, it will work to engage employees so that they feel attached to the company and are keen to share knowledge with others to fuel its continued success,” said Germain.

One Response

  1. Great Post

    There are some interesting points raised in this piece. It is important that senior management are able to adapt and continue learning. Social media is something that managers in the past have struggled to fully understand but the level of which it has taken off means there are no excuses for being ignorant to it’s benefits anymore. 

    — Dave Evans, commercial director at accessplanit, specialising in training administration software and learning management system.


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