Employee Social Media, three hurdles to overcome

You want to take advantage of all the new forms of employee social media. You want your staff to be motivated to create results that work for you.
But first you have to overcome a few internal challenges… the main problems of employee social media are not centered around the platforms or the technology, but the motivation and education of the employee base.

Employee Social Media ITEM #1

Your communications policy.
To be clear, this is not the policy your company has had for the past five years.

A good social media policy is a guideline

  • that identifies the company viewpoint
  • tells how the business wants to get behind employees for the right reasons
  • defines benefits that are clearly in the best interests of both the employee/employer
  • talks about risks in a realistic view (asking for employees to help mitigate and eliminate those risks)

Why this affects employee social media: for larger organizations it is very important to note that most employees are afraid and scared of interacting with social media and business. Most companies have such poorly defined social media guidelines that employees don’t really know what is or is not acceptable.

A poorly defined (or non-existent) social media policy forces employees to create dual lives (one for business and one for personal) that creates an inability for your business to take advantage of employees who understand these new tools.

Employee Social Media ITEM #2

Your employee training.

An ideal social media training plan includes

  • a map of what employees already use these tools
  • a management team that understands what business processes are most important
  • executive support that has clear direction and business goals
  • a capabilities assessment of what internal team members can accomplish
  • a benchmark process to track progress (individual, group and business wide)

Why this affects employee social media: employees already use social media for personal life. The problem is that they don’t know how to adapt those same skills to drive effective business results. This is where companies need to step in and provide leadership.

If you want your staff to be motivated, you need to provide them with tactics that drive results for the business, while also providing them with benefit points that help them reach career goals.

Employee Social Media BONUS ITEM

Executive understanding

Too many executives waste valuable opportunities with employee social media due to lack of understanding, an inability to connect traditional business models with new media models, and a basic unfamiliarity with the newer trends.

Employee Social Media extends well beyond marketing. It includes a wide range of components and touches dozens of budget centers within a business. It is essential that leadership considers cost savings and revenue drivers through-out the organization.

Some examples:

  • Customer Care: employees in social media can influence satisfaction levels and create economy of scale
  • Sales: process and pipeline conversion can be increased, while social media allows in-depth profiling of prospects
  • Management: knowing how to track employees online allows faster touch points, as well as encourage top performers

Understanding the Employee ROI

If you can enable 5% of your employee base to effectively use social media ‘for the good of the company’ – you have re-captured an enormous company asset by creating new marketing, public relations, customer care, internal collaboration, and stakeholder/investor communication channels.

If you can eliminate the bottom 5% of ‘worse case scenarios’ for risk – you have headed off disaster and protected your most valuable areas. This means that you have properly considered areas of corporate compliance, understand marketplace risks, created robust brand ownership, and established crisis strategies.

On either end of the spectrum, this 5% represents a majority of your profit and loss (like most business numbers, the top 20% of your clients represent 80% of your revenue.)

Your input

What are the other main obstacles of employee social media that you have seen?