Adapting to internal social networking

iStock_000013972496XSmall-300x200The last decade has seen a meteoric rise in the adoption of social networking, and internal communications professionals are not turning a blind eye to this trend.

Not only is a large proportion of the workforce familiar with and comfortable with the concept of social networking, according to Pew Research, at least 74% of them actively use social networking sites in their personal time.

The immersion of today’s society in social networks is one which the changing role of the internal communication professional is adapting too. After all, what better way to engage with employees than by using the medium with which they are already engaging between themselves?

Social networking is starting to take its place as an extension of the organization’s culture. It not only gives the employee a voice, but it gives the employer an ideal opportunity for increased interaction to raise employee engagement levels.

Even organizations that have not yet integrated social networks are anticipating its potential. In a report by Harvard Business Review, more than half of all survey respondents said that social technology would transform their organizations (57%) and the way they work (58%) in the next few years.

The App Garden’s own TAG 2015 Employee Engagement Survey revealed that the 54% already had an active ESN (Enterprise Social Network) in place and 50% plan to have an internal communication app within two years. This reinforces other marketplace research, which demonstrates that internal communication professionals see significant value in bringing social behavior into the workplace.

Social networks can improve the speed, volume and flow of communication within the workforce, helping to build collaborative communities and drive productivity. It enables lateral communication that is unrestricted by organizational structure, reducing hierarchical fear-factor and moving away from the more traditional one-way communication methods. It can be particularly beneficial to large organizations with a workforce dissipated into teams, departments, and remote or international offices, helping to break down barriers to unite the workforce.

Allowing those workers already active on social networks the opportunity to exchange their thoughts on an internal social platform is as important as ensuring the needs of those not active or familiar with social networks are addressed. Explaining that internal social platforms are not to be viewed as an interruption to work, nor as a technology project, but as a means of transforming the way the workforce operates within that organization is paramount.

If you are an internal communication professional, now is the perfect time to review your strategy.  Internal communication is no longer so much about communicating from the top down. It’s about encouraging social discussion, collaboration and two-way feedback on a sharing platform.  And it’s about encouraging employees to become involved and to take the initiative to become content co-creators, posting videos, blogs and discussion pieces.

You can create this kind of engagement by launching a standalone enterprise social network, or by delivering an internal communication app, such as our own StaffConnect app, which includes a whole host of features to encourage engagement, including surveys, events, video and photo hubs, and noticeboards, as well as enterprise social network integration.

This article comes from Bulent Osman, managing director of The App Garden. 

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