Promote Employee Activism
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
If there ever was a time in which our reputations could be destroyed in minutes, it’s now. Bad news, negative tweets, damaging Facebook posts, and negative LinkedIn posts go viral within seconds. And what took years to build can be destroyed by a landslide of “anonymous” comments making sure we’ve been labeled #WorstEmployerEver. Moreover, our employees carry company values, and these kinds of negative posts reflect poorly on both the employee and employer.
Just as social media can bring a company down, so, too, can it build a company’s reputation up. The posting rage can’t be avoided, but it can be used to promote positive employee activism. Weber Shandwick published their conclusions after surveying 2,300 employees around the globe who work in companies with at least 500 employees. The report is titled Employee Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism . Weber Shandwick defines an “employee activist” as someone who defends her workplace either at home, with peers in a social situation, or online. This last component has incredible potential.
Of the employees surveyed, over 50% post messages, pictures, and/or videos about their employers from time to time. The divide between professional and personal has blurred, and employees are posting more about their professional lives on their personal pages, 33% of whom do so without encouragement from their employers. Social media not only plays a big role in employee engagement but can be a catalyst for employee activism.
Why not harness this new medium and encourage activism? There are ways in which organizations can use social media to not only boost their image but also as a recruitment tool, benefit candidate experiences, improve employee engagement and, in turn, activism. But, as with everything, finding the balance between sharing and over-sharing, engaging and spying, takes tact and time.
Developing and nurturing relationships in a company are key components of employee engagement. Before, employees huddled around the coffee machine. Now they’re on the web. Finding meaningful ways to connect to them through strategic, honest, and creative uses of social media could be one of the next great employee engagement ideas. Social media are here to stay. How are you going to use them?
- Be strategic and communicate your social media goals with your employees. Let them know your expectations with social media and give training. Ask yourself this: What does your organization hope to achieve with social media?
- Be positive: If you’re going to encourage social media with your employees, make sure you model good use of social media. Celebrate successes – of the company and employees. Share the good stuff.
- Be honest: Honesty and authenticity in a world that feels shallow are valued by customers and employees.
- Ask: Ask for feedback. What do employees hope to see in your social media circles? What information do they want? Adjust your social media use according to employees’ interests and needs.
- Be relevant: Share relevant articles and information. Share interesting new apps. Make your social media site one where your employees go to find out the latest news and information.
- Engage: The crux of social media is communication, dialogue, and a place to share. It’s not about shouting out into the great void. Interacting with respect, discretion and a positive attitude is critical.
- Be consistent: Set engagement goals and see how productivity may or may not be changing according to your social media use. Adjust.
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