The application of social media to the workplace makes good business sense because Facebook, Twitter and YouTube make it simple for employees to share information. It's actually pretty easy. Just establish policies and procedures for the use of these tools and collaboration sites, including Microsoft's Sharepoint. Or use business versions of social media tools, such as Yammer.
Create a plan for building a committed workplace community. You want employees that really get their hands dirty and get involved. If they don't speak highly of your products or services and refer others to work at your company, who will? Engaged employees have a great attitude that's contagious while disengaged employees make sarcastic remarks, distract others and generally contribute negatively to a company’s reputation, and no one wants that.
Set up the Sharepoint sites that allow employees to share knowledge, solve problems together and gain recognition for their work. The Sharepoint platform makes it simple for a workforce, domestic or global, to upload documents, spreadsheets and presentations. This kind of access ensures all employees can retrieve current information. Use Sharepoint surveys to get critical data for projects in a consistent format and also capture information that ensures knowledge retention.
Use social media tools, such as wikis, blogs and forums, to communicate with your employees and maintain a healthy dialog with your workforce. For example, write a monthly blog and discuss company performance, employee activities and your appreciation for their efforts. Include timely podcasts and videos about goals and objectives.
Track and monitor how many people subscribe to your wikis, blogs, forums and newsletters using Really Simple Syndication (RSS). You can also track how people comment on your entries. But remember, try not to take things personally since you asked for feedback. Swallow your pride and act on the input in a constructive way.
Use social media strategies, such as conducting online polls during meetings or events, to check the pulse on employee opinions. Then spring into action. There's no better to way to engage employees. Just reach out to them and address their concerns.
Write Facebook status updates that celebrate how everyone contributes to the business. It won't take long for employees to scan for their own name. Who doesn't want to see how their own work impacts the company's strategy and vision? Sometimes, it doesn't take much more than mutual respect to reach higher morale, better attendance and elevated job satisfaction because employees feel part of the company’s success.
Use video to enhance virtual meetings. The use of this medium allows people to see each other and interpret body language clues. Of course, this means you might see more smirking and eye rolling but hey, this tends to be more effective than just using audio conference lines to conduct business.
- Establish a social media advocate who monitors these sites to ensure there aren't trolls uploading misleading or outright false information. You could lose, not gain, productivity really fast if Sharepoint sites aren't used correctly.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.