Firms urged to foster social media culture

Employers in the UK are being urged to use social media to improve employee engagement.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggested that some senior business leaders have prevented employers from utilising social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to engage their staff.

It claimed that social media can hold the key to moulding the future direction of organisations by encouraging cultures of openness, collaboration and innovation from within.

Employers who resist the social media revolution risk their company being left behind in an ever-changing social climate as an increasing amount of businesses move with the times.

The majority of staff employed by British firms use a Facebook or Twitter page where they have the potential to constructively feed views upwards to drive a company forward.

Employees can use these social media platforms as an open channel to improve collaboration between staff and management and share knowledge at all levels.

The CIPD believe more organisations should be taking advantage of social media to provide greater employee and customer insight.

However, some recruiters risk being left behind because they lack a basic understanding of how social media works and how it could benefit their organisation.

The CIPD found that some senior leaders place too much emphasis on the potential perils linked with an open social media approach, such as airing in-house grievances in a public domain.

Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the CIPD, said: "For organisations to thrive, employees must be given the opportunity to discuss how their organisations can innovate and feed their views upwards, as well as having the freedom to blow the whistle about genuine issues at work.

"Social media won't always be the most appropriate channel for discussing issues, but employers must wake up to the fact that they can't ignore it. Employee voice expressed through social media is much more influential because it is more likely to be heard. In comparison, employee surveys are 'voice without muscle'. Social media affects even organisations that have been slow in the uptake, whether they realise it or not or whether they like it or not, so employers must start designing their own future in employee voice before it designs them."

Copyright Press Association 2013