9 Reasons To Give Your Employees A Voice On Social Media
- Alen BubichDecember 20 2017
Some managers and C-suites are hesitant to give employees a voice on social media. After all, they may say the wrong thing or give away company secrets. It’s logical, after all, to anticipate the worst case scenario.
Not giving your employees a voice is a huge mistake, especially on social media.
You would be shocked at the kind of improvements that can be made in your company, inside and out, by integrating employee advocacy and allowing your employees to have a voice through social media. That isn’t to say there can’t be constraints – it’s an online approximation of the workplace, after all – but the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Here are 9 powerful reasons why you should be giving your employees a voice on social.
Giving Employees a Voice Shows Trust
In order to give your employees a voice on social media, you have to trust them. After all, you give them a platform to voice their opinions, some of which may even be critical or negative about certain aspects of their roles, the business, management practices and other things. That’s why some companies keep them from having one.
You’ll get far more out of the employee-employer relationship if you actually trust them.
People who feel like they aren’t trusted tend to not invest themselves in the company emotionally or otherwise. Their position and your company is a waystation and the second they can get onboard elsewhere for more pay or better conditions, they’ll do so.
Depending on the type of business you operate, not trusting your employees with social media may even be taken as insulting their intelligence and education level. Adults with college degrees don’t always take such policies as caution or prudence, but can take it as pedantic or patronizing.
Allowing them that outlet through social media can make your employees feel trusted and respected as adults. That is going to go a lot farther to building goodwill and a positive company culture than trying to corral them online.
You Already Listen To Your Customers
Any business lives and dies by how well it listens to customers. The customer, the saying goes, is always right…at least in that they know what they want. Since you, the business owner or manager, are in charge of giving them what they want, it behooves you and your company to listen to them.
How do your clients and customers get what they want?
Your employees. They are the people that deliver the goods and services that your clients and customers demand. Since your employees’ input can be invaluable in improving conditions and processes, they know far, far more about life in the trenches – so to speak – than middle management does.
Customer surveys and data is invaluable. The same is true about your employees. By denying them a voice on social media, you’re effectively failing to listen to the people that you depend on to make your business thrive.
Collaboration Leads To Inspiration And To Innovation
You want employees to innovate, to come up with better solutions to problems and find ways to make the business run better. How does that happen? Collaboration is often the surest way for that to happen.
In the 1920s, a building was erected on the campus of MIT. Designated Building 20, it wasn’t supposed to be standing too long and served as an incubator of sorts for emerging fields of research. The linguistics department set up shop there, as did a few professors of engineering acoustics, and various technical school orgs as well.
It fostered a collaborative and free atmosphere, where people could bounce ideas off each other and do innovative work. Noam Chomsky formulated the idea of generative grammar in Building 20, which changed the nature of how we understand human languages. Amar Bose developed his speakers in the acoustic laboratory. The radiation laboratory on the third floor – called the “Rad Lab” – produced 9 Nobel Prize winners.
The point here is that when you allow people to collaborate, the result is often ideas. That is how innovation and improvement take place, which can lead to amazing improvements. When you don’t allow them that freedom, what you get is a stale corporate culture.
That’s how companies die. Social media is a tool of collaboration, among many other things.
Allowing Employee Input Shows Good Leadership
One of the most common causes of employee turnover is poor leadership and management. People that don’t feel listened to, valued or wanted tend not to stay at those companies. In fact, low to middling pay relative to position, even fewer benefits, induces fewer employees to leave jobs than poor management.
One benefit of giving employees a voice on social media is that it gives them a platform to be heard by their immediate superiors as well as – provided middle and upper management are monitoring employee social channels – those higher up the chain.
Good management practices include listening to your employees. After all, all the management wizardry in the world doesn’t matter if your managers are completely out of touch with their subordinates. You also won’t be retaining top talent.
Knowledge-Sharing And Training Can Be Shared As Well
Besides fostering a spirit of collaboration, giving employees a platform through social media is also a wonderful way for knowledge-sharing to take place. Experienced personnel and managers can give people wisdom that they may not have discovered on their own yet. People can improve in their roles by benefiting from the experience of others.
Additionally, social media is also a useful tool for disseminating training materials and resources, when appropriate.
The better-informed and more knowledgeable your employees are, the better they will be at their jobs.
Giving Employees A Voice Opens Brand Ambassador Marketing
How do you get access to a brand new marketing channel, with hundreds – if not thousands – of new brand ambassadors without having to pay for access? Get your employees on social media.
If they trust the company brand, they are going to let people know about it through official channels – say your company Facebook profile – and through their own private channels.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and marketing departments around the world are trying to leverage it in any way, shape and form they can. Traditional advertising…is dying. What has taken it’s place?
Social media. You need every advocate you can get there, too. Your employees can be invaluable in this respect. Some might even say employee advocacy could be more valuable than a fan page.
Being Trusted Leads To Trusting Management In Return
Employees being trusted on social media leads to them feeling valued and treated like adults. That leads to a better overall corporate culture, but it also leads to your employees trusting management more than they otherwise would.
History is replete with examples of what happens when people lose confidence in leadership. Read the history of the Roman Empire; a number of emperors lost the trust of the Senate, the military or the people and paid with their lives. Coups d’etat and revolutions foment; assassinations can occur.
In the business setting, employees take their jobs less seriously and performance suffers. They seek other employment in different sectors or with your competition.
If you want your employees to trust you, then you need to show that you trust them.
Employees on Social Media Leads to Engaged Customers
Besides gaining a marketing channel and brand ambassadors through getting your employees into social media, you also get better engagement with your clients and customer base. This gives you invaluable information, as you learn better what it is that your clients and customers like about your products or services, but also what you can improve on. Needless to say, involved employees = loyal customers.
You can also identify future opportunities for product or service evolution.
This also lets people in your company develop a better relationship with your client and customer base. Not only does this benefit employees, but also your customers! Employees that feel listened to and valued make great brand ambassadors, but you can also turn first-time customers into repeat business if applicable.
Building those kinds of relationships is how your company builds a reputation, which is worth so much more than mere money.
Employee Performance Can Improve
Employee performance is the subject of so much research and speculation; there has been so much conjecture on how to maximize it that just listing ideas would fill books. Ultimately, though, people are only going to do better because they want to.
How do you get them to want to?
Well, there are number of ways to do it. More money sometimes helps…though you’d be surprised how little of a difference it makes. Employees that feel valued by their employer, though, tend to want to perform in their role. Employees that feel like their concerns are listened to will want to better their performance. Employees that feel like they have the opportunities to improve and get better at their trade will want to do so.
Giving employees a voice on social media can be a part of that. It isn’t everything, but giving them that outlet can certainly be a fantastic tool in fostering a better corporate culture, enhancing relationships between customers and employees, as well as employees and management.
You may not be able to afford to bar them from social media.
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