Last night I attended a thoroughly interesting event from CIPR Inside on the much talked about topic of social media in the workplace. It was held in the format of a panel discussion between Euan Semple, Marc Wright and Ghassan Karian which was later opened up to the room - making for a really lively and thought provoking debate. Euan and Marc were of a similar view - that social media most certainly has a place in internal communication, as long as it proves itself to be beneficial to both the company and its people. Ghassan, however, held a different view. He argued that social media rarely helps an employee to feel more engaged, and can in fact contribute to workers being actively disengaged because their bosses and leaders 'hide' behind a smokescreen of social media and other more impersonal styles of communication. He emphasised the importance of face to face (or at least one-to-one - telephone, email etc.) communication over a wider reaching 'social' style of interacting. Whilst I would never suggest that social media should entirely replace these types of communication, or indeed become an excuse for not engaging in them, I think the key here is using social media to complement human interaction. They're not mutually exclusive - just because I speak to someone on Yammer doesn't mean I'm never going to meet with them face to face. I think a good leader would use social media as a way of reaching large numbers or targeted groups of their people at once, when it's just not feasible to communicate with each of them on a one-to-one basis. Of course they must still reach out to these people individually when appropriate too, but in reality this just isn't practical all the time.
Here at theblueballroom we have found that we have been able to reduce all-company or group emails since incorporating Yammer into our internal day-to-day communication strategy. Our inboxes are sleeker and we have a place to go to check in with colleagues or hear the latest news on a piece of work. Members of our team who don't work in our main office feel more connected and get to join in conversations they might not otherwise.
So what's your stance on internal social media? Do you have a platform in place? If so, how do you find it - and if not is there a reason why you haven't considered it yet? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this one.
Finally a huge thank you to CIPR Inside for organising another cracking debate, and of course to Euan, Marc and Ghassan for their insights! If you missed it, check out this Storify from Gloria at Simply Communicate where you can catch up on what was said...