Peter Williams, Deloitte’s Chief Edge Officer, said even though the average Australian spends around 22 hours using social media each week, many organisations are unaware how the smart use of these skills can improve productivity and engagement.
The recently released report, Rethinking social media: Building the social organisation through HR, produced by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, examines social media usage by HR practitioners.
“Social media is becoming increasingly important as a way of building an organisation’s social capital” (refer definition below), said Mr Williams. “Social tools help organisations connect networks of people, promote idea sharing among their employees and drives innovation. Tapping into the collective wisdom of an employee base can help an organisation ‘know what it knows’ more quickly than relying on more traditional knowledge management systems.”
“Employees love to share and connect using social media and people are using social media tools outside of their work environments to learn and collaborate. Organisations need to change their thinking and leverage these skills in their workplaces in order to improve productivity and engagement.
“Social media tools can be used to lend organisations a level of agility and adaptability that helps them respond to the unexpected more quickly and efficiently,” said Mr Williams.
Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge makes six key recommendations to embrace social tools effectively in business:
- Find the disruptive exceptions in your business and consider how social software might help
- Establish where social software belongs – don’t isolate it to one department
- Assess the potential to leverage employees’ existing social media skills
- Engage and educate executive leaders and encourage their participation
- Set realistic milestones for measuring ROI
- Revise existing policies to remove potential roadblocks.
According to Alec Bashinsky, National People & Performance partner at Deloitte, the report findings highlight how organisations using social media to engage employees should not be underestimated.
“Human Resource Directors and businesses leaders need to come on board and accept it is passionate and proactive employees who strive to improve performance and inspire innovation. These people are the ideal advocates for a business,” said Mr Bashinsky.
Recent research from Deloitte and Google finds that workplace IT could be the secret weapon to attract and retain staff in the growing ‘war for talent’. Flexible IT policies, such as allowing staff to bring their own devices to work, having the ability to work from home, and to use social media, were found to be key to employee satisfaction. The research reveals that people who are happy with their workplace IT are one-third less likely to leave their company than those who are unhappy.
“Staff need permission from business leaders, and access to the tools and training to help them accept, embrace and advocate the use of social media to share ideas and information in their communities,” concluded Mr Williams.
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Defining Social Capital
‘Social media’ is the means; ‘social capital’ is the end.
‘Social capital’ is the value of an organisation’s social networks. This value is derived from the intangible and innumerable benefits that come from people sharing, connecting and building on each other’s thoughts and ideas.
‘Social media’ is the technology – i.e. a group of Internet-based applications that enable interactions among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.