#Nextchat: Social Media and Productivity

Did you know that 43 percent of companies block their employees from social networking sites, according to SHRM research? Yet, statistics show that by 2014, that number will drop to fewer than 30 percent.

The fear is that they’ll goof off on Facebook, look for jobs on LinkedIn, or Tweet something that could damage the corporate brand.

But nothing can be further from the truth.

Let’s look at some stats.

Two recent studies mentioned in this Forbes article point out that “digital connectivity appeared to boost metrics like productivity and retention.”

As I wrote in my new social media book, “A Necessary Evil,” Google reported last year that 86 percent of respondents who used social media tools at least once a week said they had been recently promoted and 72 percent said they are likely to be promoted, compared to 62 percent and 39 percent of respondents who don’t use social media in their jobs.

Almost three-quarters—71 percent—of the senior-level managers surveyed said businesses that embrace social media tools in the workplace will find it easier to attract and keep the best talent. Among senior-level respondents, 76 percent stated that organizations which embrace social media will grow faster than those who “ignore” the technology.

In addition, 53 percent of the senior managers said businesses which do not embrace social media will ultimately fail.

It really isn’t all that shocking—when you consider that people who are more “social” at work are far more creative, play well with others, and can solve problems faster.

After polling U.S. employees, strategy execution firm Gagen MacDonald discovered last year that 61 percent of employees said their companies’ social media tools make it easier to collaborate.

And it’s this collaboration that is making us work smarter and more efficiently. That’s because we’re using social networks to turn to the wisdom of our peers. This “social crowdsourcing” helps us as employees tap the collective insights of others. And, as anyone knows, when it comes to solving problems, two heads are better than one.

But it’s a slow, hard road to disprove the perception that social networking is a waste of time.

As the McKinsey Global Institute’s 2012 study The Social Economy, points out, “While 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service. Yet, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that twice as much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises.”

We’ll discuss social networking and productivity during a special Spreecast presentation of #Nextchat.  You can login to Spreecast with Twitter or Facebook. My special guests for this discussion will be Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR and Forbes 50 Top Social Media Power User, Lars Schmidt, senior director of talent acquisition and innovation at National Public Radio, and Jay Kuhns, vice president of Human Resources at All Children’s Hospital and Health System, Johns Hopkins Medicine, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Please join @weknownext on Spreecast (or Twitter) at 3 p.m. ET on August 28 for #Nextchat with special guests Aliah Wright (@1SHRMScribe). She will be chatting with HR “Nextperts” Jay Kuhns (@JayKuhns), Jessica Miller (@blogging4jobs) and LarsSchmidt (@thisisLars) about how to make social media work … at work.

The live conversation will occur on Spreecast.  The questions will also be posted to Twitter via @weknownext.

Q1. What are some ways social media can help employees work more effectively?

Q2. How is your organization using social media to encourage collaboration and break down silos?

Q3. How can crowd-sourcing be used within an organization to increase communication and collaboration?

Q4. In what tangible ways have you seen productivity and retention increase due to the use of social media?

Q5. How did you convince senior leadership to allow social media and that it isn’t a fad or waste of time?

Q6. What new social platforms are you using to foster social engagement at work?


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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