In our last blog, we discussed the impact on a company’s stock when “social executives” are active on Twitter — when they share insights into their work-related activities and communicate directly with their investors via social media.
Here we look at another aspect of executive social media — using the medium to communicate with employees.
The Positive Perception of a Social CEO
Employees value open communication. The more transparent their work environment is, the more they feel valued and respected. As a result, employees are more engaged with their employer, their jobs, and each other. These factors can improve operating income by 19.2% over a 12-month period and result in a higher employee-retention rate for your company.
Internal communication via social media is a valuable tool for those who utilize it regularly. According to a four-year study conducted by Brandfog, 85% of respondents said they believe CEOs should be using social media channels to improve engagement with their employees, and 93% agree that CEOs who actively participate in social media can build better connections across the board — with investors, customers, and employees.
The Rising Popularity of Social Media
While social media platforms aren’t the only channels that enable leaders to communicate and engage with employees, they’re an ideal place to start since employees already spend so much time there. Let’s take a look at the stats:
- 72% of the American public uses some type of social media on a day-to-day basis.
- Social media use is rising at a rate of more than 1 million users per day (that’s 14 new users every second).
- The average daily amount of time spent on social media is 2 hours 22 minutes.
One reason for this widespread use of social media is the number of millennials in the workplace. As of 2015, millennials surpassed Generation X as the largest labor group in the country, and they are currently on pace to account for more than 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2030. That’s a number that’s had a significant impact on the way people communicate — and it’s a fact executives can’t afford to ignore.
Executives who embrace this shift in communication style, and start to meet their employees where they are, create an open environment that’s prime for honest, real-time conversations. These casual back-and-forth engagements allow executives to share their insights while also — and perhaps more importantly — tuning in to listen to the ideas and opinions of their own staff.
The Financial Benefits of an Effective Internal Communication Strategy
In addition to benefits like improved morale and productivity, executives can see a real return on their investment when they expand their internal communications to include social media.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, the smartest way to do this is through the use of social technologies such as blogs, social networks, and messaging software to streamline interactions within your organization.
McKinsey estimates that social technologies, when used effectively, can improve productivity by “interaction workers” by 20 to 25% thanks to increased collaboration, coordination, and communication with other employees.
Interaction workers are people who spend a lot of time interacting with others. Lawyers, engineers, managers, and sales representatives are all good examples of these types of workers. And McKinsey’s estimate of the level of increased productivity in these workers is significant because they are the fastest-growing category of employees in advanced economies.
They’re also the most impaired by traditional communication methods. On average, they spend 28% of their workday reading, writing, and responding to email, and 19% trying to track down information needed to complete tasks.
The McKinsey report says that 30% of current email time could be repurposed by moving communication to internal social media platforms and that doing so would free up 8% of the workweek for more productive activities. They also estimate that having access to searchable social messages could reduce information search time by as much as 35%, which would return 6% of the workweek to the typical interaction employee.
Implementing this type of internal social media not only creates opportunities for higher productivity, but it gives executives a new way to supervise and lead. In a sales situation, for example, leaders must maintain constant contact with their teams to coach and motivate. Social media provides them with an easy platform to stay in touch, provide advice to their teams, and share business updates.
Before social media existed, all of that had to be accomplished through email, in meetings, or during conference calls. Now, communications can be more direct and employees can easily stay more informed, thanks to status updates and posts that can be shared via social media. As your organization grows, you’ll see the added benefit of already having the tools in place to accommodate more employees and handle your future communication needs.
Making the Move to Social Media Communication
CEOs and leaders realize significant benefits when they use social media to connect with and engage their employees. Utilizing this new communication method, they can share their vision more widely and make employees feel as though they are an integral part of the business.
When executives use social media to provide a behind-the-scenes look into their day-to-day activities, they cultivate a culture of openness, make an emotional connection with employees, build trust, create authentic connections, and gain insights they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Leaders need to provide information that will inspire, educate, and — ultimately — bring out the best in their teams. To create this kind of effective internal communication, social media is a necessary part of the equation.