Recently, I came across a webinar I had hosted in 2012 when I was the content manager for an employee benefits enrollment SaaS company — on the topic of Social Media Best Practices in HR. At that time, I was enthusiastic about the emerging use of social networks in human resources and wanted to guide my peers in how to get the most from this technology. Social media was still kind of a novelty to most human resource practitioners, and yet it had so much potential at that time that I jumped at the opportunity to present on this.

After re-watching the webinar, I learned that social media still offers a lot to human resources. In particular, how we can increase employee engagement using the sense of community that social media creates. The very concept of social media is about connecting people together in one place where they can share their ideas, values, likes, dislikes, challenges, celebrations, and more.

Employee engagement facts

It’s no secret that organizations are facing a tough time when it comes to employee engagement. The statistics on this are frightening (here’s just a few):

  • 73% of employees are actively disengaged; and approximately one-third of the employees who say they are engaged in their jobs are watching for other opportunities. (Gallup)
  • A survey indicated that only 16% of employees felt “connected and engaged” by their employers. (EmployeeChannel)
  • The cost to replace a worker who leaves is around 33% of their annual salary and $15,000 on average. (Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report)
  • Disengaged employees in the US cost employers between $450 to $550 billion each year. (The Engagement Institute)

What is happening???

There are many experts who believe that it’s simply a matter of how people view work today, from a generational standpoint. For example, Baby Boomers who are now exciting the workplace in the hundreds of thousands every week, tended to stick with a job for the long haul and put in long hours for the sake of “job security”. Now, that has changed a lot as younger workers tend to place emphasis on other personal pursuits, such as work life balance, remote work arrangements, and flexible schedules. Millennials are much more willing to job hop if it means getting what they want.

On the recruitment side of things, the US unemployment rate has been historically low in 2017, which opens up many more career opportunities for those who are even casually looking for another job. If an employee has put in a few years in one job and cannot find a way to advance quickly in their current workplace, there’s bound to be another company knocking on their door.

How social media can engage more employees

The human resource manager has a wealth of tools at his or her fingertips to engage employees directly on social networks. By creating a community of employees who can connect with one another and share their experiences, it becomes a closer “family” of people working towards a common goal. This is corporate culture at it’s best.

Some easy ways to engage employees on social media can include:

  • Posting daily about what’s happening in the organization — from the employee perspective.
  • Celebrating important dates and milestones that matter to employees (birthdays, anniversaries, birth or adoption of children, promotions, etc.)
  • Sharing success stories of employees who have gone above and beyond their regular job duties.
  • Creating events and personally inviting employees to participate brings teams and departments together.
  • Giving employees access to the information and resources they need to succeed can be facilitated by social media.
  • Encouraging employees to share their ideas, tips, tools, and discoveries within networks can be a great way to teach.
  • Publishing employee-generated content, photos, and other fun stuff makes work life more tolerable.
  • Welcoming new hires to the company formally on social media, with brief bios and group photos.

These are just a few of the many ways that social media can be harnessed to increase employee engagement and a positive corporate culture.

It’s your turn!

What are some unique ways that you can think of, or have used in your own organization to boost employee engagement and retained more people? HR Knows would love to hear from you!