Social media in the workplace? Explore it now!

The growing and fast updating technology is leading us to inevitable engage in new ways of interaction, not only on a personal but also at a corporate level. In this way, if trends are changing all over, why should it be different in the workplace? Can a company really permeate itself from social media within the workplace? The question then becomes, should social media be an integrated part of everyday business?

My feeling is that there are more positive than negative aspects for this matter. One of the main positive factors is how social media can lead to increased collaboration, empowerment, and productivity in the workplace. It avoids people working in siloes and decreases corporate hierarchy as leaders become more accessible to their employees.

Tools that we are increasingly using on an everyday basis, such as Google Drive, are proof that an online sharing platform can not only make processes much more efficient, but along with being easier also foster collaboration among teams. Betterworks, a tool for sharing goals company-wide, is another example of how personal transparency shared among co-workers increases trust and enables knowledge-sharing with a much more extended reach that goes beyond any single department.

I have experienced both scenarios in my professional career — a company that completely forbade any interaction with social media (yes, even BB messenger back then or whatsapp now) and another one that even created its own platform to promote internal interaction. In both cases I found that the company’s position on this topic was greatly influenced by the type of culture that had already been established within the company. A company cannot expect their employees to suddenly become open to sharing and interacting with others when this was never encouraged as part of their everyday business.

Given the reality of current trends in the world and how social media can positively influence a company, especially when it is implemented early on, the following emoji is the one that describes my attitude towards social media in the workplace — if done properly (discussed below) it’s better to implement it sooner rather than later!

In the latter scenario, in which the company created its own platform, employees rarely made use of it. Using the platform almost became an additional effort, as it was foreign to most users, distinct from the social media people were used it, and therefore didn’t come as natural. On the other hand, those who did use it were to an extent frowned upon for wasting business time.

My hunch is that in order for employees to really adopt the interaction of social media in the work place, a company must integrate commonly used platforms or appealing apps that are accessible and user-friendly to all employees. In any case, employees should be involved in the decision-making process of choosing the apps or platforms to implement.

However, this must be done with caution, specifically in terms of security and guidelines. It is imperative that the social media platform be monitored, and that it is not used, for example, as a cathartic tool for employees to share negative stories about their work, clients, or even the company itself. The minute this happens, the whole purpose of the online platform can be defeated, not to mention with the possibility of someone outside the organization hacking into the system. To prevent this, the company should provide clear guidelines and detailed policies, as well as a close, periodic monitoring.