Social media is an ever-expanding base for communication. Its role in the average person’s everyday life is continually growing. But its presence in the workplace is equally significant, and more and more employers are utilizing the benefits of social networking.
Global professional services company, Towers Watson, has released the results of its 2011 Change and Communication ROI Study. Sixty-four percent of the companies who responded to the study state that they are more familiar with the social media landscape than the previous year, and 69 percent are intending to enhance their application of social media tools in the subsequent 12 months. Interestingly, a mere 28 percent consider such tools cost effective, while 15 percent have measurement tools in place. Of those who deem social media cost effective, 63 percent are investing in social networking and 58 percent in leadership journals or blogs.
Kathryn Yates, global leader of communication consulting at Towers Watson, said, “The way companies handle employee communication is fundamentally changing, largely due to increased expectations, diversity and globalization, as well as the growth of social media and networking. Change and communication professionals can no longer do things the way they’ve always been done. There is a greater need than ever to deliver information to employees in a manner that creates a sense of community and motivates change.”
The study also found that effective communication is essential to change management, or the manner by which a company restructures its organization for optimal results. Companies that are most successful at communication and change management are, according to Towers Watson, more than two times as likely to surpass companies that prove fruitless in either capacity. Companies with effective communication and change management are five times more likely to produce a cohesive tactic for both than companies experiencing minimal success. Once changes are made, those companies are eight times as likely to demonstrate new behaviors and new proficiencies.
Almost two-thirds of the respondents relate that managers are taking on more responsibility in communicating with employees, while less than a third are evaluating managers’ achievement in such communication. The study found that most of the companies surveyed are training managers on communication and change management abilities, although very little of the organizations believed the training is productive.
“Companies are staring at a clear opportunity to use new media to increase engagement with employees,” said Yates. “Social media and networking clearly open an opportunity for dialogue, rapidly integrate employees into the company culture, and create a sense of community. Companies that are reluctant to try social media may end up limiting their ability to attract, retain and motivate certain key groups of employees.”
The 2011 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Study is the accumulation of 604 organizations from all across the globe who participated in the survey. The study is conducted biannually.Social Media an Important Tool in Communication with Employees by Harrison Barnes