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Social Networking and Employee/Employer Relations

June 3, 2011

by Colin Balas, Terryberry Chicago recently posted an article on Company Branding and Employee Social Networks in which the author describes how the development of social networks allows people (i.e. employees) to reach thousands of people in seconds. Like it or not, social media gives employees the ability to communicate on a large scale about their employers. How should employers respond? The author encourages businesses to look at it as an opportunity to build a “brand army.”

“Consider this: If 100 of your employees posted something positive about your company right now, their message could potentially reach 13,000 social media users. That is significant leverage!”

Why not apply the same concept to your employee recognition programs? With social media now being second nature to so many people, the ability that companies have to break down the communication walls with their recognition efforts is out there. Not only can you create a new culture of recognition within the walls of work, but you can also reach family and friends by integrating an internal recognition program with Facebook and Twitter. From a corporate standpoint this is very appealing because to the outside audience (friends, family, followers) looking in, all this recognition is tied to the company’s brand.

The advantages of merging social media and recognition within the workplace allows one message (i.e. wall post) to reach all employees. This unprecedented visibility can dramatically impact communication and understanding within a company. It opens up the doors into offices that some employees may never get to see. For instance a West Coast office can see all the positives in the East Coast office simply by viewing the company’s virtual recognition wall.

While some companies still fear social media when it comes to their corporate brand, others are embracing it. Ask yourself the question “Why have so many companies built a Facebook page?” It allows companies to let outsiders look in, through the use of photo galleries, status updates, blogs, and discussion pages. Through these efforts it’s the company’s hope that you, as the potential customer, will “Like” them (we all know the famous Facebook Like button). In a way it’s almost like they’re seeking recognition from the general public that they have something of quality to offer. It only makes sense that since companies seek and appreciate recognition through social media, their employees will too.

As the article described, Sodexo used an internal social media program to maintain a company culture where employees were proud to align themselves with the organization. Similar to what Sodexo did through their internal program, whenever you can reinforce your company brand / mission, vision, values through your recognition and engagement efforts, it allows employees to understand why these types of programs are in place and will better align their day to day objective with the company’s mission.

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