Social Media and the Workplace

Do you Tweet? Are you Linked In? Did you change your Facebook status today?

It’s likely that, with social media being more popular than ever, the answer to at least one of those questions is a resounding, “yes!”

So it should be easy to understand why many companies are going “social” to communicate with employees. It’s an efficient and, perhaps most importantly, free way to get share information fast.

If you ask Susan Sweenie, operations manager for Boston communications company PerkettPR, email has limited usefulness. “That method of communication is no longer practical for our internal communications,” she said.

Instead, Facebook and Twitter play a large part in PerkettPR’s day to day operations. “We post employee anniversaries, birthday messages, and any kudos that our employees have earned. In this way, social media can be used as incentive.” Special events such as “Celebrate Your Inner Geek Day,” promoted through PerkettPR’s social media, have become staples for the company.

Sweenie explained that social media is a great way to make sure everyone gets the message – at the same time. “It’s become the best way for us to communicate with our partners and employees,” she said. “And it has been very successful for us.”

Alicia Laszewski, vice president of Marketing and Communications for C3, a business process outsourcing company with headquarters in Plantation, Fla., said that social networking has become the lynchpin of the company’s employee communication culture.

“Since we have employees worldwide, a cohesive online community is important to C3,” she said. Like PerkettPR, C3 uses social media to familiarize employees with each other, and to dole out praise.

As a means of offering support, C3 believes that social media cannot be matched. Functions such as a virtual lunchroom, which allows employees to build relationships, are evidence of this. Company news is also shared over the social networks.

Of course, there is quite a “social” advantage to incorporating social media in the workplace. However, Noveda Technologies, a company in Branchburg, New Jersey specializing in energy and water monitoring, offers a way to educate, as well, as bring people together.

Noveda recently acquired MakeMeSustainable, a company that specializes in energy awareness through social media. MakeMeSustainable’s social network, which brings together consumers with energy conscious tendencies, allows companies that incorporate MakeMeSustainable into their corporate social media networks the ability to reinforce corporate “green” philosophies with employees. MakeMeSustainable provides industry-leading energy and environmental assessment tools that enable corporations, organizations and educational institutions to effectively view, manage, and reduce their energy and water consumption.

The company's recently launched enterprise-grade efficient facility tool, Effacility, enables audits and analysis of energy and water use, which then feeds into a robust recommendation engine to provide targeted energy and water saving solutions. The company also operates a successful consumer-facing carbon calculator and social network, which brings together energy-conscious consumers and leverages their collective network to affect change and promote green products and services.

"More and more businesses and consumers are looking for easy-to-use solutions to reduce their energy consumption and achieve savings," said Govi Rao, president and CEO of Noveda. "The acquisition of MMS enhances our ability to satisfy this unmet need by integrating their online portal, technology platform, and toolset with our real-time, web-based energy and water monitoring solution."

The combined product suite will also feature a social media-based platform that leverages existing communities, crowd-sourced energy and water solutions, and educational tools, enabling Noveda to access new markets and serve new clients. The new social media-based platform will expand Noveda's portfolio in education and training tools that promote awareness and help drive energy and water conservation.

MakeMeSustainable even has a Facebook page! Check it out now.

At the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the candid nature of the social media environment is a huge plus for morale building, said Samantha Novick, public relations and new media specialist. Employees can learn and interact in an environment where they feel comfortable.

“The natural voice of an employee comes out more in a social media context,” she said. “The informal circumstances of this context allow employees to really get to know each other. Employees post things on their Facebook account, such as a funny joke they heard, that they wouldn’t bother to send in an email.”

All these companies feel social media contributes to a more relaxed work environment, which usually has a positive impact on team performance.

Clearly, there are examples everywhere of companies internally utilizing social media, in various capacities. With the speedy communication these methods allow, there is no sign of this trend waning any time soon. For anyone operating a business, social media is the way to get the word out.