A rise in employers using social media for internal communications, Towers Watson research finds

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Social media is increasingly being used by employers to communicate and build communities with their staff, according to research published by Towers Watson.

The 2013 Towers Watson Change and Communications ROI survey, found 56% of the employers surveyed use various social media tools as part of their internal communication initiatives to build communities - creating a sense that employees and leaders are in it together, and sharing both the challenges and rewards of work.

However, the research revealed among those employers that have embraced social media technology, there is little consensus as to which tools are most effective.

It also found only 40% rated the use of social media technology as cost effective.

Nicola Cull, director of communication and change management consulting at Towers Watson, said: "By its nature, social media is designed to build communities and could help engage employees on key topics such as performance, collaboration, culture and values.

"As the need for global collaboration increases, we expect more companies will join those already leveraging social media to creatively communicate those messages."

The research also showed while four in 10 employers (41%) claim to be effective at building a shared experience with their employees, only half of those employers (23%) achieve the same level of community building when it comes to remote workers.

"As today's workforce evolves, we know from our research that the growing number of remote workers are looking for clear communication, to be treated with integrity, and want coaching and support from afar," said Cull.

She added: "For employers to effectively engage and retain remote workers, they will need to connect them with their leaders, managers and colleagues. We think social media tools can be a real help in making this connection."

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