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UK employee enthusiasm for social media spurned, finds Hyphen study


UK organisations are failing to harness social media for effective engagement with staff. This is creating a communications disconnect between employees and management, according to a survey of 1,500 staff by recruitment process outsourcing company, Hyphen, revealed exclusively to HR.

The appetite among employees to engage with their superiors via social media channels is, shows the report, 'surprisingly high', but managers are failing to engage with staff in this way or look into creating in-house social media platforms, rather than intranets and newsletters.

Over two-fifths (42.3%) would be happy to converse with their line manager via Facebook and a fifth would be content tweeting the head of department (20.0%) and CEO (19.4%). Nearly two-fifths (39.2%) of managers would be happy to reciprocate via channels such as Facebook.

But organisations are failing to capitalise on this. Many employees are restricted from using social media during work and less than a fifth (17.4%) are aware of any attempts by their organisation to use social media to reach out to them directly.

This delayed adoption by firms could risk disenfranchising younger workers, who conduct much of their lives online. Nearly seven out of 10 (69.1%) entry-level employees and three-fifths (62.6%) of junior managers already hold social media accounts for personal use. Many young people are so accustomed to engaging with their friends and brands online that, done well, employers have an avenue to engage with employees. But Zain Wadee, MD at Hyphen, said: "Organisations have a long way to go to implement impactful social media strategies that engage and communicate with employees.

"While many organisations are focusing their social media efforts on external audiences, they are neglecting to see the potential such channels offer for internal communications, brand building and advocacy. Employer engagement on social media platforms will only ever go towards attracting and retaining the best talent.

"Instead of an extension of the intranet for department updates, it can be used to foster idea generation/knowledge-sharing across departments and levels.

"Entry-level employees and junior managers must become key advocates for this practice and organisations need to act quickly to understand how they are using their own social media channels and how willing they would be to adapt their practice to make an internal social media strategy work."