Social Company Intranet vs. Social Media

By Simpplr Marketing
Most employees might argue that company intranets, social networks and social media are the same, with the latter being a free service and the former free to use on multiple platforms.

While it’s quite understandable that workers prefer a third-party service for their social interaction with colleagues, they’re doing their professional relationships more harm than good—all for the lack of knowledge and awareness on how these services work.

Social media, a necessary evil?

You can’t discount how important social media is for today’s workforce, however. It has become a sticking point between workers and executives, in fact; almost as controversial as wages, benefits and other workforce policies. Here are some important statistics to keep in mind whenever you’re considering cutting off employees’ access to Facebook and Twitter:

  • 39% of employees from age 18-24 consider leaving the company when they don’t have access to Facebook and Twitter
  • 21% of employees from the same age range disclose being “annoyed” by the ban

Allowing employees free social media rein will surely bog down your processes. So do you give in?

Instead of social media, a social network for your company intranet can be the answer to your dilemma. A reason employees may choose to engage each other on social media channels that are separate from their professional network can be to create secret groups in which to organize and air professional and personal grievances. Social media is rarely an effective channel for resolving work-related issues or for contributing to solutions, however.

Secret groups founded in social media can breed workplace dissent, and seldom work towards resolving issues or finding solutions. What’s more, they’re completely unofficial so your company has no control, and more likely than not, your company is prohibited from acknowledging the existence of the group or discussion publicly and professionally.

The lack of security and control is also a detriment to the validity of your employees’ feedback and discussion. Instead of focusing on solutions, facts, collaboration and professional relationships, you are faced with a mob like so many others found on the internet.

A company intranet social network is both common ground and safe haven.

What a social company intranet offers that social media can’t is neutrality and a businesslike atmosphere. Only people in the organization can access your company intranet, so the tone is inherently professional and courteous.

Imploring your workers to be honest and speak freely (but professionally) on your intranet social network may be prove challenging, so it’s up to the executive or manager to set the environment first.

As the employer, you want your workers to have a sanctioned space that facilitates their feedback and increases their engagement with the company, which is why a social company intranet works for both you and your staff. Employees get a safe and valid space to engage and discuss issues with you, and managements gets a focused structure and easily-documented mechanism for resolving conflict. The key to moving employees away from the volatile nature of social media is to keep the conversation moving, and to show respect and concern for their issues and feedback in a positive, professional forum.

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