Encouraging the behaviour that makes using social media worthwhile for organisations.
In the days before email we used to talk with one another. It strikes me that a lot of folk have largely forgotten how to do that, and if we’re not careful I think social media will continue that forgetfulness.
What Is missing?
I’d like to pick up from where Neil Morrison left off on letting go and more. Neil’s right about social media being nothing more than a bunch of tools. They’re the answer to no one’s prayers unless you encourage the behaviour that makes them worthwhile. So what might that behaviour be? Here are three things that I think will help you make your workplace more open and trustworthy.
It’s not enough for businesses to talk about openness and trust, for it to occur; positive steps towards decentralisation have to happen. People in HR, Marketing, Comms and other places need to be comfortable, even encouraging about participation. Giving people access to the like of Facebook and Twitter is one thing. Giving them the environment where it’s OK to respond on behalf of the company is essential; otherwise all you do is create blockages in the system. A benefit of social is speedy responsiveness, don’t gum it up.
The brashness, and dare I say it, arrogance that often accompanies senior management is a lousy lens through which to encourage collaboration. People make mistakes, and very often the open systems of social media highlight those mistakes, and quickly. I pride myself on my mistakes because I see and use them as learning opportunities and as threads in stories too. I share my mistakes so people can see I’m comfortable with the vulnerable light that puts me in. Having the confidence to display your vulnerability is I believe, extremely powerful in creating an environment where it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them.
In the days before email we used to talk with one another. It strikes me that a lot of folk have largely forgotten how to do that, and if we’re not careful I think social media will continue that forgetfulness. Yeah OK I get that whole online conversation thing – the to-ing and fro-ing of messages. But where’s the tone? Where are the inflexion and the nuance? We can only pick those things up from hearing the voice. And then there’s face to face conversations – remember those? Sharing a conversation with someone in the same physical space is transformational. Body language, eye contact, smiles, anger, all these things manifest themselves and add to the richness of the experience.
So there you have it – three things that I think make a real difference in helping an organisation be more responsive and more engaging, for employees, customers and other stakeholders too. Do you agree? I’d love to hear from you if you do or don’t, and what might you add to the list?
Doug Shaw, consultant – What Goes Around Limited
As part of CIPD’s annual renewal programme, CIPD members who renewed their membership by 22 June, or have a Direct Debit set up, were able to download an advance copy of the forthcoming report Harnessing social media for organisational effectiveness from the CIPD renewal website
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