The growing passion for social technologies to drive engagement and productivity becomes more evident as I discover more and more articles on the topic. And there’s nothing more gratifying than finding articles that have been inspired by my own or have been republished either in part or in their entirety on other blog sites. Imagine my delight when I came across this article written by Dana LaSalvia, Director of Marketing at Rymax Marketing (@Rymax_Marketing), on how social media can be to create enriching workplace experiences for employees. I’m doubly humbled by the fact that The Social Workplace was referenced. Kudos to you, Dana, on such a wonderful piece and keep up the excellent though leadership. It’s a pleasure to make your article available here.
Building an Employee-Enriched Culture With Social Media, PIP Magazine, by Dana LaSalvia
With the increase of Gen X’s and Y’s ruling the workforce, employers are continually searching for new and innovative ways to create an employee-centric workplace and retain valuable talent. The current workforce—which is heavily comprised of post-baby boomers—are tech-savvy, more educated and do not hold the same level of allegiance to employers as their predecessors once did. These individuals rely heavily on technology to stay connected in order to perform their jobs. From instant connections to the latest mobile applications to blogging on social media sites, this generation is plugged in and connected 24/7.
What does this mean to the loyalty industry? It is clear that employers need to capitalize on this social movement and understand how to communicate with their employees. Organizations should think about integrating companywide marketing messages and upgrading their employee recognition programs to be more virtual. Corporate goals and engagement tactics should be reinforced using multiple touch points like blogging, tweeting, text messaging and instant messaging if they want to stay connected and keep their company and employee recognition program front of mind.
A recent white paper by the Performance Improvement Council discusses the correlation of social networking and recognition to a “digital water cooler.” Applying a virtual approach allows employees to share experiences and “news” while maintaining a greater sense of involvement (“Social Networking and Recognition: A Case for Virtual Story Telling and Real Results,” 2010). Moreover, the concept of employee enrichment seems to be gaining momentum as companies are finding a greater need for employee engagement and driving behavior through social media that employees can relate to.
Employee Enrichment—What’s It All About
As defined by the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, “employee enrichment provides superior opportunities to foster not just the quality of the work environment for better business performance, but for a richer life with personal well-being as the goal.” This concept reaches beyond the work-life balance and attempts to improve people’s lives with the expectation that “the better a person’s well-being, the better that person performs.”
But this isn’t a new concept—just a new term. Employee “perks” or added benefits have been around for a long time. On-site childcare and doctors, flex time, employee recognition and retention programs, and paid sabbaticals are some of the modern day “perks,” now termed employee enrichment benefits.
So, what’s the best approach? Employers know that their team members want to be engaged and enriched, but how is this possible on a budget? The response is simple, the “perks” have not all changed—but the way to communicate them has. Companies like Rymax are maximizing the fact that these new generations prefer instant communication via Facebook and Twitter rather than face-to-face contact. When major companywide announcements are taking place, we direct our employees to check out the Rymax Insider, our company blog at www.rymaxinsider.com. Rather than printing out certificates of accomplishment for our spot recognition program, employees receive e-certificates—cost-effective methods that keep our program in motion.
According to Elizabeth Lupfer from the Social Workplace, “employees need to identify with the mission of their company and see a clear line of sight from their work to the achievement of the company’s mission.” Today’s employees want to feel that they are making an individual and direct contribution in helping to attain business goals.
Social Media as a Medium for Recognition
Companies are continuously thinking of new ways to create a culture of appreciation and engagement through social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Daily Recognition Widgets or a custom social media platform, the communication flow is undeniable. Social media activity provides a stream of active information, enables continual dialogue and creates a sense of community. Whether employees are recognizing each other through public peer-to-peer recognition or blogging about a shared experience (e.g., praise from customer feedback), the exchange of instant information is vital to the employee enrichment process.
Successful employers have a toolbox of ideas on how to enrich employees’ lives at work, and they are using various social media outlets to reach them. Useful communication tools in today’s workforce include: posting important human resource updates on a company blog, receiving on-the-spot recognition over instant messenger, hosting a message board as an open forum for communication between colleagues, and downloading videos or pictures from company events onto your company Facebook profile. Another way to engage your workforce is by starting an internal company portal where team members can set up online profiles, show their pictures and tag other employees. Or create a mobile application for a recognition program that can be downloaded directly to a phone—allowing employees to scroll through and redeem for their hard-earned rewards.
Social Media and Employee Enrichment: A Perfect Match
Thanks to the advance of technology, transforming traditional recognition methods into virtual forms of daily appreciation is now easier than ever. Keeping this in mind, employers can create a culture of appreciation and enrichment using everyday recognition methods that today’s workforce is accustomed to and will value. Saying “thank you,” nominating peers and sharing success stories virtually will not only improve communication but help strengthen an employees’ commitment in their organization. There are tons of social media options out there—take your time in seeing what will work best for your company and start posting!
Dana LaSalvia is Director of Marketing for Rymax Marketing Services Inc., the largest manufacturers’ representative in the incentive industry. For more information, visit www.rymaxinc.com/PIP.