Social Media in the Corporation, Proceed with Care

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In my earlier blog, I had talked about leveraging social media techniques for employee engagement with millennials and how corporates can benefit by this. In this blog, I will talk about some of the dos and don’ts.

You all are aware of the recent controversy regarding Facebook conducting a social experiment on its users. While people have no hesitation in putting their most intimate details on to social networking sites like Facebook, they have a big problem when these sites use that information to influence behaviors.

Corporates also have access to a vast amount of data on their employees. By putting up platforms for internal social networking, there will be a vast amount of sensitive personal data that corporates will now have access to. It will hence be very easy for corporates to misuse this data to influence employee behavior. For example, social experiments could be conducted to influence parameters like Employee Satisfaction and Attrition especially if the corporation is facing challenges in these areas. Data could be mined to see what the employee is saying about his/her bosses and that could be used to take actions for or against the employee. Performance appraisals could be influenced, promotions could be influenced. The possibilities are endless! Henceforth, employees should be very careful about using corporate social networks. They should carefully evaluate the organization they work for, its ethics and corporate governance practices.

Corporates should also realize that breaching the trust of their employees can be disastrous for their brand and business. Non-ethical corporations will only succeed in getting non-ethical people to work for them.

Social networking can also be a very distracting activity. We have seen that Millennials by nature have the ability to multitask. While this is good, sometimes a job does need single-minded focus and long periods of concentrated activity. Henceforth, employees should be judicious about how and when they use the internal social networking platforms.

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is with respect to Knowledge Management. Ensuring effective knowledge management is almost like a quest for the Holy Grail. I believe that corporates can leverage their internal social networks to build a robust KM infrastructure. Social technologies coupled with effective data mining and analytics can address quite a few pain points that organizations face today when they want to implement an effective KM system. The issues of content sharing, moderating, and relevance can be handled very easily.

Once a corporate decides to embark on the journey to create a vibrant social network for its employees, it should ensure that the infrastructure is reliable and performant. Millennials have high expectations on speed and availability because of their experience with social networks. They will expect no less an experience from corporate social networks.

In summary, social networks methods and tools can be an extremely potent weapon that corporates can build. It can be used constructively to engage employees and make them more productive. Or it can be misused to manipulate employees. I fervently hope that Corporates take the former option!!

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