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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why Social Media Belongs At Work

A common misconception about social media is that it wastes employees' time by "distracting" them from "work."

Whoever had this idea must have been thinking that workers are still sewing buttons on shirts all day or herding farm animals.

In those situations social media doesn't help. Mostly everywhere else I am for it. Because in fact social media saves money, boosts morale, increases team spirit, and enhances employee productivity and value.

That is why people who aren't allowed to access social media at work will viciously grind the keyboard of their "Crackberry" all day, sending mindless email after email.

They want to hear something back!

So while I am NOT an advocate of opening up the corporate firewall to YouTube and such - cyberattacks are pretty nasty - I am in favor of providing or facilitating access to standalone computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Here are 10 benefits to productivity that result from encouraging employee use of social media at work:

1. They solve problems independently rather than using corporate resources to obtain them

2. They import best practices that can save the company time, money, and frustration

3. They receive advice and support regarding issues at work that could otherwise cause them to disengage

4. They learn to write more effectively as this is the primary online communication tool

5. They discover ways to innovate that go beyond trying to fix currently recognized or obvious problems

6. They become more adaptable and flexible regarding change and thus more likely to welcome new directions from leadership

7. They wind up engaging in continuous ongoing professional training rather than asking you to pay for costly weeklong seminars as their "once a year learning opportunity"

8. They independently compare themselves to their peers and discover areas needing improvement - helping you avoid difficult conversations that introduce resistance to you as a factor

9. They discover and import new technologies that can help you serve the customer faster, better, cheaper

10. Most important they build relationships with peers and customers internally and externally - enhancing your corporate brand

So as Wayne Dyer might say, don't fight the flow of the river - just harness its energy to help it flow safely and energetically.

Have a good day everyone, and good luck!