Blogroll Internal Communication

State of the post-recession workforce and social media internal communication opportunities

Over the last few weeks I researched the ‘state of social media adoption in internal communications in India’ and got numerous insights.

 While I will share the details in an article shortly I wanted to reflect on opportunities for internal communicators to leverage social media in light of the recent 2010 Global Workforce Study by Towers Watson that covered 20,000 people across 22 markets.

While the report talks of changing priorities for a recession-battered workforce job security, a need for increased communication and emphasis on rewards and benefits stands out.


Face in a box

The state of employee engagement is quite low – 2 out of every 5 employees are disengaged, there is a shift on how employees view their relationships in the workplace.

I have listed out the key points that emerge from the study along with my corresponding viewpoint on how social media internally can make a difference.

3/4th of those studied believe that they are responsible for their financial future and careers.

(Opportunity: can we ‘crowdsource’ knowledge internally to give employees what they need? I am aware of many employees who are adept at planning finances and they can be brought-in as experts)

 Challenging work ranks highest followed by learning and development among employees to seek jobs in emerging markets like India.

(Opportunity: I believe leaders need to take note and include perspectives on adding ‘stretch’ goals for their employees. Also can we link social media tools to help employees get to ‘challenging work’ and serve learning via these channels?)

Just 1 in 10 use social media for business purposes and only 1/3rd think social media can improve productivity.

(Opportunity: In India I can vouch for the fact that social media internally is very nascent and internal communicators have a role to play in showing how it all connects to get results)

Employees like more freedom and flexibility but are unsure if the tools and resources currently provided help them currently.

(Opportunity: I recommend tapping social media activists from among your employees to demonstrate value)

 Confidence in leaders and managers is low – employees expect more ‘emotional’ connect and see the ‘human’ dimension.

(Opportunity: The way forward is to have more frequent and consistent contact as well as build support and trust. Social media channels can be used informally for this purpose to engage an increasingly digital and dispersed workforce)

The report discusses how ‘self-reliance’, ‘personalization’ and ‘agility in organizational processes and internal practices’ are some of the expectations from employers in the new scenario. Agility is in reference to speed at which practices such as rewards and recognition, talent management and leadership development are administered.

Again, I see a huge opportunity for social media to play a key role in communication,  integration and connection.

Finally, among the top 4 engagement drivers, image and empowerment showed a jump in 2009. The reasons provided reflect on state of business during the downturn, scandals which broke out and financial irregularities that impacted image of organizations. Due to the unsteadiness within organizations and their ability to focus on employees much during the recession more employees are taking on managing their own work situations – showing up in the ‘empowerment’ index.  Not surprisingly, leadership and career development took a backseat.

 What do you think?

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