We all have been through many technological changes in the workplace that have had a profound impact. I remember using a telex machine to confirm trades which then quickly moved to online trade confirmation platforms. Social media is no different. LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook….you name it…it is what the people are using in the workplace – a lot. And not only the millennials also baby boomers and Generation X. And I would argue that managers and leaders need to see the benefits of using social media in the workplace. For their employees, the performance of the company and themselves.
From my experience, social media does not distract employees. Rather it increases communication. It enables us to connect quickly internally and externally without needing an introduction. Every online comment, re tweet or question answered shows that you have listening skills and that you can truly engage. Social media also helps us sell our business better. It has given us the tools to measure what works, what generates our customer’s interest and allows us to constantly adapt to our customer’s needs. It allows us to be more in touch with our market, understand trends and developments. And social media increases speed. How satisfying is it when you can make a customer happy by responding right away to a question on Twitter? Or that you can get vital information to your customers within a matter of seconds? We all know that lack in communication speed can easily mean a missed opportunity, possibly leaving behind a negative sentiment.
Social media – and the skills it requires – makes us more interactive, quick and persuasive. All great traits in employees and leaders alike. And as a technology it increases productivity. So we should stop worrying about employees watching that YouTube video or posting something on Facebook at work. Social media will be around for a while. And those who use it wisely and well it will increase their effectiveness as a person and as a company.