At Colabria Action Research Networks a constant question is whether serious organizations should embrace social media. Unbelievably, in September 2013, it’s still unanswered. For example, here are some shocking research remarks and statistics from Fast Company (August 2013) —
- “Only 7% of managers consider social media skills important for employees.”
- “Managers at the majority of companies don’t see the value in using social media…”
- “Only 14% of managers believe that social media is either very important or extremely important for customer service.”
Another specific question is if social media should be deployed to improve employee engagement. Both must be answered with an emphatic, “Yes!”
Given the dismal state of US employee engagement, anything that improves employee engagement must be pursued. To wit, “By the end of 2012, as the USA inched toward a modest economic recovery, only 30% of American workers were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace.” – Gallup
Thing is, enterprise productivity is fast moving from transactions to interactions. Work, real work, is in interactions. Thus, enterprise collaboration platforms CAN and should be places to become engaged, per se.
- There is a new generation of employees having access to the collective knowledge of an entire profession and where experts are easy to find and connect.
- Collaboration takes place across organization and company boundaries with everyone connected by a social ecology that spans the boundaries of institutions.
- Data, knowledge, analysis, and opinion are equally available to every member of a team in formats that are digital, sharable, and structured.
Managers, as traditional Confucius-type Mandarins, doling out discipline and emolument, are patently obsolete. Rather, leaders must do everything to propel frictionless interactions. They must fundamentally expand organizational and employee valance, the ability to combine, to prosper. Social media are instrumental in advancing these critical transorganizational and perpetual interactions.
Mobile, BYOD and Gen-Y have blurred the boundaries between work and life. That transformation has yet to be fully grokked by those troglodytes that relentlessly call themselves management.
This is a clarion call. We’re in a headlong flight to The Social Enterprise. The rules of the road are still being developed, tested and adopted.