Doug Shaw, CEO of What Goes Around Limited, discusses how if we are not careful, social media will lead to a breakdown in face-to-face communication in the workplace.
The communication tools that are now provided by social media are the answer to no one’s prayers unless organisations encourage the behaviour that makes them worthwhile and as they suggest, social.
So what might that behaviour be? Below are three factors that will help make any workplace a more open and trustworthy environment to work in.
It’s not enough for businesses to talk about openness and trust, for it to occur; positive steps towards decentralisation need to happen. Employees in Human Resources (HR), Marketing, Comms and other places need to feel comfortable and encouraging about participation.
Giving people access to the likes of Facebook and Twitter is one thing, giving them the environment where it’s ok to respond on behalf of the company is essential; otherwise all you do is create blockages in the system. The benefit of social media is speedy responsiveness, so make sure you don’t gum it up.
The brashness, and dare I say it, arrogance that often accompanies senior management is a lousy lens through which to encourage collaboration. People make mistakes, and very often the open systems of social media highlight those mistakes, and very quickly.
Pride yourself on the mistakes you make as they are learning opportunities and as threads in stories too. Sharing mistakes shows people that you are comfortable with the vulnerable light that it puts you in. Having the confidence to display your vulnerability is extremely powerful in creating an environment where it’s ok to make mistakes and makes it easier to learn from them.
In the days before email, we used to talk with one another. A lot of folk have largely forgotten how to do that, and if we’re not careful social media will continue to instill that forgetfulness.
Yeah ok, we tend to use social media for the ease of use when it comes to online conversation – the to-ing and fro-ing of messages. But where’s the tone? Where are the inflexion and the nuance? We can only pick those things up from hearing the voice.
And then there’s face to face conversations – remember those? Sharing a conversation with someone in the same physical space is transformational. Body language, eye contact, smiles, anger, all these things manifest themselves and add to the richness of the experience.
So there you have it – three things that make a real difference in helping an organisation be more responsive and more engaging, for employees, customers and other stakeholders too.