This question plagues many internal communicators today. While social media is growing leaps and bounds there are many reasons for organizations to be skeptical of its usage internally. Many fear loss of control, inability to manage employee voice and can’t comprehend how to tackle internal social media crises when the hit.
Here is a case of Poll Limited, a market research agency with over 5000 employees in 5 countries that aims to introduce internal social media. Binu, the social media chief is reluctant to get employees started while Seema, the employee communications lead believes there is merit. Read on to understand the issues and concerns and share your views.
Binu: “Hey Seema, look I know there are tons of research reports which point to the benefits of introducing social media internally. However, from the kind of content our employees tend to post on social media vehicles such as Facebook and Twitter I am loathe to have them engage within our network.”
Seema: “Tell me more Binu about the issues you foresee.”
Binu: “To begin, our employees have limited understanding of how to use such channels. Then, we have the concern of security and information leaks. We are a market research firm with global clients. The last thing we need is a public relations disaster caused by an overzealous and enthusiastic employee.”
Seema: “You mean to say our employees aren’t mature enough to do what is right for our organization?”
Binu: “Yes, I don’t think we are ready yet. Here is a simple example. Rajesh who is our analyst in the media wing recently tweeted about a confidential project and received numerous queries from people who follow him. When we intervened he had to withdraw his tweet in a hurry. We have had employees also post objectionable stuff online.”
Seema: “Don’t you think training will help?”
Binu: “Yes, to some extent but we can’t be policing employees as well. It is social media we are dealing with.”
Seema: “What other issues prevent us from going forward with internal social media?”
Binu: “I don’t see leaders showing interest. They are hardly present online and do not own the agenda. Also, decision making is limited at the top. With social media, speed is the essence. There is no one person in charge. Lastly, marketing is busy with external media and don’t see internal social media as a priority.”
Seema: “Hmm. That is a tricky situation. Let me think a bit more and come back.”
How can Seema know if her organization is ready? What are the signs? How can she convince Binu to change his impression?
Keen to hear your views.