Social media use at work raises productivity but lowers retention
- Social media isn't the big worker distraction employers think it is, but it is taking a toll on retention, a new study from Harvard Business Review (HBR) shows. Employees who use social media for work are more productive than those who don't, but they're also exposed to job opportunities, which makes them easy targets for poaching, say researchers.
- Most employees (82%) think social media improves work relationships and allows them to be more productive through collaboration, share ideas and problem-solve with colleagues, according to the research. And 60% of employees think social media helps with decision-making. Researchers say these are the reasons most workers use social media to connect with colleagues, even on company time.
- From from a retention perspective, 76% of employees using social media for work were more likely to take interest in other organizations, compared to 60% of employees who used social media for only leisure; 64% used it to find out about other organizations; 69% used it make new work connections; and 47% used it to look for another job.
If anything, the study shows the power of social media in cultivating a brand and engaging workers — which naturally comes with risks if competitors also get in on the game. Employees are already using social media platforms for personal use, and increasingly, they expect to use similar tools (or at least a similarly strong user experience) while at work, giving smart employers an advantage.
Management strategies that focus on improving the employee experience can help lower the chances of losing talent to competitors — and using social media-like tools to communicate with employees can be a big part of that. Communicating company news, setting up groups through which teams can collaborate, and recognizing employees' achievements and milestones through social media can minimize turnover. But employers will need to be careful not to drown their employees in notifications, either, experts have told HR Dive.
HBR points out that just as social media can work for a competing organization vying for candidates, especially in a tight labor market, it can also work for employers who want to attract the attention of active and passive job seekers by showcasing their brand. Big social media names, including Facebook, are explicitly creating tools to help employers take advantage of their social media presence, meaning its likely social media's presence at work will only expand.
- Harvard Business Review Employees Who Use Social Media for Work Are More Engaged — but Also More Likely to Leave Their Jobs
- HR Dive How group chat is changing work