How Social Media Can Increase Employee Engagement

Managers: What if I told you that you could leverage social media to increase your employee’s engagement and job satisfaction? Do you think I’ve lost my new-media mind?  Let me ask this: Have you ever received an award at a company event (conference, banquet, etc.) and then the next workday, had boundless energy and motivation? 

Sure you did.  That’s how recognition works, especially when it is public.  When I keynote for HR and talent management groups, I talk about three compensation plans they can offer: Financial, Emotional and Social.  (Financial = $, Emotional = working environment and Social = public praise).  The social compensation plan may not be what attracts talent, but according to research by Bersin and Associates, recognition programs can give a company 14% more engagement and reduce voluntary turnover by 31%.  That’s why employee recognition is a whopping $40billion dollar industry! 

Most of the time, though, recognition is doled out annually, based on extraordinary results.  For Gen Y workers, AKA the status-update-generation, this is not fast enough.  According to a Harvard Business Review article (Mentoring Millennials), younger workers need faster feedback, if not real-time.  Most companies, though, haven’t figured out how to do this.  Enter social media, the world’s cheapest recognition machine. 

Recently, when I was researching for a keynote talk for security equipment manufacturer Interlogix, I came across a great case study of how a company can give social-recognition that works.  AVI-SPL, a video integration service provider, uses their facebook page to recognize milestones for employees: 15 years of service or a recently completed project.  In both cases, there is interaction with the posts, spilling over to employee’s family and friends.  


If your company culture is Twitter-centric, that may be the best platform to give instant and public shoutouts. Same goes if your company’s mostly using LinkedIn.  Here’s the challenge: Can you find a way, this week, to give some much needed recognition to you employees over social?  You know they’ll find out, and when they do, you’ll see the results in terms of spirit and energy.