This article discusses why Facebook does so well in the workplace and can unpack its potential effects on the workplace, writes Mike Hicks, CMO at Igloo.
When employees make connections, it can make your business stronger.
According to McKinseyOpens a new window , employees who use social software are as much as 25% more productive at their jobs, and employees who are engaged socially are also more optimistic and less likely to leave their current company. On its face, Igloo’s finding that 87% of employees connect with coworkers via Facebook is extremely encouraging. It shows employees overwhelmingly want to connect with one another.
Managers should foster this overwhelming desire among their employees to connect.
Regardless of the medium, colleagues’ desire to engage and share on a personal level via social media is human nature and can bring positive benefits. Employees tend to work better as a team, and with an emotional connection, may find themselves going the extra mile on a project and picking up the slack for teammates when necessary.
But Facebook is external, unstructured, and a place where problems can arise when personal opinions or politics are shared with an audience of coworkers. And because of this increased connection with coworkers on the platform, Facebook may be becoming less authentic as a whole. Seventy-one percent of employees say they have hesitated to post something to social media for fear it might be seen by a coworker. What’s more, Facebook is public, and while personal interaction should be encouraged, it’s impossible for a company to know if sensitive data or proprietary company information is being shared via the social network’s private messaging functions.
Facebook can cause blurred lines and bruised morale in the workplace
With more than 1.5 billion daily active usersOpens a new window , Facebook is impossible for employers to ignore. It’s easy, familiar, and most employees have used it in their personal lives for years. When employees want to take the leap from a professional to a more personal relationship with a coworker, Facebook is a natural next step.
But Facebook is also a place where users post overwhelmingly personal content. Inside jokes, political takes, and seemingly innocent memes meant for an audience of friends become visible to teammates â€”Â and the result is not always positive. When professional contacts are inserted into a personal space, the lines of what is appropriate are blurred, self-censoring occurs and lines might be drawn among teams based on thoughts or opinions that are entirely unrelated to work. One offensive joke could mean serious morale issues within a team, or personal politics could damage a relationship between a manager and an employee.
What’s more, the connection on Facebook can pose serious security issues for the enterprise. When employees use Facebook, and by extension tools like Messenger also offered by the company, there is no line between personal and work-related conversations. When lines become too blurred, and employees begin using Facebook as a defacto communication platform for confidential information, serious security and compliance problems can arise. Leaders should seriously consider: Are you comfortable with your organization’s data being shared via the Facebook ecosystem?
It’s time to consider another space for personal connection
Employees’ use of Facebook makes it clear they wish to connect with one another. But as a leader, you need to make sure employees are doing so in a controlled way that is secure and safe for the workplace.
A forward-thinking solution like an internal communication platform helps create a Facebook-like experience for employees while keeping control in the employer’s hands. An internal social platform, modern intranet or similar solution can facilitate conversations and connections among coworkers when built and implemented properly. While it is likely employees will continue to connect on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram, encouraging and supporting connection through the digital workplace allows them to connect with more structure and security, and less chance that interactions get too personal.
It’s all about connection
Social connection is in our nature, and as such should be nurtured in the workplace. And a culture that supports collaboration and connection among employees promotes a happier, productive workforce. Employees need a safe, secure platform to foster connections, and when they have it, collaboration, teamwork, and high engagement follow close behind.