Social media can drive employee engagement

When your employees know that your customers hate your company it can turn any work place into a toxic cesspool of dissatisfaction. Who wants to work for a company that is always seen as doing wrong and having to justify oneself?

Telstra might be one of those companies. Now I have no research to say that employees within Telstra are dissatisfied, however it must be hard for many of them to keep smiling in the face of all of the criticism.

Update: While I was writing this post Mike Hickinbotham from Telstra was commenting on my other post. In the comment he indicated Telstra is trying to build a culture of anything is possible. A fantastic culture to build and if they succeed it will be a great example of cultural change within a large corporate. It is also a great example of them engaging with the blogosphere as part of a social media strategy.

Now allowing your staff to engage with customers through social media is an activity that will help them become engaged.

How?

Well let me refer to my old mate Hertzberg again. Specifically his Motivators and Hygiene factors. Remember the motivators are Achievement, Recognition, Work Itself, Responsibility, Advancement, and Growth. Breaking down the wall between your staff and customers addresses each one of these areas which in turn will drive a more engaged workforce, and eventually return greater shareholder value.

By using social media you break down the wall, or at least punch holes in it so people can see through, remember to succeed with social media you need to act like a human, not a corporate robot. Below are my thoughts on how using social media will effectively addresses each one of Hertzberg’s motivation factors.

  • Achievement – What is a better achievement than actually having happy customers by working as a team?
  • Recognition – Is one of the key drives of employee satisfaction, so what better way to get recognised than by your customers in public for doing a good job?
  • Responsibility – Being a public figure requires responsibility, this is in addition to the responsibility of engaging and solving customer issues.
  • Growth – Allowing employees to use social media to do their job means many will have to grow into more public roles. This growth externally will more than likely allow them to have a unique insight into your customers wants and needs, making the employees more valuable internally as well.
  • Advancement -The additional responsibility and growth will lay a foundation for further career advancement both internally and externally. The external advancement should not be seen as negative. What is better than having a great employee go to another organisation and be a shining example of how well your organisation develops employees. It might even turn your company into an employer of choice!
  • Work Itself – Once people start using social media to get their job done, the work itself becomes easier and more friendly. This is in part due to the other factors but also because humans by our very nature are social creatures.

I have focused above of solving customer issues, but the same holds true for developing new business relationships, creating sales opportunities etc.

I note that Telstra does have a blogging environment, I wonder if the employees involved feel more engaged than they did before have?