While companies are off debating their policy regarding access to social networking sites as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, there is a growing body of evidence that Net Generation employees, who put a huge premium on doing things quickly and with zero learning curve, will demand access to these sites. In fact, Professor Clive Holtham, of Cass Business School, notes that in California some firms are already finding they cannot attract or retain staff because their IT infrastructure fails to meet the standards of the Net Generation.
Consider some of the benefits in adopting social media to attract, develop and retain top talent:
Increases in Creativity and Innovation
Deloitte has come up with the innovative idea of hosting an employee film festival, where employees submit creative videos articulating the company’s values and culture. The best of these are now on YouTube. Deloitte has engaged in social media in a variety of other ways, with a special focus on using social networking in new hire on boarding. You can visit the Deloitte New Hire Facebook group from London of September 2007 to get an idea of how social networking can be utilized by new hires.
Increases in Employee Engagement
We know from the Gallup Organization that engaged employees lead to greater productivity, customer engagement and, by extension, higher profits. Hence, companies with populations of mostly actively engaged employees tend to outperform those with populations of mainly disengaged employees.
Increases in Communication with the Troops
Some aspects of social networking have already found their way onto the CEO agenda. Consider the growth in the number of CEO’s of publicly traded companies who have their own blog:
- Jonathan Schwartz, “Jonathan’s Blog” — CEO of Sun Microsystems
- Bill Marriott, “On the Move” — CEO of Marriott International
- Mike Critelli, “Open Mike” — executive chairman of Pitney Bowes
- Robert Lutz, “Fast Lane” — GM vice chairman
- David Neeleman, “Flight Log”— chairman of JetBlue Airways
- Michael Hyatt, “From Where I Sit” — CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers
While CEO’s that blog are still rare, what is more common is the company department that starts a blog to share their lessons, insights and practices to a global workforce.
Whatever road your company takes to developing a high performing workplace, the key will be to recruit, develop and retain the best talent and that talent may in fact demand you equip them with the latest tools in order to more closely match the way they run the rest of their lives.