Employers Turn to Social Media to Keep Workers Engaged

June 9, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers faced with reduced communication budgets and resources are turning to social media to keep their workforce engaged, according to a survey.

The Employee Engagement Survey by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation in association with Buck Consultants found almost four-fifths (79%) of respondents report that they use social media frequently to engage employees and foster productivity, outranking even e-mail (75%). A press release said company blogs are the most popular social media tool currently in use (47%), with discussion boards ranking the highest for future planned use (33%).

Currently few respondents use social networking sites such as Twitter (21%), Yammer (20%), and Facebook (18%), but organizations are planning to use those tools even more in the future.

Other key survey findings, according to the press release, include:

  • More than half of the respondents (52%) report their communication budgets have decreased and 35% report their communication staff has been reduced over the past 12 months;
  • The most common reasons cited for communication budget and staff cuts are the economic downturn (46%) and organizational mandates (42%);
  • 48% report their employee communication strategy has stayed the same despite the economic downturn;
  • 62% of respondents regularly engage in employee listening activities such as surveys and focus groups, and 30% rarely or never engage in these methods;
  • 56% of top executives are not using social media at this time, and nearly half (46%) of organizations are not measuring social media’s effectiveness;
  • Almost six in 10 respondents (59%) think their company has a well established internal or employer brand.

The survey includes responses from nearly 1,500 participants representing a broad industry and geographic base.