Although many companies have policies against the use of social media in the workplace, and often block access to those sites, the reality of a new method of communication is facing us. A large portion of the next generation to enter the workforce depends heavily on social media as a method of communication. With smart phones, users can access virtually any site and interact socially online at work regardless of their employer’s rules.
To keep up with the changing environment, companies need to reconsider their positions on social media not only as a marketing tool but also as a way to encourage collaboration and communication inside the workplace. We are experimenting at Bradshaw with an application called Yammer that includes some features of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It can also integrate with Sharepoint and be limited to users with e-mail domains inside our company only. Within a few days of Monty Milliner creating our network and inviting the first two users, representatives from almost every department had signed up. Now almost all employees are participating. While it remains to be seen how much value this new tool adds to the business, one thing is clear : It took years for e-mail usage to seem relevant and spread to all employees, but it took days for a social media application to spread through the company. It has thrust us into a discussion about employee accessiblity of online applications and computers in general that we otherwise would have not seen from this perspective.
As part of the vision for the future of our company it is important to challenge traditional thoughts. Yammer is helping us move down the road with an open mind and new ideas about what it means to communicate in the workplace.