Social media tools not seen as cost effective

More than half (56%) of respondents currently use social media tools as part of their communication with employees, according to research by Towers Watson.

The 2013 Towers Watson Change and communication ROI survey, which polled 290 large and medium-sized organisations in Asia, Europe and North America, found, however, that only between 30% and 40% of respondents rated the use of social media technology as cost effective.

The research also found that 41% of respondents claimed to be effective at building a shared experience with their employees, of which half (or 23% of the full sample group) achieved the same level of community building when it came to remote workers.

The most used types of social media tools include: instant messaging (73%), streaming audio or video (61%), HR or other function journal or blog (55%), enhanced online employee profiles (54%), and social networks (53%).

Nicola Cull, director, communication and change management consulting at Towers Watson (pictured), said: “We believe that social media can be a great tool for communicating with employees in the workplace.

“By its nature, social media is designed to build communities and could help engage employees on key topics such as performance, collaboration, culture and values.

“As the need for global collaboration increases, we expect more organisations will join those already leveraging social media to creatively communicate those messages.

“As today’s workforce evolves, we know from our research that the growing number of remote workers are looking for clear communication, to be treated with integrity, and want coaching and support from afar.

“For employers to effectively engage and retain remote workers, they will need to connect them with their leaders, managers and colleagues. We think social media tools can be a real help in making this connection.”