Social Media Proves to Boost Employee Engagement

There’s no doubt that social media has changed human behavior over the past decade. According to research, 81% of Americans have a social media profile, and two hours are spent on social media every day by the average person. While corporations aren’t using LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the like to engage their employees, many are taking the features that make these social media companies so successful and adding them to their internal communications and learning platforms.

Internal communication and training professionals need to cultivate employee buy-in and engagement for each campaign or course they launch. After all, an inspired workforce often goes hand-in-hand with increased employee morale, productivity and improved customer satisfaction, driving better top- and bottom-line results. Over the past few years, tens of thousands of brands have adopted turnkey platforms to activate their employees. The following tools highlight how gamification, socialization and rewards platforms are currently being leveraged.

 

Gamification

While, for most people, work isn’t all fun and games, many companies have turned to gamification tools to boost employee performance, motivation and engagement. The more often companies celebrate their employees, the more engaged they are on the job. Novartis, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, uses gamification to educate employees on its product portfolio and to reinforce company values. From games and challenges to badges and leaderboards, the company has been using gamification for a few years. For three years straight, they have run a program focused on distance-learning for 600 employees around the world, focused on working together on real challenges. Novartis reports a 12% increase in employee satisfaction after the first year of implementation.

There are many products in the gamification space including Badgeville, Bunchball and GamEffective. However, Workplace Arcade is a fairly new company on the scene and is setting itself apart with its Slack-like communication tool that turns employee, department and companywide goals into contests, recognizing and rewarding accomplishments in real time. Companies can set up teams, define scoring metrics, launch challenges, publicize winners and award tangible prizes.

 

Socialization

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust earned media, like recommendations from their peers, over all other forms of media. This is one of the reasons why Facebook is so successful. One year ago, Facebook launched Workplace to extend its success into the corporate world.

Workplace is a dedicated space for employees to connect, communicate and collaborate on work-related initiatives. Anyone familiar with Facebook features such as Messenger, livestreaming video and trending stories, can jump right in and engage in a similar fashion at the office. While there are other products in the marketplace like Slack, Yammer and G Suite, what makes Workplace so easy is that it has the same features and interface as Facebook, a platform used by over two billion people worldwide. The only difference between Facebook’s consumer platform and the corporate platform is that an individual’s accounts can’t be mixed and that all content in Workplace is owned by the employer.

Volkswagen Ireland, a 125-employee division of the international automaker, actively uses Workplace across multiple passenger and commercial brands. Prior to using Workplace, it reported little collaboration between employees despite everyone working in the same building. Their leadership decided to adopt Workplace and demonstrate from the top down how joining the digital conversation is critical to building the Volkswagen Group of the future. Today, over 95% of their office uses Workplace to communicate and collaborate. Their efficiency is up and emails are down. Other brands, including Starbucks, Columbia Sportswear and Hello Fresh, all report daily use by over 80% of employees who have been invited to the platform.

 

Rewards

Peer recognition is a critical building block in any strong company culture. Because in most organizations, management oversees more employees and initiatives than they can effectively handle, recognition often gets overlooked. Recognition is easy to give and great to receive. The hardest part about giving recognition is remembering to do it in real time.

Employee peer recognition can take various forms. Many companies, including Oracle, Pointroll and ZipRecruiter, use Bonusly, a platform for recognition and rewards that aims to improve employee engagement. On average, these companies report north of 80% employee adoption.

Bonusly is a fantastic product but it’s not the only one focused on this space. There are dozens of companies, including Recognize, You Earned It and Tap My Back, putting recognition in the hands of those closest to the work. Using any of these platforms, employees can publicly recognize another colleague with praise and meaningful rewards.

Selecting an employee engagement platform can be complicated. However, if you want to improve your employee’s communication, collaboration, incentives, rewards and plenty of user analytics, it’s a worthy investment. Determining what product will best serve your company all comes down to identifying your long-term company goals. In the always-connected world we live in today, recognizing employees shouldn’t be left to HR — it’s crucial to your company’s success.

Find this article published at forbes.com