Employers reluctant to adopt social media

A resistance to change and a lack of social media savviness among senior leaders is holding organisations back from fostering cultures of transparency, collaboration and innovation, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The Current landscape of social media and employee voice report, conducted by Silverman Research, found that social media presents employers with the opportunity to engage staff in shaping the future direction of their organisations, but employers are resistant to change.

The research also found that:

  • The biggest barrier preventing employers from embracing social media, as a channel for employee voice, is inaction and resistance to change among leaders.
  • Senior employees often lack understanding about how social media works and the power of the data it can generate.
  • Too much weight is given to the potential perils of a more open approach.
  • Some employees have taken matters into their own hands by forming unofficial social media channels.

Jonny Gifford, research adviser at the CIPD, said: “For organisations to thrive, employees must be given the opportunity to discuss how their organisations can innovate and feed their views upwards, as well as having the freedom to blow the whistle about genuine issues at work.

“Social media won’t always be the most appropriate channel for discussing issues, but employers must wake up to the fact that they can’t ignore it.

“Employee voice expressed through social media is much more influential because it is more likely to be heard. In comparison, employee surveys are ‘voice without muscle’.

“Social media affects even organisations that have been slow in the uptake, whether they realise it or not or whether they like it or not, so employers must start designing their own future in employee voice before it designs them.”