Survey Says… | Gagen MacDonald

Insights & Events / Blog

Survey Says…

Jan 08, 2015

In the Let Go and Lead community, we know that, in the last decade, digital and social technologies have reshaped the meaning and expectations of leadership in some fundamental ways.

For that reason, we chose to focus our annual Employee Engagement study, which Gagen MacDonald conducts with our friends at APCO Worldwide, on the influence of social media on employee engagement in the workplace. This morning, we released these findings on what we’ve called Internal Social Media (ISM), providing some important implications for leaders.

First, putting an ISM infrastructure into place really matters for companies. Although many leaders have struggled with how to best use these tools within the workplace, their benefits are becoming more concrete. In important ways ranging from retention, to innovation, to brand ambassadorship, companies using ISM strategies are seeing real, tangible benefits that can’t be ignored.

Our findings suggest an even more compelling reason to activate ISM within corporations: employees need to hear frequently, honestly, and authentically from their executive leaders. In fact, by more than a three to one margin, executive leadership remains the biggest influencer of employee engagement.

Aligning and motivating an organization to deliver on its strategy and values will always be a core element of executive leadership. That will never change. However, the job has grown more complex.

Powered by social media tools, information is available today in ways and in quantities it has never been before. It’s everywhere, and it’s moving a million miles a minute. With all the noise and clutter this dynamic creates, employees are looking to their leaders to help make sense of it all. And, increasingly, they’re expecting to engage with these executives in the kind of two-way, informal dialogue that is at the heart of social media. As leaders, we need to be part of the action, and, in today’s world, that means getting online and having a voice.

For many of us, engaging in the online world can seem like odd and unfamiliar terrain. But that doesn’t give us an excuse not to participate in the conversation.

More than anything, employees are seeking perspectives they trust on issues that matter to them. It’s a leader’s job to provide that.

There are easy, low-risk ways to start. Twitter, Facebook and blogs are obvious places to get going. What’s important is not which platform you choose, or finding words and phrases that achieve universal consensus. The important part, right now more than ever, is showing up.

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