There are a few reasons why the C-suite isn’t using social media more inside organizations. Time management is a big one. A CEO, CIO, CFO, CHRO or other chief officer is likely quite busy and may think he or she doesn’t have time to “do social.” The Executive Time Use Project found C-suite members spend 55 hours per week at work.
Fear is another reason — specifically fear of failure and of being open. India-based HR social consultant Gautam Ghosh said, “The C-suite needs to stop thinking of the boundaries as opaque walls — both internally and externally. Think of them as porous, translucent membranes. Be ready to fail. Remember, it’s a world of flows.” In other words, the C-suite should get over fears of failure, openness and tentativeness and partake in the flow of information.
Another issue that may be causing this dearth of C-suite social participation is the misperception that it is a time waster. McKinsey Global Institute, however, finds the opposite to be true. After analyzing more than 4,200 companies, in 2012 McKinsey found if social technologies were used more effectively in the workplace, these companies would garner $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in total value. The report suggested social technologies in the organization demonstrated “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises.” That’s not wasted time. Communicating and collaborating are knowledge sharing methods that can increase organization competence.
Ryan Holmes, CEO of social media management system HootSuite, said social media is an important asset inside and outside the organization. In a 2012 Fast Company article titled “The $1.3 Trillion Price of Not Tweeting at Work,” Holmes said, “Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide.”
“I believe that social media is the new watercooler, in the sense that more and more people are talking, sharing stories and generally bonding through social channels like Facebook and Twitter,” Holmes said in a recent interview. “… In this way, social media is like an ongoing team-building exercise. When C-suite members join that conversation, they become more in touch with their employees, and only then can they use those channels to drive internal engagement.”