Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
The Upside to Social Networking
Social media can help people better themselves and their workplaces if leaders use technology to promote behavioral change rather than enable work distractions.
Many executives see the barrage of instant messages, Facebook notifications and tweets that penetrate their company walls every day as a massive drag on productivity, and with good reason: Studies show that companies that allow access to social networking sites lose productivity as a result.
According to a 2009 study by Nucleus Research, some employees spend as much as two hours a day goofing around with friends rather than getting things done.
To illustrate, consider the following scenario. Ben, a sales associate, struggles to stay on task and his performance is suffering. “Smiling and dialing” is drudgery to him. At any point in time, at least five much more interesting distractions beckon. Friends are no more than an instant message, tweet, text, e-mail or social network away.
Beat ’Em or Join ’Em
Companies that fail to proactively harness the power of social media in an intentional way will fall prey to its primary influence as a work distraction. Proactive leaders recognize that social media can be harnessed to reinforce values and behavioral change and support important corporate initiatives.
For example, a 2008 study on the role of sociability in developing online health communities for diabetics showed how social networking was used to help them develop better disease management habits. Along the same line, Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company, helps patients remember to take their prescribed medications with Glowcaps, medication bottles that trigger an e-mail to family members when someone fails to take the proper dosage of a prescription.
Other companies, such as Salesforce.com, are leveraging the power of social media to increase corporate productivity. The company introduced Chatter, a real-time sales feature that allows sales teams to track their activities easily, thus dramatically increasing best practice sharing.
Emerging research from corporate training and performance organization VitalSmarts suggests employees can overcome chronic performance problems when good social science is translated into useful technology. However, not all organizations hopped on the bandwagon during the meteoric rise of social media adoption. VitalSmarts was one such company until a pivotal conversation in the spring of 2005 challenged the organization to think differently.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine