At the recent Industrial and Organisational Psychology Conference in Brisbane, one of the most talked about themes was the impact of social networking within the workplace. We have all heard about disrupted productivityand decreased attention to detail but it was amazing to hear the number of positives that psychologists had noted with regards to this new phenomenon. I have plucked out four of the main positive things that I noted during the conference. It is probably worth having a look at these and thinking to yourself as to whether they are going to have a positive influence in your business if you implement them?
- In larger businesses, people are using LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with other people in other offices and "chat" and share ideas that they normally wouldn't. It has a much more informal and relaxed feel to it as opposed to e-mail. The upside of this is increased connectivity and sharing of ideas and as a result, more brainstorming and teamwork.
- An increased "esprit de corps". That is, the general feeling of connectedness and team oriented discussion has been increased. One person who I met with who worked in a government department had said that they are experimenting with an online chat forum and was quite literally bringing people together. That is, people who had assumptions about other people but hadn’t really met with them were using this new avenue to understand people better in a non-confrontational setting.
- Following on from the above, there was an increased social aspect to the workplace which some Psychologists were in the midst of writing proposals for future research which went along the lines of increased longevity of employment. So essentially, what they were saying was that because people have a good friend base at work, they were more likely to stay in their place of work longer. Less turnover?
- People talk. If people are generally positive and are generally enthusiastic about their work in your organisation, they are generally going to talk enthusiastically and positively in this open forum/medium. Therefore, you are going to get positive information spread about your business from the people at the grassroots. That's got to be the best PR ever?