For today’s employees, social media use is a part of life. As recent statistics reveal, 81 percent of the U.S. population had social media accounts in 2017 – up nearly 20 percent from four years prior. And many of these social media users are balancing multiple different accounts at the same time.
To employers, it should come as no surprise that the significant majority of employees use social media at work. But if the distractibility of social media-immersed employees is well-established, what’s less clear is the impact of social media use on how workers relate to one another. Does social media bring employees closer together? Or does it create new anxieties? We wanted to find out.
In a recent survey, Igloo asked those questions as well as others. The survey — which polled over 1,000 full-time employees to examine the state of workplace collaboration — found that most employees connect with one another on social media. For enterprises, there’s an opportunity to harness this connectedness and foster a better workplace culture. But that requires using the right tool.
Majority of employees are connected — on social, anyway
As our 2018 State of Social Media in the Workplace survey found, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of employees said they’re connected with coworkers on social media.
In terms of the specific breakdown of platforms, we were surprised to see that far more employees are connected on Facebook than LinkedIn. Despite LinkedIn being the designated platform for work-focused connections, 91 percent of our survey audience reported Facebook connections with colleagues versus only 41 percent on LinkedIn.
Social media use is often discussed in terms of generational breakdowns, with the assumption that millennials — those between the ages of 18 and 34 — are more likely to be connected via social. And though our data did show slightly increased social connections among millennials (70 percent compared to 60 percent of their Gen X colleagues) the platform choice across generations was similar, with 85 percent of each generation choosing to connect on Facebook. LinkedIn connection percentages were also very close across the three generations. The only platform that showed a significant generation-specific spread was Instagram, which 39 percent of millennial employees connect over versus only 15 percent of Baby Boomers, those between the ages of 51 and 69.
While the majority of employees choose to connect with their colleagues, they’re also discerning about whom to let in. Of the employees we surveyed, only 27 percent said they connect with all of their coworkers. Millennials were more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to connect with everyone. Men were also notably more likely than women to connect with everyone (31 percent vs. 21 percent). Overall, though, the greatest percentage of respondents — 70 percent — said they choose to connect with colleagues with whom they share a friendship outside of work.
But being friends with a colleague doesn’t take fears of judgment and embarrassment out of the equation. As our respondents revealed, 46 percent of them have worried about what a coworker might think about one of their social posts, while more than half of total respondents said they’ve decided against posting something on social because of a coworker connection.
Despite these preventative steps, however, awkwardness does occur. Of those we surveyed, many shared stories that traversed the spectrum, including:
- An employee who saw a colleague post on social on a day that colleague was supposedly sick.
- An employee posting ”party” nightlife photos on social, leading the annoyed coworker to unfriend that employee.
- An employee who complained about a negative experience with a coworker, only to have that exact coworker read the post.
Yet despite these uncomfortable situations, it’s clear that social media has a significant and defined role in how employees relate to one another. Therefore, rather than shun in-office social media use, enterprises should look for a way to harness it.
That’s where a solution like Social Zone can come into play. The idea behind Social Zone is that it provides companies with a business-specific social platform in order to foster better workplace culture. Company culture is built upon employees feeling close and supported, and Social Zone is just one of a portfolio of digital workplace solutions that enables this connectedness through a consolidated platform in which employees can chat, plan events, and maintain social clubs and photo albums. In essence, this next-gen intranet platform incorporates social, and puts social conversations into the context of the work being done, to help break down silos and encourage mutual support.
As our survey revealed, employees are already connected on social media. It’s time for companies to harness that existing connectedness to drive a better culture.
[Infographic] State of Social Media in the Workplace 2018
To learn more about Igloo’s Social Zone solution and to get all the latest stats from our 2018 State of Social Media in the Workplace survey, check out the infographic below!
Sources from blog post