Watson Wyatt, a human resources consultancy, does a large-scale annual survey looking at return on investment for communication strategies.

One section of this year’s report focused on Social Media as used by 328 organizations that collectively represent 5 million employees in various regions around the world. (Full demographics of those surveyed at the bottom)

First a summary chart of how Watson Wyatt concludes Social Media is best used in a company’s internal communications mix:

Watson Wyatt’s findings:

Highly effective communicators are making greater use of social media than their less- effective peers.

On average, however, usage is fast outpacing effectiveness. While the use of social media has expanded over the last 12 months for all, highly effective communicators are more than twice as likely as the least-effec- tive group of companies to have expanded their use of social media (Figure 14).

The most prevalent reasons for not increasing the use of social media stem from a lack of resources and knowledge, rather than legal restrictions (Figure 15).

Companies that are using social media to engage employees are using these tools to address a variety of topics (Figure 16). The most prevalent topics are collaboration and team building, adapting to change, and promoting health and wellness. The difference between high-and low-effectiveness communicators was not significant in this area. It ranged from a 17 percent difference in providing a line of sight to the business to a 9 percent difference in promoting risk taking; however, less than half of participants are using social media to reach their workforce.

Highly effective communicators are using social media tools 2-3 times more than the low-effectiveness group of companies to reach employees (Figure 17). Most participants (65 percent) expect to use social media more next year.

To get a better return on their investments in social media, however, companies will need to build on their knowledge base and undertake these basic steps:

– Document their social media policy
– Develop tools to measure the success of social media at their company
– Build executive support

Companies are making greater use of electronic and face- to-face communication than before, while the use of print continues to decline (Figure 18).

Demographics of those surveyed:

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  1. Interesting that social media is distinguished from the intranet when it should be one of the tools of the intranet. I suspect it will be difficult to distinguish one from the other as they converge over the next short while.

  2. Interesting that social media is distinguished from the intranet when it should be one of the tools of the intranet. I suspect it will be difficult to distinguish one from the other as they converge over the next short while.

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  11. Jade

    Great post! If I may, I’m currently working on my thesis on the use of internal social media and would really appreciate it if you could take my quick survey. I’d be happy to share the results!


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