I recently attended a presentation by Jonny Gifford of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) where he shared the results of their survey on social media use. Not surprisingly, the results showed we use social media on a daily basis in our personal lives. What did surprise me was that relatively few people use social media in their professional lives. Only 21 percent of respondents reported using social media in employee learning and development.
The two big questions we need to ask as training professionals are: why isn’t social media being used more by organizations, and how can we change that? Some of the most common reasons for avoiding social media in this setting are:
- Organizations don’t know where to start.
- Organizations don’t have access to the right tools.
- Social media is not part of the organization’s culture.
- Leaders don’t see how social media is relevant to their organization.
But those “excuses” will gradually become extinct. According to the survey results, 42 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 use social media several times a day for professional reasons. This is true for only 18 percent of those aged 55 or older. As younger generations join the workforce, we will naturally begin to see increased adoption of social media tools. As training professionals, we can assist that adoption and allow for a smooth transition by introducing social media into organizations through the training solutions we provide. Though it may be more comfortable to stick solely with tried-and-true approaches, it’s essential to “keep up” with our learners and leverage the tools that help them learn quickly and effectively.
If you’re thinking about incorporating social media into your organization’s training offerings, it may be best to take a phased approach. A good first step is to create a company account or page on a social media platform that can be used internally to share feedback on training programs and discuss training needs. If you’re comfortable having this information out in the open, Twitter is a great way to provide learner support throughout the training process. If you would prefer to keep this information within the organization, leveraging a private company LinkedIn page for this purpose may be a better fit.
How does your company use social media?
Piet-Jan Van Gerwen is EMEA Director of Business Development Commercial Segment for Raytheon Professional Services LLC (RPS). He is responsible for expanding RPS’ business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Piet-Jan has spent the last 25 years in the learning industry leading various areas of the training value chain, including learning design and development, training operations and learning technology.