More employers are turning to social media tools in an effort to deal with reduced communication budgets and to keep their workforce engaged, according to new survey out today.

In its "Employee Engagement Survey," the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) partnered with Buck Consultants, to examine how organizations are communicating with employees to keep them engaged and productive.

Robin McCaseland
Robin McCaseland

"Communicating for optimal employee engagement is always a timely topic, but even more so during challenging economic times," said Robin McCasland, a director in Buck Consultants' communication practice and 2009-2010 chair of IABC Research Foundation.

"Our results represent opportunities for communicators to have greater influence in delivering messages that encourage employees to remain productive, and to understand how their work contributes toward achieving business priorities."

More than three-quarters (79%) of respondents said they use social media frequently to engage employees and foster productivity, outranking even email (75%). Company blogs are the most popular social media tool currently in use (47%), with discussion boards ranking as the highest for future planned use.

"It's encouraging to see the rising popularity of social media in employee communication," said Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, president of IABC. "Companies are moving away from the one-way communication model where they would send out information hoping people would read it."

"Using the various social media tools, companies can now engage employees in discussions and foster conversations between teams across geographic and other boundaries."

Current use of social networking sites such as Twitter (21%), Yammer (20%), and Facebook (18%) is significant, but organizations are planning to use those tools even more in the future.


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