Social Media and Employee Engagement | School of Journalism & Mass Communication | Kent State University

Social Media and Employee Engagement

Public Relations Professor Earns Award for Internal Communication Research

The growing use of social media in society is leading to a reshaping of internal communication strategy for businesses.

Kent State Associate Professor Michele Ewing and a team of researchers recently explored the role of social media in creating an engaged workplace. The team’s research was recognized Saturday, March 10, with the PRSA Employee Communication Award at the 21st International Public Relations Research Conference in Orlando.

This study was designed to determine best practices with planning, implementing, and measuring social media strategies to improve employee communication and engagement. It found that content strategies like providing sharable, relevant, and practical content, and being authentic and consistent, were among “best practices,” as well as these strategies:

  • Providing clear social media policies, guidelines and employee training
  • Identifying, promoting and empowering employee social advocates
  • Leadership involvement and endorsement
  • Social media monitoring and listening

The study supported an increasing trend of using social media in internal communication, such as blogs and general social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google Plus. Other social media channels reported as commonly used included specialized internal social media tools provided by vendors such as Yammer, Chatter, Slack, Facebook at Work, Social Chorus, and Dynamic Signal and enterprise social media.

The research team – consisting of Kent State’s Ewing, who teaches public relations; Rita Linjuan Men, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Florida; and Julie O’Neil, Ph.D., professor at Texas Christian University – arrived at these findings by conducting in-depth interviews with 27 internal communication practitioners at companies known for workplace satisfaction. Participants work for large, global companies representing a range of industries, including energy, education, fashion, healthcare and more.

The researchers started a second phase of the study involving a survey of employees at different levels of positions working in U.S. corporations. This research will gain insight about employees’ perceptions of corporate social media strategies, organizational transparency and employee engagement.

The Arthur W. Page Center and Kent State University College of Communication & Information provided grant funding to support this research.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 8:20pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 6:22pm