April 3, 2014
Even as employees face upheaval from leadership turnovers, financial slowdowns and other changes, social media have given rise to a movement of “employee activists” who defend their employers from criticism, online and off.
According to a new study from Weber Shandwick, an estimated one in five employees is an employee activist, and another third have high potential to grow into these roles. Fifty-six percent of employees surveyed said they have either defended their employer to family and friends or publicly in a newspaper, website or blog.
With the impact of social media on company reputations now an everyday reality, identifying and encouraging employees who are willing to provide this extraordinary support for their organizations “should certainly be an important priority for CEOs,” said Micho Spring, Weber Shandwick’s corporate-practice chair.
The study found that 50 percent of employees use social media to post messages, pictures or videos about their employer. Thirty-nine percent said they have shared praise or positive comments about their employer online, while 16 percent shared criticism or negative comments.
Meanwhile, 84 percent of employees have recently experienced an employer change such as new leadership, lay-offs and mergers and acquisitions, the study says. And thanks to poor internal communications, only four in 10 employees can describe what their employer does or what its goals are. — Greg Beaubien