This summary is provided by the IPR Digital Media Research Center
This study examined whether and how internal social media influences employee engagement. Specifically, this study proposed and tested a conceptual model that links employees’ use of internal social media, their perceived organizational transparency, and organizational identification to employee engagement. The results showed that employees’ use of internal social media was positively associated with their perceived organizational transparency and organizational identification, which in turn contributed to a higher level of employee engagement.
A quantitative online survey with 1,150 employees from various U.S. organizations that had adopted internal social media was conducted in April 2018. The data was collected by the global sampling provider Dynata. Stratified sampling strategy was utilized to obtain a sample representative of the adults in the US.
- The more employees use internal social media, the more they feel engaged with their organization. When employees read the organization’s or co-workers’ posts, interact with various content, and get engaged in discussions on internal social media, they feel more connected and involved with their organization.
- The more employees use internal social media, the more they perceive their organization as transparent. When employees are able to have direct conversations with their organization, leaders, and peers, freely express opinions, and feel their voice is heard, they were more likely to perceive their organization as open and transparent.
- Employees’ use of internal social media is positively associated with their organizational identification. Through receiving organization-related information and constant interaction with multiple parties on internal social media, employees are able to have a better understanding of their work, make sense of issues, and develop a feeling of belonging to the group, which ultimately contributes to a higher level of identification with the organization.
- Organizations’ use of internal social media not only provide employees with information, but it also satisfies employees’ psychological need for connectedness, community, socialization, and empowerment.
Implications for Practice
- Organizations should invest in time, efforts, and resources to design and manage internal social media, which can in turn lead to employees’ positive attitudes and perceptions.
- Organizations and leaders should strategically utilize internal social media to establish an open and transparent environment in workplace. Such attributes perceived by employees can inspire their sense of commitment and engagement with the organization, both of which are important intangible assets for organizations.
- Internal social media can improve perceptions of transparency and better connect employees with the organization, so be sure to remember its value in times of low morale.
Men, Linjuan Rita, O’Neil, Julie, & Ewing, Michele (2020). Examining the effects of internal social media usage on employee engagement. Public Relations Review, 46, 2.
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