The use of internal social media within organizations is significantly increasing as C-level executives are recognizing the power it can bring to their bottom lines, according to new research by employee communications specialist Gagen MacDonald and international public affairs consultancy APCO Worldwide.

The third annual employee engagement study by the two firms specifically looked at the usage and impact of internal social media within US corporations and explored employment-related issues and how companies communicate with their employees, with a particular focus on the use and prevalence of social media in the workplace.

The study revealed that in companies with effective social media programs:
• 58 percent of employees would rather work at a company that uses ISM, and 86 percent would refer others for employment
• 60 percent of employees say use of internal social media demonstrates innovation
• 61 percent of employees say their companies’ social media tools help them collaborate
• 39 percent of employees are more likely to recommend their company’s products and services
• 60 percent of employees are more likely to support their company when in crisis, and 67 percent are more likely to support the company’s public policy priorities

“Although leaders have struggled with ISM infrastructure and how to best use these tools within the workplace, the benefits of internal social media are becoming more concrete,” says Maril MacDonald, CEO of Gagen MacDonald. “We caution our clients to not get distracted by all the new technologies and instead focus on strategy and how these tools can help achieve business goals.

“In important ways ranging from recruitment and retention to employee advocacy and brand ambassadorship, companies using ISM strategies are seeing real, measurable returns that can’t be ignored. Our findings suggest an even more compelling reason to activate ISM within corporations: employees need to hear frequently, honestly, and authentically from their executive leaders. In fact, by more than a three to one margin, executive leadership remains the biggest influencer of employee engagement.”