The wrong employees are leading your social media effort

Younger workers show reticence to dive in, despite greater fluency

Kids. They know all about this social media stuff, right? So the Millennials in your company must be setting the pace for using networking tools within the enterprise.

Dr. Paul Leonardi of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, finds that might not be the case. And that as a result, you might not be getting all the knowledge dispersion and knowledge management benefits that you should.

A recent research project by Leonardi is covered by Adi Gaskell writing on

Leonardi's study compared two similar departments within a single organization. One department was provided with access to an enterprise social network (and encouraged to use it), while the other group relied on traditional communication tools such as email. According to Gaskell's writeup, those in the social group "were 31 percent better at finding the information they needed and 71 percent better at finding the person they needed."

But Gaskell also highlights a more profound point--that the younger members of the department were not the leading users of the social network. These employees expressed reticence about posting inappropriate material or other concerns, whereas older employees simply adopted the network as another professional communications tool.

So--counterintuitively--companies may need to train younger employees to fully take advantage of their fluency in social networking concepts.

For more:
- read the article

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