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Sneak peek at the early findings of the Social Workplace Trust Study

Today we released preliminary results of the Social Workplace Trust Study, a study that was co-sponsored between Human 1.0, The Great Place to Work Institute, The International Association of Business Communicators, and The Society for New Communications Research. We will post the recording of the webinar in which we previewed a sneak peek of the results tomorrow, and you can find a copy of the deck we used on Slideshare.

So why did we release a sneak peek of the findings?

We truly believe that there is so much in the data that the more we socialize it with people who have an interest in the topic the better the findings from the study will be. If you are interested in discussing the data with us, please contact me at francois [at] human1 [dot] com.

So what are some of the high level findings?

Finding # 1 – most respondents believe that the best way to learn about a company is through social media and that the accuracy of information about a company is higher in social media than on company websites.

The people who agreed with the statement “One of the best ways for a person to learn about a company is by using social media” outnumbered those that disagreed by a factor 1.5X. When we asked the same question from heavy users of social media, that factor became a whopping 15X, and when we asked the question to people outside of the marketing and communication functions, that factor became 2X.

The respondent who agreed to the statement “What I read about a company on social media is more accurate than what I read about the company on its own website” also outnumbered those that disagreed by a factor 1.5X. When we asked the heavy social media users, that factor became 5.5X, and without the communication and marketing functions, the factor became 2.4X.

Finding #2 – if you treat your employees as adults, instead of as children, you can expect a work environment with higher trust, higher loyalty, and higher employee self-esteem.

Treating an employee as an adult encompasses many cultural traits – including risk, trust, hierarchy, passion, and a set of human-centric belief systems. We used the answers to 5 questions from the survey as proxies for determining whether employees were treated as adults or children. The subsequent findings were amazing.

People that are treated as adults are 3.3X as likely to trust management, they are 2X more loyal to the company, they have 1.7X as much job satisfaction, they take pride in talking about their work with others that is 2X that of people treated as children, and 1.5X as many people who are treated as adults consider themselves having larger social networks than others. Now can you see the benefits that companies who treat their employees as adults must be gaining in terms of talent acquisition and retention, increased innovation and word of mouth?

Not only are the benefits not incremental, they are totally non-linear. If you treat an employee as an adult, not only will they participate in conversations about their company in social media by a factor 3.3X compared to those treated as children, with 1.5X as many of them having larger than average social networks, they will buzz more to more people – and therein lays just one of the exponents.

We also found a clear link between treating employees as adults and passion. The factor there is between 2X and 12X – that means that people who are treated as adults are 2-12X as likely to be passionate at work. Now if you are familiar with some of John Hagel’s work on passion, he found that people who are passionate at work are 2X as likely to tackle tough problems and have social networks that are 2X as large as those that do not have passion at work. Again, can you see the benefits in terms of knowledge flow and innovation?

We have many other findings, including how management actually does live in a “bubble”, how there might be an employee engagement gap, how many companies still discourage the use of social media, and how they fail to use social media to humanize their brands.

Another key finding is how companies expose themselves to significant risks and liabilities by not providing training or “guard rails” on the proper use of social media to their employees.

Again, those results are preliminary. We are still conducting qualitative interviews and cross-tabulating survey results, but if you would like to get involved and make it better before we release the final findings, please be in touch.

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