Do your staff use social media while at work?

If your answer is no, maybe it's time to think about whether they should.

I'm not talking about Facebooking photos of their kittens or Tweeting about their lunch. Social media is a big part of our social lives now but businesses are also cottoning on that corporate social networking systems can really help improve internal communication.

I'm talking about systems such as Yammer and tibbr, which look a little bit like Facebook but are restricted to people within a company.


There, they can talk about projects they've got on the go, share files and brainstorm. It's especially good if you have people working outside the office, as more and more businesses do.

As your business grows and changes, or if you're thinking about branching out into other parts of the country or the world, you'll need to improve the ways you disseminate information to your team. Just passing around a memo on people's desks won't cut it anymore.

If yours is a workplace where everyone keeps to themselves and works independently, you may find that large amounts of information are locked away in the minds of individual employees - things that might have been useful to others aren't shared because there's no opportunity to collaborate.

How much easier would it be if someone could post: I'm working on X - does anyone have any experience with this?

It's also quite common to find that a small number of people dominate staff meetings. This is often because the rest of the team is too nervous to speak in a group. A social media network for your business will help. You can also use networks to quickly get a message to all your staff at once.

There are a lot of options to choose from but take the time to pick the right one for you. I'd recommend choosing one that offers an app for your smartphone or tablet. Set guidelines so staff know what you expect of them when using the network, and you'll be surprised at what a difference it could make.

Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.