“It might be a distraction.” “It is more of a social tool than something that will benefit the company.” Enough! The arguments against employee social networks are as out-of-date as Myspace. If you have not taken the plunge, here are four more reasons you should consider creating an employee social network:

Listen to Disney – Make it a Small World. Are team members spread across the country or the world? Employees can talk to colleagues in real-time and access information at lightning speed via a social network. Social networks help participants get the answers they need when they need them and create relationships that shatter silos.

If your friends all jump off a bridge…Why peer pressure is good. There would not be 800 million Facebook users if people did not want social networks. For most of your employees, social media and networking is already familiar. Getting them to participate will require minimal training or support.

That’s a great idea, but…In social networks, people disagree. But in the workplace, many people are not comfortable questioning ideas. Social networks increase comfort with providing honest feedback and communicating ideas. This results in greater collaboration and more input.

When are they doing an episode of that show Hoarders focused on knowledge? In a culture where information is not shared, employees have a harder time doing their job, and organizations cannot optimize knowledge. Social networking provides a platform for sharing knowledge, broader thinking and shared decision making.

And, if that is not enough, consider this: It can also make employees feel better about the company. James Hayton published research earlier in the year that showed when employees have bigger, richer networks of connections with coworkers—where they help each other with work as well as having friendships—they feel more positively about the organization.

With so many benefits, now might be the perfect time to develop your 2012 employee social network plan!

Colleen Nolan

Colleen Nolan

Colleen is an advocate at heart who believes that with the right message and motivation anything is possible. A strategic campaign designer and communicator, she is skilled at defining and analyzing a desired result, and then developing the marketing and communications pathway to achieve success. Colleen quickly makes an intellectual and emotional connection with key audiences and uses these skills to craft communications programs that have strong resonance and dramatic impact.

Colleen has 20+ years experience in engagement, issue management, community building and mobilization.