PSF with Comms2Point0 had pulled together some of the brightest minds in the public sector to debate the challenges and opportunities of social media use. The thing that stuck out most for me is that it all comes down to is trust. And trust is an employee engagement issue.
It's relatively easy to learn to 'do social media'. You follow some other organisations who do it well, you read a lot about it and then you give it a bash, refining your approach as you learn what works. The difficult bit is persuading people to trust staff enough to give it a go.
To be able to make a real difference with social media, to be able to use it to change people's lives, at some point someone is going to have to take a risk and say 'I trust you: give it your best shot'.
I kept hearing yesterday 'if employers don't trust their staff, they should sack them'. I think the reverse is also true: 'if you don't trust your employer, why would you want to work for them?'.
Trust is at the core of all employee engagement: whether staff believe what their leaders are telling them and whether staff are empowered to get on with their jobs. As engagement practitioners we can help build that trust between employers and staff, little by little. It can take time, but with heavy use of examples where strong trust has been evident, repetition of key messages and continued openess and honesty, you can get there.
Trust doesn't mean being wildly reckless with your organisation's reputation or having a complete social media free-for-all, but where there are interested people, who've used it in their personal lives, who have been trained and supported and given some common sense guidelines, why not trust them?
The worst that can happen is they do something daft and everyone, including them, learns something.
When it comes to trust, someone is going to have to blink first, so who's it going to be?