Social media use increases work engagement
In addition to formal work communication, the study looked at informal communication with colleagues that also concerns issues that are unrelated to work. According to the research results, informal communication plays a significant role and is related to work engagement.
The results are based on a study led by Atte Oksanen, professor of social psychology at Tampere University, which was published in New Media & Society.
The study was based on two sets of survey data comprising 2,380 respondents. One of the data consisted of 563 employees from five companies in the fields of finance, personnel services, publishing, retail and telecommunications. The other data included the responses of 1,817 employed Finns.
Social media is important during the Covid-19 epidemic
In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of social media for work purposes is essential among knowledge workers. Feeling an emotional connection to the work community and knowing that help is available are in a central role when social distancing is required. According to researcher Reetta Oksa, supporting social media communication plays a very crucial role in fostering work engagement.
Informal communication between employees is important as it can strengthen connections with colleagues and promote cohesion and identification with the organisation. In addition, informal communication is linked to employees’ experience of the social support they receive.
Identification with the organisation and social support can serve as resources for employees and create a stronger work engagement, which is especially emphasised during the Covid-19 epidemic. Informal social media communication is central to these resources.
Two-way communication is useful
According to the study, social media should not just be a channel for sharing documents or a one-way source of information. Instead, it should be a two-way communication channel that allows employees to connect emotionally with co-workers and the work community, share their expertise, and help each other. This two-way communication applies to both work-related and non-work-related communication.
The researchers recommend that more informal discussions should be allowed and encouraged alongside work discussions. This would also promote higher work engagement.
According to the researchers, organisations should pay more attention to social media communication practices and provide opportunities for organisational identification and social support on social media.
The article is part of a larger research project focusing on social media and new ways of interacting.
Enquiries: Researcher Reetta Oksa, tel. +358 50 437 7619, reetta.oksa [at] tuni.fi
Oksa, R., Savela, N., Kaakinen, M., Ellonen, N., & Oksanen, A. (2020). Professional social media usage: Work engagement perspective. New Media & Society. New Media & Society, DOI: 10.1177/1461444820921938.