Social networks don't negate need for clear corporate culture

Is your company allowing social networking to supersede workplace communications? You might want to rethink that.

Social networks and social business networks are changing the way companies interact and collaborate -- both internally and externally. But a new Harris Interactive study commissioned by Deloitte cautions managers from viewing social networks as a substitute for creating strong corporate culture.

Approximately 41 percent of the executives responding to the survey viewed social networking as a way of creating workplace culture, while 21 percent of the employees expressed the same view.

In addition, while 45 percent of the executives indicated that they believed social media has a positive impact on workplace culture, only 27 percent of the employees felt the same. The respondents also held different views on whether social networking helped improve management transparency: 38 percent of the executives felt that it did, compared with 17 percent of the employees.

The data covers the responses of 303 corporate executives compared with the responses of about 1,000 employees who work for companies with 100 employees or more.

Deloitte Chairman Punjit Renjen commented on the research:

"Our research suggests executives are possibly using social media as a crutch in building workplace culture and appearing accessible to employees. While business leaders should recognize how people communicate today, particularly Millennials, they must keep in mind the limits of these technologies. The norms for cultivating culture have not changed, and require managers to build trust through face-to-face meetings, live phone calls and personal messages."

If anything, the familiarity with which people can communicate using social networks probably means that companies should spend even more time ensuring that workplace and corporate culture is clear. That way, employees will have no question about what they should do and how they should represent their employer in social settings.

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