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Social media: inside not out

Social media can be used to help mining organisations to connect with staff and build a community.

Social media: inside not out

In this digital era we have replaced phone calls and letters with text messages, status updates, comments and likes. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have changed the way we communicate and connect with our peers, and we use these platforms to convey life events, share interesting content and correspond with family and friends. This is happening all over the world, and it’s even being used to save lives.

For the generally conservative mining industry, the term ‘social media’ conjures images of online protests, complaints and reputation-destroying negativity for the entire world to see. Whilst the industry might not be ready to step into the public limelight, they can certainly harness the power it offers for a more private and internal use – to build a community amongst workers.

Mining organisations often have several mine sites located in remote areas all over the globe. Fly-in fly-out schedules result in employees spending periods of time away from their community. It’s well documented that without the social support from their family and friends, workers often experience feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Establishing a community amongst workers can help to break down the barriers of isolation by providing a space they can use to connect with other workers and share their experiences. Such a simple gesture can enhance morale and engagement, reduce staff turnover and provide an insight into the needs and desires of the workforce.

Use pictures to tell a story
Instagram, an image and video sharing platform, can be used to share visual content in real-time. Employees could share images such as oversized machinery, landmarks and remote wilderness to tell a story or share an experience. Employees can join the channel to comment and share the pictures, even contributing their own.

Create a space to use your voice
Forums are a great way to encourage a culture of innovation, and can be used to share experiences and knowledge or seek advice. A company blog could be used to keep staff updated on the latest and greatest organisational news and events.

Get your staff yammering about what they’re doing. Described as ‘Twitter for the enterprise’, Yammer can enhance internal communication, and offer a place for public recognition. If someone is doing a good job, let them (and everyone) know!

These are just a few of the dozens of social media channels on offer. There is something out there for everyone. Further, it’s hard to miss the business benefits. Social media offers organisations the chance to provide a workplace that provides staff with a voice – maybe one of your employees has an idea that could revolutionise the industry, and a sense of belonging. Of course, in the process you would become more appealing to the next generation of workers, who also happen to be the future of your company.

So, that leave one final question - what are you waiting for?

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