Social Media Union Proof By UnionProof Share Tweet Share The modern workforce, especially millennials, values constant dialogue between employers and employees. This can take the form of feedback sessions, town halls and other settings. However, as an employer you also need to engage employees on social media. This digital town hall is where the most pressing conversations take place and can highlight issues such as union organizing that employees might not bring to their superiors directly. Understanding how to monitor social media for employee engagement is vital to this effort. Smart Companies Listen to Employee Input Companies must understand the needs and concerns of their workforce, particularly in a competitive job market. This can take place at the managerial level as well as in larger settings such as corporate town halls. However, many employee conversations have moved online to social media platforms. Some employees feel more comfortable discussing company issues online, which is why you need to be online as well. “Social listening” is a great way to gather employee input from online sources to best understand the state of employee morale and identify key areas of concern. A number of software platforms can aid in that effort. RELATED: The Social Side of Employee Communication There Are Numerous Social Listening Software Solutions One of the simplest options is to set up a series of Google Alerts for various phrases or keywords. While this is a less sophisticated approach, it can be launched in minutes and provides a good first line of defense. More sophisticated solutions include Sproutsocial and Hootsuite Insights, which allow you to filter results by social media platform, language used and other factors and to visualize that data. For companies willing to dedicate the workers and training, tools like Sysomos and Crimson Hexagon offer robust analytics and artificial intelligence-powered search functions. These last two tools require a steep learning curve but can be a real asset for small teams. Best Practices There are a number of best practices to consider when monitoring employee social media accounts. First, make sure your policies are understandable and consistent. If your employees cannot expect privacy while on social media, that fact needs to be clearly communicated. A clear, longstanding policy can be an effective defense in the event of a lawsuit. Second, it is important to take steps to protect your company’s confidential information and intellectual property. Company policies must explicitly forbid employees from disclosing proprietary information online. In addition, it is essential that your firm craft policies that clearly define who owns the rights to an employee’s social media account if that account is also used for business. For example, if the employee managing the company Twitter account leaves, you don’t want that employee to legally be able to continue using that account. RELATED: Engaging a Union Workforce Social Media Analytics Can Help Limit Vulnerability to Union Organizing When it comes to employee conversations on social media, there are three things to look for: topic, tone and frequency. Topics could include general concerns or issues, responses to recent company decisions or indications that employees are in contact with union organizers. The tone of employee communications is important for analysis. Does the language suggest the topics discussed are critically significant? Does that language include calls for specific actions, such as union card signing or organized labor action? It may be easier to determine such intent based on frequency if the rate of employee communications is rapidly accelerating. If the topic of employee communications is union organizing and the tone and frequency is worrying, you may be witnessing the beginning of a union mobilization effort. Companies need to engage employees on social media, and there is a wide variety of tools to do so. Proactive engagement and analysis are some of the best ways to really understand the state of employee morale. In addition, these tools can aid your firm in union avoidance and also help you spot particular areas of discontent that can later be used by unions.