While the rise of social media hasn’t been embraced by all employers, especially when it comes to internal communications, it could be on the rise and provide a competitive edge. A new survey by consulting firm Towers Watson shows that 56% of responding employers use social media tools as part of their internal communications strategy and one expert says that will increase soon.

“Social media is a great way to create that sense of community and so we see that as employers use higher levels of social media they feel they’re a lot more effective when trying to build communities,” says Kathryn Yates, global practice leader for communication and change management at Towers Watson.

And Yates says that community feeling within an organization is an advantage. “When a company is scoring high in building community, they’re actually outperforming 2.5 times those competitors in similar fields,” she continues. “These are indicators that social media is worth figuring out.”

Yates cautions that the Towers Watson data shows that companies who begin social media see a slight dip in engagement from employees at the beginning as “they’re figuring it out.” But once companies get their social media stride, the data shows that it works.

“I think [social media for internal communications] will expand rapidly and I think when we do this study again it will be higher,” Yates says.

The Towers Watson poll was conducted in April and surveyed 290 employers worldwide.

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