Creating a Global Community:
Social Media at Work
Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. Most of us have accounts there. Do employers approve of using these at work? Credit Suisse actually offers its own social platform where employees can exchange ideas, form communities, and manage initiatives.
The Underlying Idea
With ongoing digitalization, many aspects of our lives, including socializing, have moved to the internet. Credit Suisse follows the trend and offers its employees Social MyPage (SMP), an internal social platform, which allows them to exchange ideas, engage in projects, or participate in events. Thousands of Credit Suisse employees can unite and create communities to make a change. And they really do.
How It Works
Each employee is given an SMP profile and they can use it from day one. They can complete their personal details, follow their colleagues, and become members of communities that represent their interests.
There are plenty of communities to choose from. Depending on whether sports, charity, culture, discounts, or family are your topics of interest you can subscribe to as many as you like. You name it, we've got it. Or we may have it as anybody can start their own community. There are over 600 public communities and almost 1200 private ones.
Wellness and Accessibility Network (WAN) is of the biggest ones in Poland gathering over 200 people. "The average age of a CS employee in Poland is 30 so wellness, diet and fitness are important topics to many of them," says Karolina, who manages the community. But there are also small private communities and working groups that unite people. If you want to pass, let's say, a language exam you can set up a group that meets regularly to practice for it. "What you need to create a community is a group of people with the same goal," says Agnieszka, another coordinator of WAN. You can count on the support of the management and experienced colleagues, who will help to research the needs of local employees and set up a working group. "Any community which promotes work-life balance or personal development gets a lot of support from the company", Agnieszka adds.
The Hidden Business Reasons
Why would a company encourage its employees to use social media in the office? At Credit Suisse, we believe that a job cannot be limited to your everyday business tasks. We need some time to catch our breath each day as well. "The online communities make our daily routine more diverse and teach us to network", Agnieszka points out.
Connecting people and ideas is a part of the CS culture, so the company supports spending a bit of working time on internal social media in order to facilitate this core value. It turns out that the communities don't just support internal networking. Employees can also leverage their connections outside the company. "Many companies and organizations come to us with very interesting offers. They organize events like free yoga classes or diet workshops and in exchange they get promoted among our employees," Agnieszka says.
Shaping the Workplace
Being part of a community gives you a feeling of belonging and makes you stronger. Networks help when a single person's idea needs support. If you have a good idea as well as a supporting community you really can change anything. Thanks to the communities, we have fresh fruit in the office all year round, big open-air family picnics, discounts in restaurants and theaters, ski trips, charity runs, and much more. "We organize events promoting a healthy lifestyle: workshops with nutritionists, doctors and sports coaches, so that our employees can learn about staying in shape. We also manage initiatives like healthy cooking classes or delivering fresh fruit to the office twice a week," Karolina specifies.
There are many other interesting ideas promoted by various communities. One of them is volunteering: Any Credit Suisse employee can dedicate up to four fully paid days per year to volunteering activities. This means four times a year instead of coming to the office you can work for charity organizations. "People are willing to engage physically: they plant trees, collect trash, renovate animal shelters, but also offer their skills and abilities to, for example, help kids with their homework or run project management workshops," says Hanna of Corporate Citizenship Credit Suisse Poland whose job is managing a Corporate Citizenship Community. "People want to drive initiatives, they often share their own ideas to be developed", she adds. This is where communities step in.
"Changing the working environment and the world around us with the help of a community brings enormous satisfaction and encourages further activities," Karolina points out. And a happy employee is a good employee.