We’re all guilty of falling prey to the lure of social media and losing hours to it. But there’s little doubt that social networking also encourages collaboration, creativity, and productivity – especially if it’s used for work. When Microsoft made history this week by announcing its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner argued that such a move will allow both companies to realize their “common mission to empower people and organizations.” And empowerment in the workplace is deeply attractive, particularly for the rising generation of employees: Millennials.

Forrester’s Business Technographics® survey data shows that younger employees leverage social networks at least daily because they believe this enhances productivity. At work, employees tune into social networks across devices, but most do so on tablets:


Social engagement at work that enables employees to connect and collaborate can be a powerful force that elevates the wider organization. But even more than providing an opportunity for engagement, social networking at work allows employers to get smarter about their employees. In their quick take report, my colleagues Mary Shea, Steven Casey, Frank Gillett, and Fatemeh Khatibloo state that Microsoft’s acquisition sets the stage for an entirely new kind of employee experience: one that is consistent, personalized, and increasingly similar to a B2C customer experience. They note: “As more millennials, who are not as loyal to their employers as previous generations, join the workforce, employee retention will be key. Visibility into various signals such as an uptick in connections to a competitor could let a firm proactively manage unwanted churn.”

Implications of social networking at work set the stage for a smarter and more personalized workplace — and workforce.