Learning and training continue to be hot button issues for field service organizations, which is why executives are turning to social media as a collaborative platform for techs and managers to share their knowledge. In an effort to share more expertise, 54 percent of manufacturers increased the availability of knowledge for techs in the past year, with social media being a main avenue for doing so, according to a recent Aberdeen report. Not convinced that social is the way to go? Collaborative learning is more effective at motivating people to work harder than individualistic learning, according to learning researchers Baiyun Chen and Thomas Bryer.

Whether Twitter, Facebook, webchat or blogging is the preferred channel, they all have the benefit of letting employees share their wealth of knowledge that they otherwise may not have shared through a centralized knowledge base. Aly Pinder, senior research analyst at Aberdeen Group, says, “Top performing firms ensure they equip field service with the tools and the authority to use social media channels to foster an environment of best practice sharing, in real-time.”

But merely telling techs to share their insights on the internal employee forum isn’t going to be successful on its own since social learning requires a company culture that supports it. “Social learning combines social media tools with a shift in the corporate culture, a shift that encourages ongoing knowledge transfer and connects people in ways that make learning a joy,” Marcia Conner, author of The New Social Learning, writes on Fast Company.

Once the C-suite has determined that the organization’s culture is ready for social learning, Pinder recommends these strategies to take full advantage of social media for spreading knowledge:

  1. Show the team the value of social media for work. Pinder says, “Often times, we just think of social media as a tool for our personal lives, but haven’t seen the value for business — beyond professional networking sites.”
  2. Create incentives for employees to get involved. “We are all creatures of habit, therefore creating incentives for this new channel of communication is integral to attaining higher levels of adoption while also ensuring that the interactions lead to improved efficiency of work.”
  3. Keep an eye on how social media is being used. “Social media monitoring technologies can help analyze both structured and unstructured content to find and prioritize responses to support the entire service team.”

Social learning via social media harnesses great potential for techs and managers to share their knowledge, whether it’s a customer service insight or a tip for using a piece of equipment, to make the field service organization as a whole more productive and efficient.

“It’s the technology of social learning, and social media in general, that allows us to regulate our attention to those areas where we can gain the highest return on investment, and put our best contributions out into the world,” Conner writes. “It’s the culture of social learning that helps identify how those contributions are important to us all.”