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A recent study conducted by Baylor University found that developing an internal social networking site could help a company acclimate its new hires into the corporate culture, improve employees' morale and reduce turnover rates. While some companies search for ways to limit employees' access to social media, a recent study by Baylor University suggests businesses may want to embrace the relatively new cultural phenomenon as a way to improve employee morale and reduce turnover. The study followed efforts by United States Automobile Association, a San Antonio-based insurance provider with nearly 22,000 employees, to acclimate new hires into their organization through participation in an internal social networking site, according to a statement from the Waco, Texas, university.
Hope Koch, associate professor of information systems at Baylor and co-author of the study, said the social networking site developed by the auto association was modeled on Facebook.
Employees were encouraged to use the company site just as they would the popular social networking site as a way to "facilitate a network of acquaintances and help build emotionally close friendships," according to the statement.

These emotions led to more social networking and ultimately helped the employees build personal resources like social capital and organizational learning," Koch said in the statement. The study found such sites can be particularly beneficial to a company hoping to reduce its information technology employee turnover rate, which is typically higher than most other turnover rates, Koch says.
The effectiveness of the auto association's internal social networking site came from its gradual evolution to both a place of social interaction and use as a mentoring tool, Koch says. Despite the association's success with developing an internal social networking site, Koch does not believe it would benefit all companies. Companies should consider how willing it is to integrate its employees' professional and private lives before implementing its own social media site.

Koch added an organization that "doesn't stigmatize social media as a waste of time" and has a young workforce would benefit most from developing a site.

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