The word “sentiment” is an important one in technology. Sentiment can be used to describe feelings or attitudes towards a situation. Sentiment can be used to communicate future plans and intentions for those who use social media.
One example of many is the social media sentiment you might see about a politician, celebrity, product, service or candidate. The spotlight is currently on Elon Musk. There appears to have been a shift in opinion towards Musk’s ability to run a business.
Tone is everything in the art of sentiment. Tone is everything. It’s all about the words that people use to express themselves, no matter how critical or optimistic. Even if someone posts only a few comments, it can still reveal much. While artificial intelligence can analyze sentiments fairly well, there is still much work to be done.
This topic is a problem for many leaders. This is because it’s difficult to define and quantify sentiment, making it hard to create a spreadsheet. Managers are more comfortable with hard data and facts than they are with emotional or superficial information.
And yet, there’s a lot to learn about employees who post on social media and what they are saying in public spaces like Twitter where it’s easy to follow their posts.
Recently, the concept of “quiet quitting” came into the spotlight, likely because of the pandemic and other factors like the recent economic downturn and inflation.
It’s possible that your employees are having trouble. They might want to move on and find better pastures. People are struggling out there, and when they start thinking about moving on to another role, it’s often hard to predict what they will do.
On social media, it’s perhaps a little easier.
A negative tone in a post is one of the first signs an employee may be unhappy. When an employee suddenly switches from positive messages about the office or their work to a different tone that’s more pessimistic, it might indicate job dissatisfaction.
Here’s one example. Let’s say you normally see posts from an employee about sports or television shows. Maybe you’re used to seeing positive posts about business trends. When you see posts that are negative about inflation or the price of goods and/or services, it might be because salaries aren’t up to the mark. It is possible to find out how employees are doing.
Social media allows employees to express their feelings and find some companionship. They might not realize you are following their posts. This is why some employees might share negative feelings about their jobs, the workplace, and their coworkers.
It could be that the employee is trying in subtle ways to draw your attention. Usually, it’s the switch in tone and sentiment that’s the dead giveaway.
“Went to the office today and was really bored” might be a post that is meant to air some deeper feelings about the work the employee is doing. You might find more posts that are direct about office politics and management. These could indicate an employee is considering quitting or may be on the job hunt.
Did you notice a change in sentiment for someone at work? Perhaps it is time to get down to business and ask honest questions.