Posts Tagged ‘internal communications’

Social Media @Work

May 7, 2010

This blog was inspired by a recent post by James Bennett on The Melcrum Blog found here.

The future of internal communications is social media. Facebook and  Twitter at work? But won’t employees become distracted and caught in a web of gossip and Farmville? The answer my archaic friend, is that they already are poking and re-tweeting at work, so why not make it part of work?

Employees are using Facebook to stay in the loop at work, and even to do work. So if they are already there, then why not move internal communications to them, instead of making them move to you? Ford, Levi’s, Coke, and Mac, among others, are scrapping their corporate websites and driving traffic to their Facebook pages. See related blog.  Why not do the same with internal communications?

Let’s think this through logically. Say your company has 30,000 employees, your intranet site is not getting the traffic you would like, and emails seem to just further overload your employees’ already brimming inbox. On top of all of this, employees are not reading key messages. Is this not the point of it all: to communicate with employees? Why should it matter if they receive and engage in a dialogue with executive and each other via  http://www.facebook.com/ford instead of the Ford intranet?

These are the benefits of standing on the shoulders of giants.

1. Transparency: everyone can read and take part in your company’s internal dialogue (if privacy is an issue, which really isn’t in most cases, than adjust your user settings).

2. Everyone is already using Facebook: there is no training, promoting, nagging etc. just tell your employees the page address.

3. Employee morale becomes tangible: management can see, measure, and respond to issues brought up by employees.

4. Intranets are boring: this is not always the case, but sadly, it often is.

5. Employees have a voice and build a network together: trust me, the public values what regular employees have to say more than the brass.

6. Facebook is free: Intranets are not.

These are just some benefits of using popular social networking sites for internal communications. There are many, many more.

Transparency Plus Concrete Equals Employee Enagagement

April 19, 2010

I was re-reading an old blog by Chuck Gose called Digital Signage see here.

The blog poses the question: Would you read your own internal communications? This made me think about thousands of pages of copy that have fallen by the wayside due to fluffy, abstract, cheerleader-like messaging. I could almost close my eyes and see a communications exec with a black suit and pom-poms jumping up and down rhyming in generalities about how important our organization is.

I stopped to think a little about what people actually want to read. Do people read magazine articles about how good the magazine is? Do people want to read about how much success their peer is having? Answer: a lot more than you. Do people want to read about what specifically was discussed by the executive committee regarding the details of implementing a flexible work options program? Yes. Or even better, do people want to read about what was actually discussed  during that portion of the meeting: “Would working from home for one day a week where possible allow employees a chance to reduce stress, stay connected with family, and reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent a year?”

That kind of internal communication will above all, be read.

However, it doesn’t end there. Internal communications is an ongoing conversation. What it is not is on-way. What we (corporate communicators) should never ask, as we sit down around the dark oak boardroom table on our black leather chairs that lean back just a little too much to give you the feeling that you are about to fall backwards and spill your hot English breakfast tea all over your Monday slacks when you sit down, is what is it that they want from us? It should never be us versus them as it so often is. Are we not also employees? Would it not benefit us most to take the standpoint of an employee? Because the entire job is finding the target audience and developing messages that will engage them.

So, being employees ourselves, I often ask the question, why do we write copy that we wouldn’t want to read?