I’ve worked in internal/employee communications for some time and the one thing that has always been a challenge is finding the right tools to reach employees. More specifically, finding tools that they would actually want to use and pay attention to – it’s been an ongoing challenge to say the least.
I’ve seen (and worked on) employee newsletters, e-mail blasts, intranet sites, bulletin board postings, events, meetings, speaking notes for managers, blah, blah, blah. Sure, some employees like and appreciate the information being provided to them… for the most part, they genuinely want to know what’s going on with their organization. But I’ve also asked many employees to give me their candid feedback on many of these tools – and for the vast majority of the employees I’ve asked, these tools simply don’t work. Basically, I’ve heard everything from “I don’t read any of that stuff,” to “we have an Intranet site?”
The common objection seems to be that with many of these traditional tools, employees really don’t have a mechanism that allows for actual dialogue with the company. And that’s were social networks come in. Chances are that some people you work with (in many cases, most people you work with) are on either Facebook, MySpace or Linkedin – if not all three. And that’s just the mainstream popular sites. Just think about the opportunities that exist on these social networks to gain valuable feedback and communicate with your employees.
For instance, if you’re like me (and I’m sure many of you are), you frequent these sites and look for groups, pages or comments that mention your organization. Social networks provide a great tool to find out what your employees, customers or other stakeholders are actually saying about your organization. You can also form a group page where you can provide key information on events, news and other information about your organization. More importantly, these communities allow you to have candid conversations with your employees and gain valuable insight into what they want to know, as well as how they feel the organization can improve. Be prepared to hear some things that you may not want to hear, but if your goal is to create dialogue with your employees, why not give it a shot? Just remember that corporate speak is not welcome in this realm, so the best approach is to have conversations. Also, make sure that you are doing as much listening as you are talking – an active community is a fertile ground for feedback.
It can be as simple as setting up a Facebook group and letting employees know how they can join this group. Chances are your employees are already talking about your organization – might as well join the conversation.