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Getting Social on Internal Communications Channels 

Gallagher recently published its State of the Sector 2021 report highlighting trends and transformation in Employee Experience. If you found the time to take a look at the report, you may have found the following paradox interesting: Even though, the report shows an increase in the use of Internal Communications channel usage, it is unclear whether these channels succeed at achieving their purpose of connecting employees. In a remote-working workforce what can be done to improve employee experience and ultimately better support employees?

Nicholas Wardle, co-founder of the Employee Experience Opportunity and EFS TAG SG member provides the following insight.

From the report, it’s interesting that there was a surge in channel usage, yet some concern about how successful the channels were in achieving their purpose. It appears that respondents felt digital channels were by-and-large helping to deliver the strategic narrative. This is unsurprising, as content posted on internal social media sites often mirror what was traditionally emailed – CEO announcements, programme launches etc.

So it appears that comms is being delivered, but, from other results, the engagement part of the digital channels still needs lots of work. Just over 60% feel that their digital channels are helping them to connect with colleagues on a human level. Yet, only around 30% feel positive about being able to share their opinions and content with the organisation and only around 50% feel it supports collaboration. Like the external-facing Facebook, platforms like Yammer and Workplace are supposed to be ‘social’ so it’s a concern that people feel shy about getting involved and that they’re not connecting people.

Here are some fundamental ideas to encourage employees to get social on your internal digital channels:

Get your senior leaders on-board: Support them to post videos or messages with regularity – and not just about serious corporate issues. Have them share content of them in the kitchen making Easter Rock Cakes! Importantly, encourage them to get involved in the conversation. The beauty of these channels is that anyone can have a dialogue with anyone.

Ensure new starters are aware of your platforms: Ensure they get mentioned during their induction and have digital information packs sent to new starters as standard, to encourage them to jump on in early.

Encourage project groups to have their own page: Intra-project comms are vital, so build momentum with the group by having their own page where information can be stored and conversations can happen.

Use them to build a recognition culture: Have a ‘shout outs’ page, where employees can thank colleagues for a job well done. Positivity breeds positivity.

Get social! Don’t shy away from non-work-related threads, which tie into world events, such as Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day and Easter. These threads encourage a sense of belonging. Be mindful of channel management, though, and perhaps limit who can post on important channels such as Announcements. Additionally, set up special interest groups too, so people can discuss things that they’re passionate about.

Ask for feedback. Run opinion polls or pose questions to employees. After all, their opinions are the best evidence base you can have to move forward, as they understand the organisation and the work better than anybody.

Don’t filter. There’s no point having these platforms if you’re going to ‘play God’ over what is and isn’t posted. Treat your employees like adults and trust them to post appropriate content.

Remember, effective internal communication is an essential step to creating a positive Employee Experience. By encouraging more human and “social” communication on your Internal Communication channels, you are ultimately investing in a happier and more engaged workforce. If people are at the heart of any organisation, then effective internal communication is a worthwhile cause.

Author bio: Nicholas is an award-winning employee experience practitioner with over 15 years’ experience in the employee experience/comms/engagement space, both in the UK and in the Middle East. Nicholas is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC), and a committee member of both Engage for Success, and IoIC London.

His mantra is to ‘keep the complex, simple’ and he believes that the employee experience should have parity with the customer experience. His is the co-author of the forthcoming book: Monetising the Employee Experience.

Photo Credits: iStock on Pixabay


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