Are your employees not engaging enough on your internal social media network? Do you hear leaders talk of why they don’t see a need to be on it? Be it a home grown system or an off-the-shelf solution it isn’t any more about ‘if you give them a platform, employees will show up’. Employees look for meaningful reasons to engage and unless you clearly communicate the ‘what’s in it for me’ your social media channel can get sidelined.
Here are 5 approaches to get your channel front and center of your employees’ work lives.
· Seek feedback and gather insights: Without knowing why and what prevents your employees from using the channel appropriately you may be unable to accurately pinpoint the hurdles. Apart from asking for direct feedback from employees you can review usage trends and attempt gathering insights from information that already exists. For example –
– What groups have employees formed?
– Which are the most active forums?
– Who the most active users?
– What kind of content is popular?
– How do employees find their information?
– How do they access the channel?
· Clarify your internal social media strategy: To begin, include your channel in the overall communication mix and strategy. Identity the strengths and weaknesses of the channel –
– Does it allow for integration with your employees’ work flow?
– Can you gather real-time analytics on usage?
– Is it available as an app for employees who are on the go?
– Will the channel be a forum to publish, listen and engage or any of these?
. Discuss the strategy with your leaders and seek support to make the channel relevant to all. Help leaders also understand the steps you have taken to mitigate risks from potential information leaks.
· Invest in educating leaders and employees: Unless the channel’s goals are communicated you will find employees using it for purposes that aren’t in the best interests of your organization. In one firm, with the launch of the social media channel employees began posting ‘selfies’ till the work stream got inundated with a lot of irrelevant visuals! It did however indicate that employees were keen to share personalized information which the organization acknowledged and tapped into. Often, employees and leaders aren’t even sure of all the features on the channel making it difficult for them to make the most of the resource. Most channels come with options to customize feeds, create work groups, collaborate and recognize each other. Highlight best practices that employees and leaders can benefit from.
· Involve employees and leaders as advocates: Employees want to work for a digitally enabled organization and there is no doubt of the value and impact it has on the organization’s performance. Help employees to bring their best selves to the channel by involving them early on campaigns and events that take place across your business. Create a community of champion users and take their views before adding new features or launching conversations on topics that matter most. The world is looking for every day heroes and undoubtedly having these champions steer the way your social network works will be relevant more than ever.
· Nudge employees along: Leaders who haven’t embraced or aren’t frequent users of social media can find it overwhelming to join platforms that expose them to many people at once. Have reverse mentoring sessions with your younger colleagues who can get leaders up to speed. Improve the value of the channel by integrating relevant pieces of every day work that your employees prefer. It isn’t only about the business stories that matter – employees are interested to know that their organization and leaders care for their well-being and lives beyond work. Draw from insights to nudge leaders and employees towards seeking ideas, wisdom and help from peers.
Your internal social media channel can help to maximize the power of your employees’ collective wisdom and expertise. Identifying what prevents employees from participating and putting employees at the heart of your effort can go a long way in boosting your network’s potential.