Employee morale is down. Hopefully not everywhere, but there are lots of studies and reports indicating that employees are decreasingly engaged in their workplaces. That's bad for all of us who want to feel good about our work environments. And it can detract from how we receive services and products from partner organizations and vendors.
Have you thought about mobile as an employee engagement tool? Does your company have an internal social platform? Video? Yes! Then, you are ahead of the game. Most companies are just starting to wake up to the powerful role that devices and social tools can play to build company culture, improve communications, strengthen workplace performance and more.
In this issue of Marketing Coach, we benefit from the expertise of the COMMSapp's Jeff Corbin, Executive Strategies' Patrick Durando and Kaltura's Aaron Wald.
Employee engagement is a serious issue in the workplace, particularly for those with dispersed workforces. It is challenging for an employee who works remotely from a laptop, tablet or smartphone 3,000 miles away to feel included in a company's culture.
According to the Gallup organization, 70 percent of American workers are disengaged. This lack of engagement costs employers between $450 billion and $550 billion annually. Engagement problems are often attributed to the way employers communicate with their staff, which is cause for a reevaluation of the strategies, tactics and channels used to connect with employees.
One engagement channel that has been overlooked until recently is the mobile device. Mobile has become the common communications bond connecting workers. IDC reports that from June 2011 to June 2012, smartphones used at work increased from 7 to 60 percent. Today, that number is even larger.
By using a native app on the mobile device, companies can streamline communications and push critical information to boost engagement and provide employees with access to company information simultaneously. Content can be pushed directly to employees instantaneously. Employees can view content immediately or download it to view offline at a later time.
To the extent that employee engagement is a problem facing corporate America, mobile provides a solution that internal communications professionals should consider in 2014 to stay better connected to their workforce.
Your Enterprise Social Network Needs Executive Participation
For years now I've talked about how senior management usage is the lifeblood of any enterprise social network (ESN). These internal social networks easily facilitate grassroots participation. Yet, while connecting employees is always good, the lack of clear business objectives and leadership participation will produce an underperforming network.
Four reasons you need to get senior management to use your social network:
Visibility While there is value in allowing employees to connect on non-business topics and water cooler camaraderie, on many collaboration sites the content with the highest business value can be found in private groups. If your executives are not active participants in groups like these, where colleagues are sharing content and expertise, then the only thing senior management will see in their activity stream will be the non-business content. You must get them engaged in the smaller and private business groups, or their perception of the site's overall value will be based primarily on non-business content.
Even minimal usage by a senior manager can give the network instant validation for employees that this is a bona fide business tool, and not a passing gimmick. Executive usage pulls others into the conversation; who doesn't want to be in the same room when the boss is talking?
Seeing senior managers sharing key business insights not only lets employees know this is safe place to share, but this activity is contagious and will spur other execs to engage too. We all
know executives are a competitive group who will look to emulate any advantage.
Nothing sets the tone that your site is genuine more than authentic contributions from business leaders. Have them avoid ghost written posts, or lengthy posts about the weather in their area. Many executives are passionate about topics that may not be directly related to their day-to-day role like sustainability, diversity or globalization. Get them talking about these topics (that are most appropriate) on your site, and who knows, they may actually like it!
Drive Value with Video
Video can be used to foster a "social business" within an organization. It can be integrated into your internet or other internal communications platform, or shared through corporate social media channels. For employees, video contributes to knowledge sharing, collaboration, internal communications, employee training and knowledge sharing, and is a great vehicle for executive announcements.
Here are some of the results that Kaltura's Aaron Wald advises we can cultivate by incorporating video into an internal communications strategy:
Prepare Your People
Simplify knowledge creation/transfer
Access to latest information on products, systems and processes
Cultivate workforce engagement and creativity
Rapid access to searchable knowledge
Improve collaboration for dispersed teams
Sense of corporate community
Maintain governance and security
Reduce ramp-up time for new employees
Improve individual productivity
Reduce training-related travel costs and time out-of-filed
Extend reach and reusability of produced content
Grow Your Business
Enable sales to share and critique customer presentations
Offer ability for internal experts to share details about products and markets
Share customer success stories
Encourage employees to share ideas to better align innovation with market demand
Offer an engaging approach for leaders to communicate and align goals
Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc.
ICCC helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through brand building, public relations and strategic communications.
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contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 212-399-0026 or visit www.ivycohen.com.
Special thanks to Jeff Corbin, founder of theCOMMSapp family of communications app
building solutions that includes theEMPLOYEEapp™, Patrick Durando, principal at
Enterprise Strategies where he consults Fortune 500 companies on internal social
business capability, usage and effectiveness, and Aaron Wald, Director of Customer
Success Enterprise at Kaltura, the world's first Open Source Online Video Platform.