Talking point: Embracing the digital challenge

Talking point: Embracing the digital challenge

August 12, 2014

Whether it’s liking a friend’s photo, retweeting breaking news or congratulating a former colleague on a promotion, communicating online has become second nature to us all.

But how can organisations best embrace digital in their internal communications?

The way we read news, share information and socialise online has changed dramatically. But companies may have resisted the digital revolution, unsure how best to use the new channels to engage employees.

Increasingly though, the likes of Yammer, Jive and Socialcast have become recognised enterprise collaboration tools used by large organisations across the globe and are no longer seen as fads.

Martin Smith, head of editorial and digital at Headlines – the Internal Communications Agency, has witnessed the shift in the way businesses converse with its employees.

He said: “If you go into a staff canteen now there are fewer newspapers littered across the tables. Instead most people are looking at their smartphone and checking social media.

“People understand and absorb content from multiple channels and want it reflected in their work lives too, which has led to a shift in the way people expect their news and information to be delivered.”

So how can social media tools, e-newsletters and apps be used to best effect in the workplace?

It’s not as simple as identifying the popular devices and implementing them.

In fact, companies willing to spread themselves too thin to make sure they have a finger in each pie are more likely to get burnt.

There’s nothing worse than communicating badly on too many channels. But how do you identify what suits your employees?

“Ask the audience,” says Martin. “If you don’t know what your audience wants then how are you in a position to deliver it?

“We see people all the time who’ve set something up but no one is using it. It’s because employees haven’t been asked what they want from the outset.

“If you’re starting out, plan ahead and have a strategy – it’s really simple but it’s absolutely vital. And keep renewing that strategy, keep renewing those questions.

“It’s so easy to do research through analytics. They’re gold dust because they guide you to what people want.

“To create and maintain a good, successful digital platform you have to renew content and change the look – BBC Sport, for example, has been renewed and had so many facelifts. It works.”

Top tips

* Know your audience – ask them what they’d like.
* Plan ahead – get a strategy in place with clear timelines and action points.
* Keep it fresh – review and update your content and strategy regularly.
* Let content grow organically – don’t force it.

Creating engaged workforces
Social media and digital tools are providing an opportunity for development in engagement within organisations, according to the Digital Engagement/Social Media subgroup.

The group from Engage for Success comprises of professionals from a range of backgrounds including the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, corporate and independent. It aims to become the ‘go-to’ resource and network for thought leadership, knowledge, experience and insight about engaging employees by becoming a socially-engaged organisation.

Digital lead for Engage for Success, Jo Dodds said: “The group will be collating and sign-positing the wealth of existing resources in this space, making them readily accessible and relevant for the audience, as well as providing practical advice.”

To join the social enterprise network visit www.engageforsucces.org/sen or email Jo at socialmedia@engageforsuccess.org