In part one of this article we explored the value of internal social media (ISM) and it’s impact on the workplace. Today we’ll look at how to make ISM easy to access and ideas for making ISM work for your business.
In 2016, research was undertaken by Mitre Corporation involving Bosch’s ISM platform, called Bosch Connect. Those employees who used the platform rated themselves higher than nonusers in four areas designed to ascertain competency, including entrepreneurial mind-set, leadership, communication, and readiness for change/adaptability. In addition, 79% of users believed their opinion mattered to the company, compared to just 67% of nonusers.
But it was not a perfect test case of ISM in action. Although 83% of the surveyed employees knew about Bosch Connect, 17% either did not know how to use it or had not heard about it.
Training users properly and tracking their usage are just two boxes that need to be ticked when deploying ISM. The other factor that’s often overlooked is where you put it.
If your company’s ISM is a stand-alone piece of technology that employees have no reason to visit until they are reminded of its existence, you can bet high that it won’t be engaged with.
But if all your business tech tools and software solutions, including your ISM, are accessed from a single place—a digital workplace—engagement will be vastly higher.
Also, content needs to be interesting and relevant to hold attention. Employee-generated content is going to be more engaged with than anything the management can post, while filtering options will keep it relevant.
Noninteractive communications fail to engage and, at worst, can make management seem unapproachable or downright boring. That’s no way to build trust or rapport.
Three Ways to Make ISM Work for Your Business
- Permission Channels
Not every discussion needs to be seen by every person in the company, and irrelevant content will turn users off. It is possible to set up different “rooms” based on your company’s organizational structure. This lets the right people see the right content. If every post is available to everyone, staff will quickly disengage.
This also means departments can have their own private social discussion threads accessed through their own landing pages. This content becomes searchable through the digital workplace.
- Create a Usage Policy
Simple rules, such as no sharing of client information or inappropriate images, are fully expected. And you can still encourage free speech, debate, and interesting conversation without tolerating arguments and unpleasantness.
If the role of monitoring the feed falls to HR, ensure there are simple and readily available guidelines and that everyone has read them before he or she can take part in discussions. A short “must watch” video tutorial is a great way to relay the most important guidelines.
Admins should make their presence felt. If discussions become too long, admins may step in and suggest a conversation be “continued offline,” disabling further comments.
- Accessible and Rewarding
ISM doesn’t have to just be a way to cascade information from the top to the bottom. It can be an invaluable tool to improve collaboration and communication and give staff a stronger voice in the company.
Highlight individual acts that deserve praise, and open channels between departments that usually do not interact. If your feed interests employees and is used regularly as a platform to highlight achievements, they are less likely to use it as a place for negativity.
If staff feel involved and engaged, they will create their own content and can show off the culture that the company has worked hard to create. From staff nights out to training days, it can stir up conversation and be more than just a communications platform.
Nigel Davies is the Founder and CEO of digital workplace Claromentis.