PERSON

Social media - dangerous enemy or opportunity for internal comms?

2018. február 27. - PersonComm

Internal communications have undoubtedly gone through a significant change in the past years. Parallel with technological development, new features of workplace culture have also emerged. Decentralized models of working and virtual teams clearly demand strong online communications internally as well as support for collaboration.

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To keep up with this change, from uncoordinated all-employee mails and daily newsletters, this field has become an important strategic function within most companies.

At most places internal and external communication walk hand in hand, and it is getting quite clear that besides content, tools and tactics should also be harmonized and tailor-made for business.

One of the communication tools worth turning inwards is definitely social media. Not only because it seems a good idea to offer an internal communication channel to employees that is similar to the ones they privately use, but also because it can provide several advantages for the company:

Change in leadership communication

Nearly ninety percent of internal communications received by employees are neither delivered by the internal communication area nor circulated through internal communication media; they are produced by leaders, employees.

Maybe that’s why - based on the research of Harvard Business Review - 91% of employees say communication issues can drag executives down. Their most frequent complaints include leaders not providing feedback on their performance, not having time to talk to them directly and not giving clear directions. These issues seem basic, however they can cause serious problems in the culture of an organisation.

Social media can be a tool in the hands of leaders to answer this challenges and catalyse dialogue with their subordinates. SM functions provide the opportunity of quick, real-time communication and ease the flow of information.

Content co-creation and the change in the role of Internal Comms

Thanks to social media we are going towards a significant change: the redistribution of internal communication power. By now it is not the privilege of the communications department to raise an issue, set an agenda or send and circulate messages. It requires a new perspective and way of thinking from the comms professionals: they need to shift from execution to strategic coordination. They need to find and collaborate with leaders, internal influencers (yes, they exist, and yes this is once again a practice that can be used internally!) as well as learn how to take advantage of the conversations that circulate outside the formal network.

Knowledge transfer

Have you ever found a good mechanic, a reliable cleaning lady or a well-qualified language teacher through Facebook? Guess, most of us have.

Wouldn’t it be great if you found the expert who can help you in your project or answer your professional questions just like that?

Internal social media features will allow you to do so, and will ease the flow of information within the company’s different departments contributing to the increase of work efficiency and the decrease of silo mentality.

When will it work?

Let’s not be naive. The whole thing would be way too easy If implementing social media internally would be simple. There are several challenges we need to face if we decide to start the conscious use of this tool. Besides the basic issues like IT Security and the digital education of employees, we still have the eternal question of all internal comms managers: How can I make my super busy colleagues use the new platform?

We believe that the key is to provide a social media surface, that is not only a community design, but also a collaboration tool. If you can provide a site that can replace internal mails and becomes the main work and communication platform for employees, they will spend time on the surface and if they are already there, they will most probably read what you want them to read.

How does it work at Person?

At Person, we use a system called Podio: an internal communication and project management surface with social media features. The site is suitable for the complete replacement of e-mails, coordinating projects with the participation of various teams and overseeing financials. Podio also includes a chat function and sends push notifications to our phones so that we can remain up to date all the time and can easily react whenever something urgent happens.

The site is also suitable for communicating with our clients: we can provide them access to the system and create a separate workplace to ease the collaboration.

Ágnes Sziget

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