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http://www.instituteforpr.

org/engaging-employees-effectiveness-traditional-vs-new-
media-channels/

The Web 2.0 era has changed the basic landscape of communication, including that of
the internal communication of companies. Organizations today can access various
communication tools for reaching and engaging employees, ranging from traditional
print publications (such as newsletters, magazines, and posters) to phone calls,
intranets, face-to-face communication, and emails to Web 2.0 tools (such as blogs,
instant messengers, and social networking sites). Although some companies now use
social media for internal communication, many others don’t or do not recognize the
benefits of using such tools. The Towers Watson’s 2013 Change and Communication
ROI Survey found that only 56% of organizations use social media as a part of
their internal communication initiatives to build community. Only more than a third of
these organizations rated social media as highly effective.

“The medium is the message.” With its two-way, interactive or dialogical, communal,
and relational features (such as webcams, embedded audio or video, commenting and
sharing, and online chat functions), social media can help personify the organization,
blur internal communication hierarchies, facilitate employee conversation with
management, and most importantly, build communities. However, do social media
alone engage employees? If so, how effective are social media compared with traditional
communication channels? What should companies do to truly embrace new technology
and capitalize on its advantages?

To answer these questions, I surveyed 400 employees from different medium-sized and
large corporations across more than 20 industries in the US. The results show that
although social media are still the least commonly used channels for employee
communication in the workplace, they effectively engage employees. The organization’s

Additionally. organizations should strategically optimize their platforms for internal communication to engage digital-savvy employees. newsletters. engagement in social media within the company is not really about the software or the crowd. positively impacts employee engagement. Without doubt. involved. It’s more about people who instill vigor. internal social networking sites.. Of course. and posters showed negligible effect on employee engagement. These two-way forms of communication facilitate the exchange of information. social media are essential elements of employee engagement that increases productivity and are the driving forces of community building within the company. and conversation. policy manuals. Therefore. and the overall cost-effectiveness of social media remains inconclusive. However. In other words. wiki sites. Likewise. embracing new technology to engage employees does not necessarily mean abandoning traditional forms of communication. There might not be a one-size-fits-all . companies that aim for employee engagement cannot simply ignore these thriving digital platforms.e. such as memos. blogs. one that is effective for a company may not be effective for another).use of social media (i. the more engaged employees feel. listening. and excited and proud about being a part of it. instant messengers. they feel empowered.e. As my research shows. emotionally attached and dedicated to the organization.. reports. the results show that traditional channels of face-to-face interactions (such as employee meetings and communication with direct managers) and emails strongly influence employee engagement. the more often companies use social media to connect with employees. the most personalized and richest channel—face-to-face interactions—and an indispensable part of the daily routine of employees—email communications—remain effective in building dialogues and engaging employees. Although there is no clear consensus regarding the most effective social medium (i. and emotions into the cold community. the widely used traditional print media. brochures. spirit. When employees are engaged. employee or leader journals. and audio or video streaming) including the leader’s.

Align multiple media solutions to business and communication goals. Develop measures and metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of communication and engagement through different media. Vanessa October 30. but the following tips based on research may help start such efforts. Be open-minded. 1. 2013 at 5:31 pm Reply Good overview of the Study. community. 4. and develop a roadmap to sequentially use social media tools. and charismatic and help them develop communication and social media skills. I totally agree with you that there is a tipping point at which organizations start to use interactive channels. Rita Men October 30. transformational. 7. Identify internal thought leaders (including executives and supervisors) who are authentic. Understand the advantages of each medium and know which works for what. 2. a great case on how modern organizations should utilize these digital tools. embrace up-to-date technology. 1. and learning. Jeffrey! What your company have been doing is exactly interactive and engaging. 3. Encourage the participation of employees by rewarding “social” employees and fostering a culture of collaboration. approach to such strategic development. Enforce a solid social media policy that clarifies what is and is not acceptable. 6. 2013 at 1:34 pm Reply Thank you very much for sharing your experience and insights. Rita! 2. increasing their on- . 5. sharing. A lot of companies today first use social media for engaging consumers.

*We also stood up an employee-facing blog and put all 40 managers in the “guest blogger” rotation — which has helped us sustain regular posts and the blog itself. and moving out in measured steps. Thank you so much again for sharing a best-practice case of the organization’s internal use of interactive channels! 3. and the ability to record sessions for asynchronous viewing. APR October 30. webcam and video streaming. That said. which are the ones that best fit your organization? I like your suggestion that “making informed decisions based on real data specific to your organization. when the right technology was sufficiently available. That might be a critical factor that differente you from many. when staff had sufficient “social media literacy” — something we assessed along with other employee communication program results — we made the transition. and then realize their employees are digital-savvy as well! But the problems. when we had the skills and resources to build and facilitate it. not every company makes the best of these tools. and moving out in measured steps. Bishop. Jeffrey M. * We integrated interactive webinar technology into our monthly national “All Staff” calls. * We are now considering transitioning our weekly eNewsletter to a discussion board for real-time news. only 40% of the companies that use social media found it cost-effective. has been key for us transitioning our program to one that is more engaging for our workforce. There are so many tools available. user-generated content (takes us from content creator to product facilitator role). while continually assessing results…” Measurement is the key. 2013 at 8:10 am Reply We found that there is a tipping point at which it is the time for any given organization to bridge from more traditional channels to more interactive channels. According to Tower Watson’s recent research. a lot of companies are still trying to figure out what the best practices are. and building a good image. while also providing broader plurality of perspectives. this includes all-way chat for Qs/As. Making informed decisions based on real data specific to your organization. while continually assessing results. and audience feedback / interaction. . line visibility.

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