By shifting to a strategy that uses communication channels that reach employees where they are and where they prefer to communicate from, a business can better connect and keep everyone aligned on the company vision. That’s the view of Heather Cook, the managing director of Hootsuite in Australia.

Cook, not surprisingly given her role, believes social media is the next critical phase for advancing an organization’s digital transformation.

“Gone are the days when a quarterly or weekly e-newsletter would pass as internal communications – chances are most miss it due to their already-clogged inbox, ” Cook said.

She argues that by implementing social media into an organisation’s communications strategy the business is better positioned to address cultural and organizational transformation. “Most employees are quite active on and are savvy with various social media platforms, making the implementation of social media into your internal communications strategy quite natural.”

Earlier this year – at the height of the COVID lockdown, the company released its Digital 2020 April Statshot which is produced with We Are Social revealing at the time that almost half of those surveyed were spending more time using social media in the first four months of this year.

According to Cook, as social media usage increases, employees should be encouraging their organization and its leaders, with the appropriate governance, guidance, and training, to become brand advocates by sharing and posting their own content about the organization.”

“Social media is an effective communication tool and when used internally within organizations it can help teams within different departments or locations to collaborate effectively and make speedier decisions. An internal communications hub creates efficiency. It minimizes the risk of employees missing out on seeing important information, with targeting and filters ensuring the information is sent to the right teams. This allows for a better flow of information within an organization,” she said.

Hootsuite’s argument is that social platforms replace the old fashion ‘suggestion box’ and don’t employees with traditional top-down communication. Instead, they can communicate laterally by using social platforms to communicate their ideas

“Without having to wade through information, employers can easily gather employee feedback and act quickly. One way we have recently used our internal social tool to engage the team was to poll our people around how they’d like to see our Social Fridays proceed while we’re still all working remotely. Whereas attendance at our social meet had been waning, by providing what our people were looking for, the level of engagement is back up,” she told Which-50.

Multi-directional communication can cultivate a supportive environment within an organization that encourages employee participation, Cook says. Employees who are kept informed and feel like they do have a voice within the organization, regardless of their position, are more likely to trust senior management and buy into the organization’s overall strategy.

Cook says the information companies share within their organization feeds into company culture and values. “An open and transparent internal communications strategy gets employees to believe in the goals and mission of the company. When they feel like they matter to the organization, they will be more likely to promote the business externally and become brand ambassadors.”

Whether it’s sharing company news, employee-generated content or industry updates, it’s an opportunity to reach potential customers and aids in recruitment. According to research by Edelman, 53 per cent of all global consumers see employees as the most credible sources for learning about companies.

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