Over half of employers are using social media for internal comms

You can either be shocked at how few or amazed by how many employers are now using social media to build a community among their employees. It’ll no doubt depend on how much or how little you use social media in your private life. A new survey from Towers Watson has revealed that globally, just over 50% of bosses are connecting to the workforce through a variety of social media tools including instant messaging.

However, there seems to be little consensus on what the best tools are and there’s a sense that employers are still feeling their way down a dark corridor. Only 30% to 40%, according to how you read the data, saw most of the tools as being highly effective while just 40% could say with confidence that it was cost effective.  However, these are still high enough percentages and suggest the trend is upward. It’s hard to believe that companies will be able to put the social media genie back in the bottle now that it’s out.

Kathryn Yates and Towers Watson explained:

As today’s workforce evolves, we know from our research that the growing number of remote workers are looking for clear communication, to be treated with integrity, and want coaching and support from afar. For employers to effectively engage and retain remote workers, they will need to connect them with their leaders, managers and colleagues. We think social media tools can be a real help in making this connection

Instant messaging and streaming video were seen as most effective by those who use those tools while out of the 53% that use social networks – only 29% could state that it was effective. Interestingly both leadership and employee blogs were used by half of those surveyed with about a third saying they made an impact.

Communications secrets of great leaders

These days it’s becoming harder to be a great leader without being a great communicator as well. Forbes magazine has listed what it calls the “secrets” of great communication and that doesn’t just mean being a good talker. You can access the full article by clicking HERE.

The article argues in part what we practice here in our leadership consultancy division. One key element is that a leader must communicate ideas in a way that touches the target audience – speaking to their emotions and aspirations. It’s about reading people, understanding mood and attitude and adapting the message to the environment.

The Forbes article makes the very important point that this doesn’t involve deceit. Trust is absolutely essential. Speaking with a forked tongue is unacceptable –  “Keep in mind people will forgive many things where trust exists, but will rarely forgive anything where trust is absent”.

The leadership message must be conveyed with clarity and that means getting specific. The article makes this point succinctly:  “Without understanding the value of brevity and clarity it is unlikely you’ll ever be afforded the opportunity to get to the granular level as people will tune you out long before you ever get there. Your goal is to weed out the superfluous and to make your words count”.

There’s a lot of good points in the article but one that we like is about speaking to groups as if they were individuals. “Great communicators can tailor a message such that they can speak to 10 people in a conference room or 10,000 people in an auditorium and have them feel as if they were speaking directly to each one of them as an individual”.

At CTN, we take leaders on a journey from the current perception of their company to the reputation they wish to win. And that means both working out the key messages and testing them in our broadcast TV studio.  For many leaders, watching themselves perform on camera is an essential preparation for addressing managers, employees, investors or a TV audience. By observing their own performance, they see whether they’re really able to reach out to stakeholders in a meaningful and inspiring way.