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Managing successful internal communications in a modern, complex digital workplace requires taking a strategic approach. This includes using social tools to enhance communications, by amplifying messages and in ways that play to the strengths of each channel.
Let’s face it, it’s hard for CEOs and other senior leaders to connect with their workforce. Social channels provide an opportunity to deliver more personal and less corporate messages which can resonate with employees. Leaders can also get direct feedback and engage in two-way dialogue, a process which has great value for CEO and employees.
The best leadership communications:
- are targeted and to the point
- allow users to get to know more about the individual and their personality
- are interactive, allowing touchpoints between employee and CEO
- feel authentic and direct
- are open, honest and transparent
Below are some examples of how CEOs are successfully using social tools to communicate.
Creating a CEO community at Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is a global telecommunications company with 90,000 employees. The company introduced a highly active social platform called TSN (Telekom Social Network) to help connect the organisation and its workforce.
Prior to TSN it was hard for employees to interact with senior management, particularly because of the hierarchical nature of the company. To combat this, a special community open to all employees was established to communicate with the CEO, Tim Höttges. This community is known as “Tim’s Base” and allows any employee to ask a question or initiate a discussion on any topic they like. Responses come directly from the CEO.
The community has a high level of interaction, with over 7, 000 employees joining and difficult topics are not off-limits. For even deeper interaction there’s even a request form to book a physical meeting with the CEO!
- a community format allows deeper two-way conversations
- allowing employees to initiate questions or topics on any subject is powerful
- extra features like booking the CEO can be a nice touch
The leadership blog at CWS-boco
CWS-boco is a provider of hygiene and textile services with 7,500 employees. The team behind the creation of a new intranet wanted to find an easy way for CWS-boco management to communicate directly with employees.
They chose a publishing process which didn’t require the involvement of corporate communications or any editing. Taking a pragmatic approach meant it was far easier for the CEO to publish messages when he felt like it he had the time. To make it even easier the CEO can post from his mobile device and upload photos; employees know that any post is coming directly from him.
To ensure that messages are read by employees, the blog is prominently positioned on the intranet homepage. The result has been a popular blog with frequent posts from the CEO on topics such as the opening of a new CWS-boco location or updates on his foreign travels.
- making the process easy encourages adoption and ensures more direct messaging
- allowing mobile posting helps a busy CEO
- a prominent position on the intranet homepage makes messages more visible
Creating a YamJam at Centrica
Centrica is an energy services company with around 45,000 companies. One of its key brands is British Gas.
The team responsible for the intranet and collaboration platform used Yammer to run a “YamJam” session with senior leaders, including the Managing Director. A YamJam is a real-time Q&A session where employees can ask questions to senior management.
This has proved to be a great way for senior leaders to be more visible and engage in open and direct dialogue directly frontline employees. To ensure that frontline employees can participate, the YamJams have also been relayed via digital signage in different facilities.
Not only have the sessions been well received but they have helped drive overall adoption and acceptance of Yammer throughout the company. The initial buy-in from the Managing Director has been key, instructing other members of the leadership team to also participate, and also inspiring his predecessor to follow suit.
- real-time Q&A sessions improve management visibility with frontline employees
- involvement of the the CEO or Managing Director encourages other leaders to participate
- relaying via digital signage can improve reach
Social channels were made for CEO comms
Social channels like blogs and communities provide a great opportunity for leadership communications. CEOs can be themselves and post messages directly to employees in easy ways which can fit around busy schedules.
This not only helps break down barriers between management and employees and is personally satisfying for your CEO, but also ensures your intranet and enterprise social network (ESN) deliver value.