Category Archives for Corporate Social Media

One Word That Summarizes the Future of Employee Communication

Today’s workforce is the most diverse it’s ever been, with employees at large and small companies coming from many different backgrounds and spanning multiple generations. It’s an exciting time, but also one that means employers are tasked with finding new and more efficient ways to connect and communicate with employees.

One Word

The one word that summarizes the future of employee communication is customization. Employers need to customize material, training programs and overall communication to specific audiences to make sure their business runs as smoothly as possible. Here are some examples of how customization can help out in the workplace.

Custom-Crafted Employee Video

Far from the cheesy training videos from the past, today’s custom video creations are fun, inspiring, and not just consistent, but consistently effective. Consider custom video for your message, particularly if you have employees who speak a variety of languages and you need them all to get the same information.  Additionally, with the ability to place your video message online, you can reach additional audiences as needed, including employees’ families. This is a great plan if you’re making changes to your benefits plan or if the company is relocating or announcing other big changes. Creating a positive feeling around change can go a long way toward acceptance of that change.

Custom Employee-focused Websites

Creating a powerful and effective employee website can be a challenge, and maintaining it is another proposition altogether. But customization is key – it’s no longer enough to just piggy-back off third party resources – as an employer of choice, your company has to provide customized resources that connect with employees and the all-important secondary audience at home. Creating password-protected sites that protect your company and your employees from outside interference is a great way to inspire trust and confidence in the resources you’re providing online. Including information on the state of your business, your union-free philosophy, Human Resources, and employee benefits is an important part of keeping a happy and healthy workforce. Custom-created websites allow you to keep the content fresh, interesting and relevant, making the information meaningful to employees.

Custom-crafted eLearning Programs

Not nearly as expensive today as they once were, custom-crafted interactive eLearning programs can help you create a sense of community among your employees, as your training and information instantly becomes consistent and spot-on with content employees and managers need. Interactive eLearning can engage your employees, bolster communication and build solid communication across geography, time zones, varying shifts, different jobs – everyone engages in the same way and learns the material you need them to know. Compliance tracking can provide you with the knowledge you need to make sure your eLearning is doing its job.

Custom Messaging through Social Media

Creating social media groups that let employees share information with each other and managers in a more relaxed and comfortable way can be another great method of improving employee relations. The purpose of social media is to build communities and facilitate interaction. (Check out our previous post on this topic, with some great insight, here!) You can use private Facebook groups to share news about your company and start new conversations or to recognize employees for their accomplishments, and you can use Twitter to communicate fast, short updates to your employees.

Employee communication is more important now than ever. Learn how to customize your interactions with employees to ensure they are happy and feel valued by your company.

The Nine Employment Blogs You Should Be Reading

HR Blogs to ReadNo matter if you are a labor attorney, human resources professional, or business owner, no matter if you’re looking to stay informed about the Employee Free Choice Act, or you just want to recruit and retain the best employees – in the blogosphere, the answers are all there. The problem is, there’s such a wealth of information, it’s nearly impossible to know where to focus your energies.

In an effort to ease that queasy drinking-from-a-firehose feeling, I offer the following nine labor relations and employment law blogs. These are the ones I subscribe to, the ones I wouldn’t live without:

  1. The HR Capitalist Launched in 2006, the HR Capitalist is the blog of Kris Dunn, vice president of people for DAXKO. With more than a decade of experiences as a human resources professional, Dunn’s blog focuses on the intersections of HR practices, technology, and business results; performance management and recruitment; and other numerous topics that affect HR generalists at all levels.
  2. Right to Work Blog The Right to Work Blog covers labor topics for the National Right to Work Committee. Established in 1995, the National Right to Work Committee is nonprofit, nonpartisan, single-purpose citizens’ organization that combats compulsory unionism, ensuring that all people have the right to join a union without being forced to do so.
  3. George’s Employment Blawg George’s Employment Blawg is a trusted resource for issues and commentary related to employment law. George Lenard, a lawyer specializing in labor and employment law, began the blog in May 2003 as a result of his online reading about employment law. As the popularity of the blog grew, Lenard started posting additional topics on general employment information and human resources.
  4. Labor Pains Labor Pains is the blogging home of the Center for Union Facts and the Employee Freedom Action Committee. The blog features commentary from Richard Berman, a longtime labor expert and the executive director of the Center for Union Facts, and J. Justin Wilson, the managing director of the Center for Union Facts. The blog also features guest commentary from other labor and employment law experts.
  5. AFL-CIO Now Blog The AFL-CIO Now Blog delivers up-to-the-minute labor news and commentary from one of America’s largest unions. The AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represents workers from a variety of backgrounds.
  6. The S.H.I.E.L.D. NetworkRun by former union leaders, union organizers, and top labor relations professionals, this mission of this blog (and companion website) is to “dispel the myths for both you and your employer and to expose today’s union tactics that are being executed on employees all across America—in the workplace, in the media, and on the streets.”
  7. Culture to Engage Culture to Engage offers tips, examples, and how-to insights to help companies develop an employee engagement culture. Culture to Engage features blogs from Tim Wright, who focuses on helping management professionals in hospitals and other business leaders with employee engagement issues.
  8. Union Review Union Review provides labor-related news and views and acts as a forum for rank-and-file, as well as non-union members, to openly discuss work, struggles, and ideas to strengthen the labor movement. The blog is owned and run by Richard Negri, a freelance writer and union member.
  9. e2e Projections’ own blog offers commentary, insight, and current news on labor relations and HR. Established in 1979, Projections, Inc. is the country’s leading provider of custom employee communication resources (video, Web, and eLearning), specializing in critical issues such as skills and management training, health care issues, layoffs and closings, pension and retiree issues, new employee orientations, corporate compliance and ethics, labor relations, and other employment-related issues.

Staying abreast of labor and employment issues is the best way to ensure that your organization remains union free and successful. Make checking all or some of these blogs part of your daily routine by subscribing to their RSS feed or bookmarking them.

Projections has been helping companies communicate with employees for more than 3 decades. CEO Walter Orechwa believes in working with the Human Resources and Labor Relations experts that help those companies maintain positive employee relations. For more information on the video, web, and eLearning resources Projections offers, please visit their website at www.ProjectionsInc.com

Free and Easy Corporate Social Media Monitoring Tools

A decade or two ago, it was fairly easy to stay on top of union organizing activity. While union organizers have been known to be very savvy in their marketing, traditional union organizing included things like on-site solicitation, passing out fliers, promoting meetings, and providing easily recognizable signs of organizing activity. That’s no longer the case.

Unions have fully embraced electronic communication, and made no bones about the fact that they will continue to exploit online social networking channels. These channels allow them to keep their activities secret, and gather a following before the employer is even aware of their presence.

So, today, it is far more difficult to be proactive in the face of “underground” organizing. Employee communication specialist Projections, Inc. encourages clients to pay close attention to social media sites to monitor what unions are saying and recognize activity.

Projections educates clients on the free tools that are available today that provide the ability to monitor what’s being said online. Here are some of those resources, and information on how to get started:

  1. Get Tweeting. For those who aren’t on Twitter, the idea may seem intimidating. But once a user visits the site, those fears are quickly overcome. Twitter was designed to be very user-friendly. Projections recommends setting up an anonymous account for monitoring these conversations. Virtually every national union has a Twitter account, as do a large number of union locals. Following the unions and relevant locals often leads to following related labor sympathizers and activists. Keeping an eye on these messages will provide insight into vulnerability factors as well. One powerful aspect of Twitter is the ‘search’ bar. Begin with obvious terms – company name, union, and local. Large companies may find an overwhelming amount of dialogue, but searches can be refined to limit irrelevant tweets. Remember, tweets only provide 140 characters, so time spent monitoring this channel can be minimal.
  2. Use Google’s smarts. Google Alerts—basically, a perpetual daily term search—are incredibly popular, because they’re so easy to set up. Similar to Twitter feeds, the terms should vary depending on the volume of information desired.Projections recommends starting with these basic terms:
    1. Company Name (may want to add locations or key words like ‘union’),
    2. Competitors Names (because unions often organize within an industry),
    3. Relevant Unions (including local).

    Google Alert emails are sent, broken down into three sections: News, Blogs, and Video. News is generally the most credible source, consisting of newspapers, online news, magazines, etc. but blog content can also provide excellent “word on the street” information – same with videos.

  3. Enter the blogosphere. Google Reader is a clean, neat platform designed to organize RSS feeds into one place. Most national unions, along with union-friendly sites, will have a blog that can be read in Google Reader. Because blogs can provide insight into any and all activity, they can be infinitely more valuable than news or simple websites. That said, it also makes sense to go beyond the blog and visit the websites of those writing them. It may take a bit more time, but the information gained is often well worth the effort. Let Google Reader lead the way.
  4. Show your Face. Our last recommendation revolves around the number one social networking site in the world, Facebook. It’s not just a bunch of teenagers chatting it up with their friends anymore, and the platform itself has evolved into a strong platform for organizing communities (not just unions but clubs, local interests, seniors, etc.

Projections advises clients that a personal profile is the best way to login and search for important information. Most unions have fan pages that allow users to click ‘like’ or become a ‘friend.’ These connections are tricky for management, but if the company is not involved in an active organizing drive, there’s no harm in monitoring these pages on a regular basis. Just as a side note, Facebook does not report to users who has looked at their page.

One thing many users are unaware of is Facebook’s search function. Projections recommends searching posts (status updates) globally, meaning from everyone on Facebook, for a specific word or term (such as company name). Again, similar to Twitter searches, the larger the company, the greater the volume of information returned. Facebook’s search also allows the use of terms to find pages/groups affiliated with a company name. Is there a group for disgruntled employees? That’s valuable intelligence that allows management to address concerns before they get out of hand.

As opposed to the other three recommendations, Facebook requires the most manual work. Twitter feeds, Google alerts, and Google reader can all be set up and accessed in one location, but Facebook searches will have to be recreated, researched, and monitored each time.

Projections’ Social Media expert, Brett Kittredge says the question he gets most is that of time, “Many people want to know how much time should be dedicated to social media monitoring,” he says. “There is certainly no set time minimum or maximum, but take care that you don’t neglect the information or, conversely, spend way much time analyzing it.” According to Kittredge, neither of these time traps is smart. His advice is to set aside a defined amount of time each day (or week) to focus the information and act on it appropriately.

Why should my company use social media?

People are participating in social media because it provides a fast and easy way to stay connected to people and exchange information on virtually any topic. For organizations, social media can open lines of communication between employers and employees, increasing employee engagement and positively impacting the company’s ROI. Additionally, it helps the organization position itself as a cutting-edge, caring, and fair enterprise. These traits are especially important to increasingly engaged consumers and young professionals, who are accustomed to and comfortable using social media.

Beeline Labs, a marketing strategy firm, recommends the following guidelines for successful implementation of social media applications into an organization’s communication strategies:

1. Start with the end goal in mind: What is the purpose of developing this community?

2. Communicate the value of the community: How will this community strategically impact the organization?

3. Don’t start with technology: What technology is needed to accomplish the end goal and demonstrate value?

4. Plan engaging content and activities: What content will peak members interests?

5. Have dynamic community leaders: Who in the organization can welcome new members, participate in discussions, and help others connect without controlling the community?

6. Organize a passionate core of participants before launching the community: Who in the organization is knowledgeable and can help develop a culture in the community.

7. Create governance and guidelines: How can the organization protect its business interests and members from potential abuse of the technology?

8. Learn from other industries and business leaders: How are successful organizations using social media technologies to improve their business?

For more information on how your company can utilize social media, read this article, “Using Social Media to Connect with Your Employees.”

Why Should My Company Use Social Media?

People are participating in social media because it provides a fast and easy way to stay connected to people and exchange information on virtually any topic. For organizations, social media can open lines of communication between employers and employees, increasing employee engagement and positively impacting the company’s ROI. Additionally, it helps the organization position itself as a cutting-edge, caring, and fair enterprise. These traits are especially important to increasingly engaged consumers and young professionals, who are accustomed to and comfortable using social media.

Beeline Labs, a marketing strategy firm, recommends the following guidelines for successful implementation of social media applications into an organization’s communication strategies:

1. Start with the end goal in mind: What is the purpose of developing this community?

2. Communicate the value of the community: How will this community strategically impact the organization?

3. Don’t start with technology: What technology is needed to accomplish the end goal and demonstrate value?

4. Plan engaging content and activities: What content will peak members interests?

5. Have dynamic community leaders: Who in the organization can welcome new members, participate in discussions, and help others connect without controlling the community?

6. Organize a passionate core of participants before launching the community: Who in the organization is knowledgeable and can help develop a culture in the community?

7. Create governance and guidelines: How can the organization protect its business interests and members from potential abuse of the technology?

8. Learn from other industries and business leaders: How are successful organizations using social media technologies to improve their business?