How do companies get a reputation for being a great place to work? In the past, it was all word of mouth. Employees would share stories with their friends, and your company slowly would build a reputation. Hopefully, a positive one.
These days, it’s possible to manage your own brand as an employer, and social media can be the driving force behind it. But how does a company leverage social media to demonstrate that it’s an attractive place to work? Here are a few things to consider:
If you have an account that just posts details of vacancies, you will only attract job-seekers. If you post content that’s interesting, informative and entertaining, you will attract everybody. This is the real aim of employer branding: to build a positive reputation on a large scale and to passively recruit people who may not be actively seeking a job. Video is an excellent way to catch the attention of passersby on social media, as are catchy viral articles. If you create something great, people will share it, increasing your reach by orders of magnitude.
Who knows more about your values as an employer than the people who work for you? They can provide you with stories, anecdotes, photos, cases studies and details of the social side of working life in your organization. They can help you give your company a personality, which is a key element of all branding. Talk to your people about your social media plans and see how they can help.
Social media places a huge emphasis on authenticity. To build a successful employer brand on social media, you have to talk honestly about who you are, where you’re going and how you intend to get there. Most of all, you need to talk about the values at the core of your company. Never try to advertise yourself as something you’re not. Instead, be proud of what your company stands for and let the world know about it.
Social media is not a broadcast. It is two-way conversation. Everything you post is an opportunity to start a dialogue, which shows that you are responsive, dynamic and approachable. It’s also important on a one-to-one level in terms of passive recruitment, as even minor conversations can help to form a relationship that may lead to that person applying for a job.
For a little more than a decade, Human Resources and Employee & Labor Relations departments across the country have been on a mission to figure out how to connect with employees on social media — and it’s proven to be a very difficult task. Employees sometimes aren’t as open to corporate communications on Facebook and Twitter. Even on LinkedIn, reaching employees can be challenging, and sometimes even fruitless. Nevertheless, employee engagement is key to union avoidance, as well as a healthy and happy workplace culture.
Luckily, there are other more powerful ways to connect with employees that don’t involve social media and can help with limiting vulnerability to union organizing. Here are a few innovative ways to engage employees and foster meaningful connections.
Online video is quickly becoming the most popular and most consumed form of media. It’s even been estimated that video traffic will account for 82 percent of internet traffic by 2020. And it’s easy to see why — video is both incredibly popular and highly affordable. Plus, the possibilities with video content are endless. Host a live Q&A session, create a mini-series of training videos or share interviews with executive leadership to keep employees tuned in and motivation turned up.
With plenty of free services like Survey Gizmo, Google Forms and Survey Monkey, it’s never been easier to create employee surveys and analyze the feedback. This can be a powerful tool when you’re looking to craft positive relationships with your employees. Keeping a pulse on how your employees feel about your workplace can help you overcome culture challenges and anticipate potential problems. But be aware of anonymous feedback when giving surveys, as they could encourage unproductive conversations and skew the facts.
Sometimes the best way to create positive employee relations is to unplug. Walking through the office to chat with employees a couple times a week is the most simple yet most powerful way to connect. Personal, face-to-face interactions remind employees that you’re a resource to them and create a bond that can’t be made over SnapChat. Taking five minutes to check in once in awhile might be just what your employees need to feel supported and connected to your company. Plus, you’ll be able to gauge the energy in the room, something digital platforms can’t measure.
Ask managers and supervisors to take the same online training classes so they’re reviewing identical material at the same time. The process of learning collaboratively will give them an opportunity to connect among themselves, online and off. Follow up a week of training with a group discussion to reinforce the lessons. It will reinforce your company’s values of continual learning, foster a culture that supports growth and remind your teams that you care about their professional development.
After the end-of-the-year seasonal parties, employees are usually feeling connected and energized, having just made new memories together. This is why you shouldn’t limit the fun to just once a year. Host quarterly or bi-annual parties that bring people together to do nothing but have fun and bond as a team. The relationships developed over a hamburger at a cookout in the summer will translate to stronger relationships in the office. And stronger relationships in the office will translate to happier, more motivated and more fulfilled employees.
Make your company an employer of choice by driving meaningful connections in person, not just on social media. When you’re looking to improve your employee engagement practices, remember that there are plenty of innovative ways to connect offline as well as on. However, one size does not fit all. What works best for one company might not work at another, so it’s important to find the most effective methods of reaching your employees. Try one, two or all five of these tips to see which work best for you, your team and your culture.
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.
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.
No 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:
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
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:
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.
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.