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employee communication and digital marketing

Shouting into the Void: Employee Communication and Digital Marketing

There are 287 million internet users in the United States. It’s safe to say, then, that most people, if not everyone, in your organization use the internet on a regular basis. As your employees spend more of their time online, you have more opportunities for engagement. Now you can use the same techniques digital marketers use to build your company culture, connect with workers and promote positive employee relations. But how you do it? Here are several ways to connect employee communication and digital marketing

Why Should You Communicate With Employees Online?

As an HR and labor relation pro, you know the drill. Sometimes communicating with employees is a challenge — you feel like no one’s listening. You probably get questions from workers that you’ve already answered. Did these employees just forget what you told them? Or were they even listening in the first place?
Consider thinking of your employee communications like digital marketing. This approach allows you to get your message across in an innovative way. Workers are more likely to retain important info, and you can foster positive employee relations. Digital marketing is a powerful tool that lets you engage with workers in your organization. It’s “an umbrella term for all your online marketing efforts,” says software development and marketing company, HubSpot. This term encompasses methods like Google search, email, websites, online video and social media.

How Can You Use Digital Marketing to Engage Employees?

HR pros are using digital marketing techniques today to target employees and create a UnionProof culture. One type of digital marketing method, email automation, for example, lets you send automated marketing messages to staff about relevant and timely topics. Automation can also be a powerful tool for onboarding new employees, with just the right amount of information delivered at just the right time. Automated emails can include links to video messaging, downloadable resources, company handbook, and more. Later, you can also educate employees on right-to-work laws, authorization cards, dues and other information specific to your UnionProof culture. You can communicate your union-free philosophy and inspire workers to take specific actions.
Another aspect of digital marketing, social media, can help you build your culture of engagement by featuring positive employee relations stories from inside the company. Create your online presence as an employer of choice with benefits for new hires, a new hire orientation video, and current industry and legal updates that resonate with employees at your company.
Unlike traditional advertising, digital marketing lets you track your communications with employees. Discover, for example, whether staff read your emails or liked your social media posts. “Digital analytics play a crucial role in nearly every enterprise’s digital marketing strategy, not only for tracking and measuring website traffic but for tracking and measuring other digital channels, as well,” says Marketing Land. “With the explosive growth of social media, video, and mobile, the importance of understanding the contributions and relationships of these channels to website traffic and conversions has increased significantly.”
social media monitoring

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing

In the past, HR teams sent employees paper-based communications like newsletters. These took a long time to complete, and there were no guarantees that employees would even read them. Digital marketing methods, on the other hand, increase the likelihood of staff reading your messages. Research shows that the average person checks his or her email 15 times and spends 35 minutes on Facebook every single day.
Therefore, digital marketing is a great way to promote labor relations. You can update your Instagram and Twitter feeds with the latest developments in union avoidance, for example, or attract more people to your organization with search engine optimization (SEO).

What Are the Best Digital Marketing Techniques?

You can incorporate various methods into your digital marketing strategy. Here are some techniques that you can use.
  • Promote your company’s objectives and values on social media with the right hashtags. Who knows, someone with hundreds of thousands of followers might see your message and post it on their page.
  • Advertise events that promote union-free workplaces on your website or blog. It’s just like pinning an ad on your office noticeboard, but employees are more likely to take notice of your message. Encourage your social media followers to like, share and comment on your content, too.
  • Use pay-per-click advertising to increase the number of people who visit your website and blog. This type of search engine marketing increases the visibility of your organization and its core values on websites like Google and Bing.

What Else?

There are other digital marketing methods, too. Content marketing, for example, lets you incorporate information about your company and its union-free philosophy on your blog. You can create compelling content — what it’s like to work for your company, for example — and post information about employee orientation and staff training.
Text messaging lets you send short marketing messages to mobile devices — perfect if you need to notify employees quickly. This is an effective communication tool: Collectively, Americans check their phones 8 billion times per day.
Live online events are just as effective. Webinars, for example, let you communicate union-free practices and HR-related topics to audiences around the world. All you need is a computer or mobile and an internet connection.
Finally, online video is a powerful tool for employee communications. Use it for orientation and training.
Still haven’t incorporated digital marketing into your workplace? Using marketing methods like SEO, social media, email automation, live events and video promotes your company culture, improves communications and lets you engage with employees on a much deeper level.
social media video
new hire orientation video

How to Motivate New Employees With Video Onboarding (6 Great Tips)

Does effective onboarding increase employee motivation? SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) has gathered information indicating that it does. Their findings? That the result of effective onboarding is that both employee AND employer reap long-term benefits.

According to SHRM, effective onboarding will increase job satisfaction, organizational commitment and performance levels. In addition, it can reduce turnover and new employee stress levels. When you research onboarding, you’ll find that video is one of the most effective approaches available today.

Why Video Onboarding?

Traditional onboarding often consists of classroom-style lectures accompanied by documentation the new hire must study. Providing video is more memorable and far more effective than a lecture. It’s a way to build trust of company executives and ensure that the message to new employees is consistent. In addition, top-notch onboarding that includes video can reduce in-house training costs, and even reduce turnover in the first 90 days of employment.

Must Read: Inspire Your New Hires! How To Create A Stellar Orientation Video

Tips for Creating a Dynamic New Employee Onboarding Process

1. Create an Online Portal for Access to Your Onboarding Videos

You can build a library of onboarding videos and update them as required. When the employee has access to the library, they can revisit information that they need to reinforce.

Another advantage is that you don’t need to overwhelm new hires by providing all the information they need at one time. It’s easy to set up a drip email campaign that spaces out delivery of links to the videos in sequential order, based on the employee’s start date.

2. Create Shorter Orientation Videos to Address One Topic at a Time

Separate the information you want to convey into manageable pieces. For example, one video could be a welcome video from the CEO; another might come from department heads and so forth.

Employee Onboarding

3. Plan Orientation Video Content Carefully

Get employee input for ideas on the topics to cover. Ask existing employees of differing seniority in what ways they got lost when they were new hires. Also, ask them what they know now that they wish they’d known when they first joined the company.

4. Create an Orientation Video Series to Introduce the New Hire to the Organization

Here are some topics you may want to include in a multi-day orientation program:

  • CEO welcome
  • Department heads talking about the role of their department in the overall organization and the department’s mission and objectives
  • Where the company’s prospects and customers come from
  • A comprehensive view of the company’s products and services
  • Information on the company’s competitors
  • Marketing approach and the company’s competitive advantages

5. Create Operational Videos to Ease the New Employee Into Day-to-Day Operations

The types of videos can cover issues that may seem mundane but are important to new hires. Examples include how to use necessary equipment, IT policies, how to get support if something goes wrong, and a wide variety of other day-to-day challenges.

Operational videos are also useful for reference – they’re the sort of content that the new hire may return to later, when they encounter that particular challenge.

6. Create Videos Focused on “Inside Insight”

Of course, your onboarding videos should reflect your company culture. Expand on that idea with fun videos that illustrate what it’s like to work at the company. Take a video of one employee, or edit the input from a variety of employees into one video. Your team members can share on a variety of topics, such as what they do, their biggest challenge, their greatest satisfaction, the resources they find most useful, the help they can offer to new employees, and what they like about their job or the company. If you have employees whose career paths have included a series of promotions, arrange for them to provide a testimonial on career opportunities for long-term employees.

If you’re responsible for onboarding new employees, video is a tool you won’t want to ignore. Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t have a video library right now. Since you’ll be creating specific videos to address specific topics, you can easily build a library over time. The most important thing is just getting started!

Directing the Narrative: Employee Communications During a Union Action

union organizing communicationsWhen a union has you — and your employees — in its sight, you need to be ready to respond. Union leadership had months to prepare, to start engaging your employees, and to lay the groundwork for a unionization drive. Your business can’t afford to cobble together a strategy once a representation vote is imminent; you need to have a well-thought-out communications game plan. Here are a few tips to help craft your message:

Do Your Research

Your labor team needs to communicate with employees during an organizing drive. But before they do, it’s vital to understand that the laws are explicit about what kind of communication is permissible. The team of people working to help keep your company union-free will be in charge of overseeing the message, understanding what is said, to whom and when. Beyond that, the labor team (even if it’s a group of leaders who normally have other primary responsibilities) must know what resources are available to them to help them communicate well. This includes attorneys, persuaders & consultants and those that provide video, web, and eLearning tools dedicated to keeping your company union-free.

So, do your research and know what’s legal as well as what’s recommended for your unique company and workforce ahead of time. Then, when you do have to manage a campaign to keep your company union-free, you’ll be well-prepared.

Train Your First Line of Defense

Next, remember that your supervisors are out every day interacting with employees… making them your best source of information about what’s going on with your workforce. Empower those in supervisory positions and promote positive employee relations by providing confidence-boosting training that helps them understand not only what cannot be said to employees – but what CAN and SHOULD be said during an organizing drive. Supervisors can state that the company is opposed to unionization, highlight the disadvantages of union membership, and point to misleading statements in union propaganda. Supervisors cannot prohibit employees from wearing union buttons or demand to know if they’ve signed a union authorization card. Provide them with the skills they need to conduct meetings with employees, recognize distribution of authorization cards, and implement other targeted communications.

Any team member that is expected to lead and to communicate with employees needs powerful leadership training to avoid mistakes – and Unfair Labor Practice charges – that could lead to fines and penalties for your company, and stress for your management team. This gives you time to prepare your response and make your case to your employees.

Create Internal Processes to Address Employee Grievances

Why are your employees even considering joining a union in the first place? If you can answer that question, maybe you can prevent this problem altogether. In a union-free environment, one option is to empower your supervisors to engage employees directly and solicit feedback. If there are consistent grievances, you may have your answer. A more involved option is to organize a “town hall” with executives to speak to employees and even the families of employees directly. This is a slightly more risky idea, but if your leadership is prepared and willing, this can put a more human face on your company.

Finally, your internal processes can include regularly conducted employee engagement or union vulnerability assessments and surveys. When conducted by an outside company, these processes can help upper management gain insight, understanding, and the ability to take action on the right things.

Have Prepared Communications Ready

The time to plan your communications strategy is before an organizing drive – not during. Whoever makes up your labor team – be it staff dedicated to this area or communications teams and senior management  – needs to sit down and create templates for several key publications: a response to an organizing drive so employees immediately understand that the company is aware and listening, educational information about the effects of unionization and why the company wants to remain union-free, and what to say once an organizing drive has ended (and what it means for the business going forward).

This pre-prepped communications plan applies to company emails and press releases, but if your labor team wants to directly engage and refute union messaging, the best medium can be a website, dedicated to the organizing drive – and addressing only that topic. This kind of site can be created and kept in a “dark” state until it’s needed.

Keep Your Message Positive

This is where your labor & communications teams earns their keep. Your internal and public communications need to be clear, consistent and positive. Your leadership needs to have the authority to control all management interactions with the media and ensure that no company leaders “wing it” and go off-message. That message needs to state the facts and avoid painting the dispute as bitter or unpleasant. Remember, all you need to communicate is where the company stands and that events are ongoing. Anything else is just noise.

Your message needs to be thoughtful, consistent and constructive. Every communication you release will be picked over by your employees, the union and, depending on the level of coverage, the media. What you say, and how you say it, will reveal a lot about how your organization is weathering the storm and how soon you can get back to business.

dark union free websites

The Secret Reason Your Employees Keep Complaining

COMPLAINING_billboardWe’ve all been there. Business is good, the work is flowing, the team is collaborating and then you hear it: an employee complaint. Maybe they feel the workload isn’t fair. Maybe they’re frustrated with the communication, or feel a lack thereof. Whatever it is, your first instinct may be to put on the boxing gloves and come back on the defensive. However, what if you can turn that complaint into what it likely is: an employee’s desire to make the company truly great? By doing this, you just may begin to see those complaints as opportunities instead.

Employee Desires

Let’s clear this up right off the bat: complaints are good, because they mean that employee engagement is good. A complaint is a sign that your employees are so actively engaged in their jobs that they want their company to equal their passions and their contribution. They want to make a suggestion for improvement and see that they have a voice in how they spend those 40 hours every week. If your business doesn’t have a clear and effective avenue for these suggestions, they may just turn into complaints.

Preventing Unrest

To prevent suggestions from turning into complaints, your company needs to have a way for employees to communicate their desires. The first and easiest way is to advertise an open-door policy. Include language in your employee handbook that you welcome feedback as a tool to constantly improve your program for all those involved. Schedule open office hours for employees to express any concerns or share new ideas. Foster positive employee relations by demonstrating that not only are you open to the contributions of your team, but that you will actively try to make changes within your power when they fit with your mission and your company’s needs.

Handling Complaints Constructively

Of course, no amount of open doors and feedback-based policies will prevent the occasional complaint from squeezing between the cracks. When this happens, don’t be disheartened. Nobody is perfect, and every company can find room for improvement. To handle complaints constructively, start the conversation by giving your employee the power to find a solution. For example, if your employee is complaining about a lack of opportunity for professional growth, ask them what areas they would like to develop and what suggestions they have for fostering these skills. If they complain about a long commute, have them propose a plan that outlines how they can get the job done from home occasionally — and be willing to give it a trial. If an employee has a suggestion to make, don’t feel it is all on your shoulders to make those changes. Rely on the strength of your team and the skills of your employees — you hired them for a reason, of course — to come up with constructive solutions as well.

Transparency Is Key

Whether your employees have been with the company for decades or — perhaps even more importantly — are millennials just out of college, having an open and transparent organizational culture will ensure that all workers don’t just feel heard, but are heard. In order to minimize employee unrest and complaints, you need to make a clear and obvious effort to communicate openly in an effective way about employee concerns — not just what they are, but how your company is going to address them. Show that you are willing to put yourself out there and make a mistake in order to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. In this way, your employees can work with more passion and more trust in the company they support.

Close the Loop

Most important of all is for the company to communicate that employees are being heard. Whether that takes the form of live meetings, regular video messages, or even an online resource, regular communication fosters understanding. This is particularly true when feedback from employees involves something systemic that may take some time to address. Creating custom training resources to address employee concerns can go a long way toward addressing the opportunities employees present to you. By fostering an environment of feedback, action and communication, you can create a culture that rewards growth and provides job security for every team member.

Revolutionizing Your Workplace in 2016

revolutionize your_billboardAs we move through 2016, employees’ expectations of their employers are growing and changing. To create workplace safety, inclusiveness and a driven team of people, it’s important to focus on strengthening your company culture in a few key ways. The following sections cover those methods and how you can use them.

Encouraging positive employee relations

As companies focus on strengthening communication and forging solid employee relationships, the need for unions will dissipate naturally. Instead of directing your energy toward creating an anti-union environment, a much more positive and effective approach is to create an environment that fosters positive employee relations. This includes a culture that protects its employees against harassment, injuries and layoffs without the need for union intervention. Employees should express confidence that they can approach management openly and receive assistance without having to struggle for their rights. One of the best ways to ensure that all of these factors are in place is leadership training.

Ensuring strong leadership

How do you determine whether leadership is strong within an organization? Not surprisingly, a study by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology revealed that commitment and positive attitudes lead to better performance. Thus midlevel managers must be taught to openly display these leadership qualities and pass them down through the organization. By starting at the top, organizational leaders can set an example that reflects a company’s culture and values of openness, honesty and tolerance of all types of people. Incorporating technology such as interactive e-learning has become a popular and effective strategy to keep employees informed and allow them to interact directly with management.

Addressing concerns and issues

In today’s globalized world, events that have a widespread influence on your employees’ attitudes and behaviors can occur. Holding meetings that address employee concerns and key issues can generate better trust and understanding among co-workers. Similarly, management must directly address how employees can professionally handle serious problems such as harassment and injury. If uncertainty exists or formal systems have yet to be put in place for solving these issues, there is a strong need for better communication. To maintain consistency and keep your employees from fragmenting in different directions, leadership must work to maintain a clear voice that overpowers external uncertainty.

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