Are you communicating with your employees? I mean really communicating with them, in a productive and engaging manner?
These questions immediately came to mind after reading this article from Brian Solis, which looks at the disconnect between ageing management and the younger workforce, in particular the notion of connectedness.
The central argument is that a major change is happening within organisations. Over the next five years, he says, businesses will witness a generational shift in the workforce, which will impact not just company operations but also overall corporate culture. Millennials will not only be the new employees (making up almost half the US workforce by 2014), they will also be the new consumers. As such, organisations need to learn ways to connect with an employee base for whom "digital is in their DNA".
"With all of the discussions around social media and how it improves the opportunity to engage customers and build more meaningful relationships, we tend to lose sight of another important group: employees," says Solis. "As technology impacts behavior and connects customers and businesses in new ways, the same is true for employees...Before you can engage externally, you must first engage within."
This technological shift is a crucial consideration for internal communications, as touched on in this article by our own Valerie Tan. Companies need to know where their employees are at — in terms of platforms and devices — and find ways to not only engage these potential brand advocates on their home turf, but also to energise them and tap them for insights. For instance, how many companies, when looking to develop a social strategy, talk to their connected employees before drafting in an outside agency?
Companies that are investing in external social strategies, but ignoring not only how they connect to employees, but also failing to understand how their employees' social connectedness can be an asset for the organsisation's business goals, will find themselves left behind. As Solis says: "If you’re not building bridges [within your workforce], you're weakening the foundation upon which the future of your business sits."
Companies need to rethink both the assets they are creating and how these assets are being delivered to employees. Think of the content and syndication strategies being used to reach external audiences. Why should internal communications be any different? If your employees are using Facebook, would it not make sense for them to be sharing that great video you made? All the money being invested in external content and employees are still making do with a monthly newsletter, or at best a poorly designed eDM? This suggests a disconnect.
Michael O'Neill is digital managing editor, Asia Pacific, at Weber Shandwick