The introduction of Enterprise Social into the workplace has transformed how organisations communicate and engage with employees. Depending on the maturity of your social culture, there is now far more scope for employees to generate content and create more of a bottom up and less of a top down method of storytelling.

This has huge benefit to organisations in generating authenticity with storytelling, and can cut across both internal and external audiences. There is a blurring of lines in the workplace between internal and external channels; especially social.

A different kind of content

The traditional method of communicating to employees still has a place in business; there will always be the need for top down messaging on business strategy and direction. But the ways in which you can deliver that content are now changing. The all company email from the CEO is becoming redundant as a mechanism to reach out to employees as a method of communication.

For those businesses that are socially mature; a more authentic method to deliver a key message from your CEO is to crowd source questions via your enterprise social tool, such as Yammer, and then use an employee presenter to interview your CEO on your internal television channel (which can be built conceptually on You Tube).

Of course, content isn’t exclusive to your leadership. Enterprise social gives you the opportunity to engage employees to create content; you can do this through running internal social campaigns.

An example might be running a hashtag social campaign called #mystory – where you ask employees to submit a short video clip on why they love working at your organisation through Yammer or SharePoint (or an alternative source). You can then take this content to create a really powerful message about the best things about working at your organisation – this can be used across multiple channels both internally and externally.

The opportunities to build your story through the employee voice are endless if you leverage enterprise social to the full.

The employee voice

Of course, if you are generating employee content through enterprise social, you are also giving your employees a voice in your business.

Another great way to generate authentic content and to tell your organisational story is to engage employees on what they think about specific topics and issues. An easy mechanism to create conversation is to use hashtags throughout your media so that employees have a call to action to post thoughts and ideas.

One of the most credible methods to tell your organisational story is to use real people in your business to tell it for you. That is where one of the real benefits of enterprise social can be found.

A social culture

When considering your enterprise social strategy there are two key considerations to make. The first one is don’t make an assumption that introducing the tools will make you a social business – being a socially enabled business involves a cultural shift towards behaviours that encourage and reward collaboration, conversation and innovation.

The tools might help you initiate cultural change, but you need to consider whether or not your behaviours – the ‘how we do things’ aligns to a social culture as well; otherwise the tools will soon become redundant.

Enterprise social: every channel counts!

There can sometimes be an assumption that the introduction of one tool is the solution to enterprise social, and by introducing something like Yammer, you will start on that journey.

But the key with enterprise social is to try and build it into all of your internal channels. Most organisations will have multiple channels to reach out to employees – it is important that they integrate and complement each other so that ‘being social’ isn’t something you just do when you login to Yammer for example.

The best way to achieve this is to build social integration into the heart of your digital workplace; make sure that you have Yammer or your social tool integrated into the heart of your Intranet. If you build an in house TV channel (which is another great way to build social capability), make sure it integrates with your Intranet and social tool.

The trick is to let employees interact with content wherever they go to find content – whether that is your Intranet, Social Tool or TV channel. That will help you create a workspace for employees where they are able to interact with your organisational story, contribute to it, and help you tell it.

Summary

Although there is still a place for traditional storytelling and top down communication in the workplace the dynamic is changing quickly with enterprise social. Content is now being created quickly and easily – and there is huge scope for businesses to look to a different, more authentic way of storytelling.

Internal Communicators can now use (hashtag) campaigns to source content, rather than having to create it. They can then create compelling stories that can be pushed out through multiple channels.

Enterprise social firmly puts the employee voice at the heart of a business; there is a great deal of opportunity to both drive engagement and authenticity internally, and for employees to tell a great story externally as well.

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