In the current crisis, millions more of us are working from home. But how can businesses keep everyone connected when they’re no longer in the office? This is when enterprise social network platforms such as Workplace and Yammer will really come into their own, helping to maintain communication, collaboration and connectivity when everyone is working apart. If you haven’t already got one in your organisation or your intranet has no social functionality, now’s the time….
Facebook Workplace is my personal favourite and I had the pleasure of using it again when leading internal comms for Comic Relief last year. It gets great adoption because it’s based on Facebook so people instinctively know how to use it – it’s familiar. (There is a potential downside of the similarity to Facebook though – some people hate Facebook or see it is somewhere to go occasionally which can mean it’s a struggle to get them to engage with it)
Workplace is based on Groups – you can set up ‘official’ Groups such as ‘Company news’ for your company newsfeed and ‘People News’ to introduce new starters etc. And anyone can set up a group and invite people to join. You can also have a private group for your team to share all the important and not so important stuff, invaluable at times like these when teams are widely dispersed.
My personal favourite feature though is the live video, just like Facebook live which you may have used or seen. You can just point and shoot your tablet or phone to broadcast your ‘Town Hall’ or Q&A session with your CEO, inviting instant feedback, questions etc. (Just make sure the light is good and get a tripod to keep your device still!) It makes it easy to connect your people with your leadership team and each other.
- Workplace delivers all the benefits you’d want and expect e.g. employee voice, collaboration, connectivity with leadership, reduction in email traffic
- It’s USP is ‘no training required’ due to the familiarity of the platform, which leads to better adoption, particularly by millennials
- Workplace Chat (based on Messenger) provides instant messaging
- It’s Microsoft friendly – Facebook themselves use Office 365
- It’s built for mobile first and is secure on personal phones as well as work phones
- The ability to live broadcast at no additional cost and interact with the audience is brilliant
- The pricing is good value with a monthly cost per person of $4 for the core version and it’s free to charities and education. There’s also a free basic version which is great for small businesses
- It’s got great analytics so you can measure engagement
- It’s not an ‘intranet killer’ – you still need a place where people can go and obtain content / forms etc. that’s standing still and easy to find and download.
Finally, it’s really easy to get up and running quickly on the platform so if you’re looking to get something in place at speed with everyone suddenly working from home, it’s a great choice.
Slack has also been mentioned a lot on LinkedIn a lot in the current environment. Here is my recent blog on the platform with my view on it as an internal communicator: https://internalcommsteam.co.uk/communication/slack-an-internal-communicators-view/
What do you look for when recruiting internal communications talent?
As an interim internal communications leader for businesses across multiple sectors, I’ve often had to build or rebuild internal comms teams. Here are the skills I look for when recruiting an internal comms professional:
1. Commerciality and Business Acumen
CEOs and leadership teams want communicators who are on their wave length. That means people with strong business sense who can tap into the leadership team’s view of the organisation, its strategy and priorities. To earn a voice at the top table, today’s IC managers need to be able to link internal communications plans intrinsically with the business strategy – actively supporting delivery of business priorities.
2. Strong people skills – at all levels
Of course internal comms specialists need to be able to work confidently with leadership teams and be a trusted advisor…but they also need to be equally adept at connecting with the front line and staying in touch with their issues. A key part of our role in IC is to improve connectivity between leadership teams and front line employees so an ability to relate to all levels is essential.
3. Brilliant writing
It should go without saying that an Internal Comms Manager must be able to write well. So I’m frequently amazed by the number of people in the industry who lack this basic skill! From key message development, drafting announcements, telling business stories and blogs, the ability to create accurate, compelling content is fundamental to the role. And the first ‘red flag’ is often a poorly written CV…….
4. Expert channels management
A great IC pro needs to be able to develop and manage an effective suite of channels. It’s no longer simply about face-to-face, email and intranet, but in the digital era we have a much broader spectrum that now includes platforms such as Yammer and Workplace. Making them work together is a key skill. And creativity is key – particularly with millennials who respond to creative, engaging comms.
5. Great planning and organisation
Internal comms managers need to be great at pulling together communication plans, in particular for change programmes. This means factoring in multiple and diverse audiences, cross-geographical teams, resource availability and timing around other business activity, giving the comms maximum chance of a successful landing.
If you’d like some support building or rebuilding your internal comms team, drop me a line at email@example.com.