May 23, 2011

Social Business and Employee Communications

Got these questions from a journalist about how technology is changing employee communications - and my answers

  • How important is it to communicate with an employee in an organisation?
    • Employee communication is often the most ignored aspect of HR initiatives without too much thought or resources being dedicated to it. HR people often forget that communication is a two way process. In my view it is critically important to listen to what employees are saying, and that is an aspect that is usually not done in organizations on a regular basis, apart from an annual or semi annual satisfaction surveys. Communication is the bedrock on which the success of change initiatives hinge.

  • What kind of methods do you use to communicate with your employees?
    • In Qontext our employees are constantly communicating their ideas about our product and strategy and interesting content they come across – with all of us on the employee social network internally. It helps each of us to know what people are feeling, doing and sharing on a regular basis. The social intranet also allows us to share corporate news – which employees can connect on and “like” – and goes viral , helping people engage with the item in a much better way, than say, an email communication. The employee newsletter is ,for example, a crowd-sourced initiative.

  • How do you inculcate technology in your communication? How have you benefited?
    • We are a technology company, with a young workforce so our internal employee social network (which we also deploy for clients) is the core aspect of how we connect employees to each other and the employees to the organization. By doing so, we have reduced our dependence on one way broadcast emails for communication. People share ideas and knowledge on the communities and groups on the network, adding to everyone’s knowledge and reducing rework.

  • How do you plan to stay ahead of the curve with a comprehensive employee communication strategy?
    • We are constantly looking at adding functionalities to the employee social network, making it a default place for people to do their work. We realize that employee to employee communication is as critical to build an engaged workforce.

  • How do you leverage employee communication to build organizational effectiveness, trust and understanding?
    • There are three factors of building an engaged workforce – how an employee feels about work and immediate team, whether the employee has friends at work and how does the employee feel about the organization. The Second and Third factors are increased and reinforced by using the Qontext employee social networking tool. Just by deploying this tool, we (and our client organizations) showcase an open and trusting culture. It shows that the organization cares for the views of the employees on a daily basis and. It enables employees to make connections with other employees in other business units and locations that they might never have connected with – if such a tool was not available.

  • What are the changing trends in employee communication?
    • More and more listening to employees. I foresee large organizations large organizations will soon start analyzing data on which employees are thought leaders, experts and influential amongst the workforce (like marketing does for external customers) and try and build them as employee advocates.
    • As more and more younger workforce enter organizations, their expectations shaped by consumer social applications like facebook, twitter and blogging, they would want access to similar tools within the workforce
    • The next step would be mobile. For example Qontext is already available as a mobile app. This would be a key aspect for organizations with a large sales force who are
    • Communication would lead to collaboration – as more and more employees connect and communicate with each other, they would change work processes itself, making things work faster better and changing processes. Organizations have to continue being open and continue the trusting processes earlier.