Walking the talk: how intranets support effective leadership
Every year, Edelman’s respected Trust Barometer shows a fall in trust in CEOs. Internal comms pros note this trend is reflected internally too, with many highlighting the need to rebuild trust in and increase visibility of leaders as one of their top priorities for 2015.
Fortunately, the way intranets have evolved in recent years has made that easier. No longer are intranet pros limited to a few homepage stories to try and build a connection between employees and top brass. Here’s a a few tactics that employ the social elements of your ESN to show your leadership as real human beings.
Revolutionary, we know, but communication is a two-way process. Your management teams can show they’re listening to people by doing just that. Realistically, your CEO isn’t going to spend a huge amount of time with the ESN (employee social network) open on their desktop, so there are ways to make it easier for them.
- Provide regular analysis and dashboards of hot topics
- Send them regular (daily or weekly) pointers on key conversations they may find of interest
- Spend some time with them showing them how to find conversations on the topics they care about
- Show them how they can fit being visible on your ESN into their way of working
ESNs give your leaders myriad ways in which they can give employees an insight into the work they do day to day – dispelling myths about them spending their time an ivory tower. Blogging can take many forms, from a standard text story to instagrams-style selfies. Tony Stewart, International Community Manager at NBC Universal has coached his leaders to do YouTube-style videos after key meetings, keeping colleagues in the loop about their work in a way that really works for their video-loving corporate culture.
Leaders often say they want to tap into the expertise and knowledge of those on the frontline – but how often do they actually do that? Most social intranets offer ideation features, which allow people to suggest and vote on ideas.
Less formally, discussion features can be used to host live online style chats – inviting employees to leave questions, and have your senior leader answer questions for a set time. If your CFO says he’s too busy, remind him that even the President of the United States found the time to do a Reddit Ask Me Anything.
Studies on employee motivation regularly find people are motivated by far more than money, but often by the recognition of a job well done. ESNs allow leaders to recognise and thank employees through acts as simple as a ‘like’ or comment – simple, meaningful interactions that even the most time-poor exec can do from the back of a taxi. Having the CEO come round to your office and post a selfie is a simple and very visible way of scaling up the concept of walking the floor.
Joining the conversation
Execs don’t need to wait for people to comment on their blog posts. Have them ‘fish where the fish are’ by taking the conversation to where people are already having it. Want to know what employees at the front line think? Join the conversation in the Newcastle Call Centre’s own social spaces.
By using some of the features your social intranet offers, in the same ways those features are used in external social, you can make your senior leaders appear open, transparent, visible and human, helping to transform your organisation into one which can listen to itself.
How have leaders in your organisation used your social intranet? Let us know in the comments below.