It’s long been acknowledged that internal communications can improve many aspects of an organisation from profitability right through to employer branding. Strong internal communications encourage collaboration, diplomacy, progression, honesty and much more. As a result, many employees will feel more satisfied in their jobs.
And we all know that satisfied employees is fantastic for recruitment – whether it’s through encouraging employee referrals or simply giving you confidence to talk about your current team to candidates.
However, one of the lesser talked about topics within internal communications is internal social media (also known as enterprise networks). For many organisations, an effective internal social media strategy could improve internal communications and, in turn, boost recruitment efforts.
How could an internal social media strategy help your recruitment?
Every enterprise will have a different recruitment strategy, whether it’s to grow a specific area of the business thus also grow a particular team or to improve employee retention in specific departments or company-wide.
Depending on the shape of your current recruitment strategy, internal social media could help you achieve your objectives. Here’s a few ways how:
Internal social media strategies could improve employer branding
As mentioned before, great internal communications can help improve an employer’s brand. In turn, internal social media can do the same.
An internal social media strategy could help you improve your employer brand significantly. For example, you may be working to employ more digitally savvy employees – an internal social media strategy would be evidence to such tech-confident candidates that you embrace digital communications.
In turn, an internal social media strategy can make the following qualities a highlight of your employer brand:
- Open and transparent
If any of the above form a focus in your employer brand, then considering an internal social media strategy could be right for you. With a stronger employer brand you’ll start attracting candidates that are right for your business, not only with the necessary experience and skills but also with the right soft skills too.
Internal social media strategies could boost collaboration
Internal social media encourages collaboration across departments, teams and individuals. If one department is lacking a particular skill or simply wants a bit of extra creative input they might be able to find it through an internal social media network.
This level of collaboration is a great asset to any company culture and one that ambitious and driven individuals will find appealing. Collaboration signals opportunities for employees and openness to new ideas and progression – all of which are a must for many job seekers.
For more information on how an internal social media strategy could help collaboration and skills gaps have a read of this article: Using an Internal Social Network to Solve Real Business Problems
Internal social media strategies could encourage integration
One final point on how an internal social media strategy could help with your recruitment strategy is through improved integration.
An internal social media network can give employees the opportunity to speak more broadly across the organisation. For example:
- Remotely based employees can ask questions to those based in the office, which means they can still tap into the skills of everyone in the business
- Those who work flexible working hours or shifts will still be able to converse, easily, with those who work different hours to them
- New employees will have the opportunity introduce themselves, become a part of conversations and embrace the social side of your business with confidence and ease
Straight forward and effective integration of new employees is particularly important for recruitment. Candidates will want to know how you’ll make an effort to make them part of a team and whether they will find it easy to fit in – both on a professional and personal level. An internal social media strategy and network could be a way of showing individuals how you’ve made an effort to take this into consideration.
How can your business introduce an internal social media strategy?
As explored before, an internal social media strategy can help your recruitment in many ways. But you will still need to consider the various options for internal social media and weigh up the pros and cons for other elements of your business.
With that in mind, our first piece of advice is to:
Develop internal social media guidelines that are right for your corporate objectives.
When you’re working up ideas for an internal social media strategy consider how the ideas fit alongside your corporate objectives and your current brand. It’s important that you see any internal social media adoption as inline with objectives for the organisation as a whole.
Remember that your entire team will need to be trained on how to use any internal social media but one bit of advice is to let the network grow naturally – provide some ground rules but let employees enjoy the use of the network and avoid making it an obligation. For example, this article in Digiday quotes the CTO of Time Inc as saying:
“I’m a big fan of seductive adoption…if you tell people to use certain tools some will get on and find them valuable while others won’t. With Slack [a type of internal messaging platform, like a social media channel], we just let things grow by word of mouth.”
If you’re still feeling a little unsure about internal social media, have a read of this blog: 10 myths about internal social media
Here’s a few ways that you can start to consider an internal social media strategy for your business:
Internal social media tools for smaller businesses
For smaller businesses, it may seem unnecessary to have an internal social media strategy – and that may be true! But read through the previous points on how it can improve your recruitment again and make sure you aren’t missing a trick.
Test the waters with private groups on an appropriate network
Lots of social media platforms already have the option to create private ‘groups’, which only those that receive an invitation can view and be a part of.
Think about whether you want to encourage:
Then opt for something like a private Pinterest board, which can allow employees to share ideas they’ve seen online. This is a fun and visual way to collaborate on ideas and stay up to date with what else is happening online!
Consider a private Facebook group for employees where they can share links, ideas, images and more all with various threads on which they can comment and reply.
This allows individuals to contribute to select conversations they can help with whilst others have their own conversations regarding different topics. (See below for more information on Facebook at work…)
Facebook works well for improved integration too, but you might also want to think about a private LinkedIn group that may feel more familiar in a working environment for many.
Of course, the downside of using platforms like the ones listed above is that they are primarily used for social networking outside of work – you may feel the boundaries are being blurred by encouraging work communication over said platforms.
But, having said that, social media networks are being quick on the case to dispel employer concerns when using social media internally. For example, Facebook At Work is a new concept currently being developed (at time of writing June 2015). Find out more about Facebook At Work.
Consider the risks carefully and similarly consider introducing a social media network that is specifically designed for internal communications, which can still be cost-effective for smaller businesses – so read below for more information.
Internal social media tools for larger businesses
Many large corporations have bespoke internal social media networks created (for example, one at Nokia explored in this article: The Role of Social Media in Internal Communications – the article is also useful for addressing issues with use of personal social media).
Alternatively, you can harness the possibilities of social media with networks that you can bring into your business ready made and ready to go, normally with a price per user.
Have a read of Mashable’s article: 10 Enterprise Networks to Improve Company Communication
Hopefully this blog will have given you a good place to start when thinking about internal social media but also provided you with an idea of how it could help your recruitment. It may just be an internal communications exercise that your competitors haven’t yet considered, giving you the edge when it comes to hiring the very best candidates.
If you enjoyed reading this blog, you may also like Anne’s blog: 5 Tips to help you find Employees with Digital Skills