All companies have a very important and vast social network which are the Employees who work for the company. They are typically activated to varying degrees of success by social networking platforms such as Yammer, Slack, Facebook for Work, LinkedIn, Igloo, Jive, and many others.
The HR Departments need to view themselves as the custodians, mobilizers, engagers, and enablers of this social media community. To do this, HR Departments need to create a new role(s) called the Employee Engagement Leader or the Employee Community Manager.
So, what would this role really do?
Listen to your employees
The most significant initiatives in the company typically are event driven — an awesome one way communication plan is locked and loaded, training department has a great training plan, a website that will soon not be maintained, leader announcements, and all the brouhaha. After this massive one way push, the support desk is the only one hearing to grievances. If it is a cultural initiative, some obscure dashboard that really do not capture the real employee conversations go up the chain.
Now expand that to the systems, processes, policies, pulse surveys, polls, and anything else in your company. The best way you find about it is by asking someone or posing a question on the social media platform. It is important for HR to learn about the sales platform that is making life miserable for the field sales employee or think about people trying to find that missing policy again and again or people calling into Help Desk with same issues again and again.
In not being where most people are congregating, HR is basically missing the qualitative employee experience intelligence that is so important to make a real difference that is often absent from an Employee Experience Leaders’ radar or responsibilities.
The Employee Engagement Leader is like a social media market intelligence listener. Just like your company has a “command center” for social media conversations and looks at trends, sentiments, conversations, hash tags, keywords, influencers, and others — HR departments like companies have social media monitors that look through sentiments, conversation hash tags, and others. They even conduct your typical pulse surveys, formal and informal polls. Their fundamental role is LISTEN.
Engage with your employees
The Employee Engagement Leader converts the event driven communications to a continuous one. Engaging is a content, conversation, and community game. It is owned by so many people that no one actually is accountable for it. This individual can engage with the employees through interesting content from the learning and development (L&D) team.
The Employee Engagement Leader shapes the conversations (yes) by posting leadership lessons every day to focused but longer content campaigns around specific topics, facilitate social media conversations, build communities of interests, topics, passions, and meet ups. They would also be the ones running the employee interviews, surveys, and design thinking sessions.
Their engagement could vary from something as simple as creating a community for all new relocating employees to residents in a locality to alums of a program, passion, experts, company, and a lot more.
This engagement leader role is to constantly think about rallying the employees to engage back with the company. This individual is also like that self-made YouTube star, Instagram star who can rake up humungous follower ship or that quintessential blogger who your employees can follow every day. They also need to establish an Influencer strategy — get your leaders or key experts out there to connect with the employees.
Grow the business
By nature, building or activating a social media community takes time. It started as becoming famous by chance but is now changing to a science. In the long-term, the Employee Engagement Leader can turn this into a business value.
First and foremost, the Chief People Officer begin to receive a dashboard that mimics a typical social media intelligence board and prioritize HR initiatives accordingly. The Chief People Officer also needs to see which content is resonating “where and how”. For example, if a certain region is responding well to stress management that is something to look into immediately.
Then there is that most important business initiative wherein you are looking for bright minds. The communities and conversations provide a way to at least identify the “best” for the role that can then be triangulated with other HR data to pick the best talent.
Last but not the least, by being that focal point of engagement can truly shape the right conversations within your company.
So Why Wait — Draft that Job Description Right Now and Hire…
Before you discard this post — pause and think. The communities have overturned long standing political systems and self-mobilized in calamities when the Government systems have failed. They have turned no-ones to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube stars that you personally and diligently follow every day. Large companies like Uber, Airbnb have come to prominence by simply connecting social networks around an opportunity.
The Employee Engagement Leader role can certainly make a difference. You just need to find a skillset that is at the intersection of Social Media, Communication, Education, and Marketing, believe in the vision, and support it to fruition.
So, what are you waiting for? Start hiring now! #gameon.
Originally published at whizzy.io on January 14, 2017.
Mani Gopalakrishnan (Mani G) is an Intrapreneur@heart. Based in Chicago, IL — Mani brings his expertise in digital, technology, people, education, and business strategy to innovate or solve the most complex problems for businesses.
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