By Andrew Foote
When’s the last time you read your company newsletter?
The answer is probably: not in a long time – because there isn’t one. Instead, many forward-looking companies have turned to new media channels not just for communicating with customers, but also to talk to employees.
Blogs, social networking sites, wikis and a host of other community Web tools have gained massive popularity because of their ability to foster dialogue. Many companies, including IBM, McDonald’s and Nokia, have integrated these social formats into their internal communications programs. They are no longer talking “at” employees and telling them what’s news – they are communicating with them in an open format via internal blogs.
By opening up the doors, they are allowing employees at all levels to have a voice and participate in the larger discussion. The end result is a more engaged and interactive staff.
In addition to blogs, wikis – collaborative authoring sites where anyone can contribute, edit, or delete content – are being leveraged in the workplace. Many small to mid-size organizations are opting for wikis instead of company intranets to keep employees in the loop. Corporate intranets are often cumbersome to manage, whereas wikis (like blogs) are rather simple and user-friendly. They also enable bottom-up knowledge management by giving staff the ability to continuously update and improve workrelated content. Documents such as project calendars, collateral materials, and HR policies benefit from being posted to an internal wiki because they require regular updating from various teams.
Although leveraging social applications for internal communications is relatively new, the good news is that it’s fairly painless to implement from a cost, technology, and user standpoint. If you’re an executive or an HR manager, you should consider testing the concept of an internal blog as an employee communications platform. The software and the tools are available – it’s just a matter of making the jump!
Andrew Foote is an Account Supervisor at Peppercom, a strategic communications firm headquartered in New York with offices in San Francisco and London.
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