Employers across the board are clear on the need to use their digital platforms to access and engage with customers, as well as potential employees. What is less clearly understood is the need to use those same platforms, give or take a few, to interact with present employees, driving company culture, loyalty and communication.

Driving Culture

“The brand we reflect out to the marketplace is a reflection of how we live internally,” said Lisa Buckingham and Jamie DePeau of Lincoln Financial at the i4cp 2015 Conference. This means that the content you put on your online platforms reinforces your employees’ sense of who you are as a brand, how you operate, and what you care about and stand for. Make good use of these platforms to help develop the corporate identity.

Driving loyalty

Social media is powerful in its inclusiveness, inviting others to comment, share, create, and so forth. The ‘lowliest’ employee is, in a sense, an equal on social media.

When employees see their brand, their work, their interests, on display on the web, it helps create the sense that they are ‘a part of something’ – something, if done right, that is bigger than they are on their own, that is robust, thriving and relevant. A sense of belonging and importance is key to employee loyalty.

Driving communication

In big corporates not everyone can have access to the boss or executives. Employees can often feel lost in the crowd, perhaps unheard, insignificant. Encourage employees to engage with the brand’s online platforms, as this offers them a further avenue of expression, engagement, of belonging and mattering. It offers them a further ‘voice’.

A litmus test

Here are three questions to help you start assessing your company’s current employee engagement with and attitude towards your digital platforms…

  1. What percentage of your employees are signed up to the company’s email newsletter, are following your Facebook page and Twitter handle, are connected with the brand on LinkedIn, and so on? (You could then break the analysis down according to department, gender, and so forth, for the sake of honing your strategy moving forward.)
  2. Do employees regularly interact with the brand on its social media platforms? (For example, commenting on or favouriting tweets)?
  3. Do employees share company-branded content or news with their own online networks?

The way to lead employees in the C21st

Charlene Li, best-selling author of The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation, calls the use of digital platforms to foster better relationships with employees “open leadership”.

Online platforms should be seen by management as another, and important, avenue for leadership. Employees rise and fall according to the leadership they receive, so the warning here is for executives to not neglect this growing sphere of leadership in the modern corporate environment.