To begin, internal communication practitioners can make quick hits by solving employees’ basic issues of information overload and personalization. But for larger success, internal buy-in from senior leadership on the benefits (which are many – accountability, transparency, trust, engagement) and measurements of the medium is critical. Practitioners keen to arrive at a concrete new media plan for internal communications can show results with easy to manage tools and applications. Below are some starter-kit recommendations.
- Many heads better than one: Can you wiki your internal documentation? With this new collaboration tool, you will witness a new found passion for sharing and integration among your employees.
- Leveraging internal expertise: Each employee has unique talents and expertise and you can help harness it for the organization. By connecting experts and channeling a discussion, the time for information access is reduced dramatically. They say we are separated from each other by six degrees of separation. Make those six degrees closer than your employees can think.
- Constant beta-testing with your best critics: How often have you wished you got critical feedback to improve your products and services and did not know whom to turn to? Test it on your employees and you will be amazed at the power of insight which comes from them. Today, organizations believe in the power of crowds to fine-tune mission critical applications meant for mass markets. Good examples are Google and Yahoo.
- The power of citizen journalism: With new media, the press is no longer the one who creates or brings news first. It can be your employee who blogs, is on social networking sites and listens to podcasts and has an opinion. Are you aware of where your employees are? Research has shown that a large chunk of their time in office as well is spent on networking sites and gathering content. There is a boom in social networking sites not just abroad but also in India. With international social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut, MySpace becoming a part of the daily routine for the 38.5 million Internet users in India, the Indian social networking sites have a tough ask. Reliance ADA group’s Bigadda.com, Yaari.com, portal Ibobo.com, Fropper.com and many others are ready for battle. The Internet user base is estimated to grow to 100 million by 2007-08, according to Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). It is estimated that 10 per cent of the present Internet audience is active on social networking portals, which is close to 4 million users today. Therefore, can you make your employees advocates of your brand by understanding their needs?
- Monitor the web: Search Technorati and other leading Internet think-tanks for subjects and mentions of your organization. Identify the appropriate channels and share the internal strategy with stakeholders
- Build policies: Institute policies for electronic media usage before the media overruns your organization. It can be a good idea to wiki the policies – IBM arrived at their policies with the help of employees.
- Start a conversation: Replace e-mail with an internal blog and get the conversation started. Engage communities of practice on the intranet and offline. Wiki your intranet pages as test case. Make employees accountable for content Have measurement mechanisms like page rating and popular expert pages.