Here are just a few things to think about as you manage your organization’s employee communication program. We’ll change this list and the topics it covers on a periodic basis, so keep checking!

Interested in starting an online idea sharing program? Things to think about

Don’t rush … pilot test. Easing into an online idea sharing program is frequently the best approach. Dell had several blogs in place before it implemented Employee Storm. Kraft Foods invited employees to comment on a new mission statement on a special site as a prelude to full blown social media use. Others tested programs on a department level or set-up employee test groups to provide valuable feedback before launch.

Prepare a well-thought-out, well communicated user policy … Ensure that your employees are familiar with the ground rules for posting and social media in general. That helps keep input constructive. A few businesses developed an instructional video or animated online demonstration of how to use their site and follow the policy.

Involve a wide range of employees in site development … Business leaders, department contacts, focus group participants, test group participants all should provide input on concepts and tools during the program’s development phase.

Link it to specific, focused business needs and goals … The reason you are spending the time on the project is to help the organization improve its performance and engage the workforce. Don’t lose sight of that goal. Focus the program on key business areas. Provide an avenue for leaders/teams to get problem-solving help quickly.

Create an effective governance, tracking and monitoring process … Provide a skilled resource to oversee and monitor the site, build a structure to track and categorize posts. Establish a process to re-reroute viable ideas you receive out to business contacts that are capable of effectively evaluating and implementing them.

Be transparent and responsive … Admit mistakes and respond quickly to comments and concerns. Follow-up is a critical success characteristic.

Give the program plenty of visibility and recognize achievers … Create a link to your idea sharing site from your intranet home page. Or, sneak preview a few active idea sharing discussions right on the home page to whet appetites (with link to the site)! Talk about implemented ideas in employee news channels. Have leaders recognize the people behind good ideas and report the positive impact they have made.

Benefits Communication

Have you considered establishment of a web site for Retirees? Retirees usually have lots of questions about their benefits and how to use them. With more and more retirees becoming web savvy every day, the timing is right to put pertinent benefit information up on the web for them to access. It’ll make them happy, and reduce the quantity of calls to your service center

In light of recent developments, 401(k)s are on the minds of a lot of Americans. Take advantage of the interest through implementation of a multi-media campaign to enhance employee understanding of how your plan works and what should be considered when making investment decisions. Discuss your story idea with your company legal team and/or 401(k) partner team upfront, and make sure you review your text with them before you release material to employees.

The manager’s role as communicator

Here’s some advice for managers in handling communication responsibilities. You may want to package these tips with some of your own and pass them out to managers in your organization.

Give clear, thorough work directions to employees. Make sure they understand what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured. Give regular, frequent performance feedback. The year-end performance review shouldn’t hold any surprises for the employee.

Connect with your employees – by meeting frequently with them on an individual basis to disseminate information and obtain feedback. Don’t be the distant boss that everyone is too scared to approach. You want employees to feel free to communicate openly with managers like you.

Hold regular group meetings with your team to discuss goals and exchange information and ideas. Communicate business developments, facts and policies as openly as possible; explain the rationale behind actions.

Be a good listener. Listen with an open mind and say thanks when employees pass along complaints from customers or clients. Welcome this feedback as an opportunity to make changes that could strengthen the organization.

Stay cool, calm and collected under pressure. Never be drawn into emotional battles.

Make direct eye contact and acknowledge people when you’re walking down the hall or sharing the elevator. Learn something about their personal background.

Offer praise. Send personal letters of appreciation to employees for special achievements, contributions to the company or outstanding work on a project.


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