Clarity is “the cake” when communicating to employees about health care, wellness and benefits. But many workers (especially younger ones) are more likely to engage with messages if they also get some “icing.” Social-media tools can help you captivate employees before you inform them.
Most companies communicate to employees (emails from the HR department, meetings led by a manager, etc.), but a growing number of firms are using tools to communicate with them. Their main thought: Communication should be a two-way street, and discussion yields knowledge.
Social-media technology can be the conduit of that knowledge. They make for richer interactions, adding a dimension to your messages that extends beyond plain text.
7 Examples of How Social Media Can Help You
1) Listening tools and podcasts let managers reach employees 24/7, and gain consistent feedback about health care programs. Check out: Mentionlytics.
2) Blogging enables conversational communication about health care plans and other information.
3) Internet message boards and social conversation tools allow employees to share wellness ideas with each other, provide feedback on doctors, etc. Check out: Twitter.
4) Wikis let employees post thoughts, ask questions and respond to co-worker comments using a shared tool that can be updated frequently.
5) Shared-document tools help HR and benefits leaders collaborate on project plans, status reports, meeting minutes and other projects. Check out: Cliq.
6) Video hosting enables organizations to post video tutorials employees can reference. Check out: Vimeo.
7) Instant messaging and “live help” tools provide a way for employees to ask quick questions that can be answered immediately. Check out: Slack.
Before You Get Started…
Lee Erickson, co-founder and president of Erickson Barnett, a technology marketing firm in Reston, Va., suggests these questions to ask when assessing your company’s readiness to incorporate social media:
1) Who inside the organization is leveraging or participating in social media already? Those folks, plus people already producing content for your company (white papers, seminars, training, etc.), are best suited to develop a social media strategy.
2) Is there a repository of content from which you can pull or expand? Determine what content is available, and your plans for generating new content. Identify upcoming events or speaking engagements that can be used to capture material.
3) Is it easy to create and distribute content in general at your organization? Social media is fast-paced, so if you often face multiple levels of approval, consider how you can streamline the process.
4) Is management willing to dedicate a point person or budget dollars to this initiative?
If not, start monitoring conversations and feeding them insightful information. If you can show them how you can tap into employees’ needs and provide examples of useful conversations, you may begin to help them see the relevance of social media to your communication strategy.
• Google “social media” to gain a better understanding of new communication technology.
• Determine which tools might work best for your employees. Start by checking out the links in this story.
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