When it comes to employee engagement, talent recruitment and brand advocacy, a lot of HR consultants and internal communication specialists propose using employee generated content (EGC) that can be shared not just with other employees, but also on their social networks. Using employee content is undoubtedly a great idea especially given the facts that employees are trusted more than executives and their network reach is higher, (see my previous blog post here giving you all the statistics) but the big question is what sort of content should this be - social feeds or curated stories?
Social feeds are just like Facebook feeds where users post status updates and other updates on their activity to a wall and other users can view, comment and like those status. Since these posts are short and in most cases non-moderated (they do not have to go through an approval process), employees can post something quickly and the information appears instantly for other users as well. For HR teams, it means less work as they don't have spend time to review or edit these posts nor do they have to create content themselves for their employees.
While this feature is easy to set up, there are some drawbacks with this approach.
- Since the information submitted is short and in most cases status updates of what employees are up to, they do not necessarily provide information that makes other employees productive or inspired.
- If HR has an objective to drive a certain culture (mission, vision) and a brand, you need consistent messaging which can't be achieved through these status updates that are not curated.
- Last but not least, while these social updates are initially interesting, people get disinterested especially if the updates and the information they are seeing is not meaningful or useful. This is similar to what happens on social media like Facebook - A study at Princeton University discovered that 61% of Facebook users had taken at least a week long break from the site at some stage - 21% were just too busy, 10% had lost interest and a further 10% believed it had simply become a waste of time.
Curated Employee Stories
Story-telling is nowadays becoming a key aspect in employee engagement where employees instead of submitting short updates, submit short stories related to their experience in the company, best practices or consumers they are interacting with. Most often these stories are in the form of video submissions. Once the stories are submitted HR administrators or Internal communication specialists can review the submitted content, edit as needed and then publish it back to segments of employees that might be interested in reading or watching. While employees may not post these stories as much as their social status updates, the stories are much more meaningful, educational and inspiring. Curating stories means more work for HR but they have several advantages:
- Employee stories are much more meaningful and inspiring for other employees in the company and especially, new talent that you want to recruit.
- Since HR curates and reviews this content, they can weave in their messaging along with the employee content making sure the content achieves their objectives in reinforcing the culture they are trying to build (mission, vision) and brand.
- Since the content does not get posted as much as social updates and given that they are more useful, other employees in the company will love reading and participating through comments and sharing - the fatigue is less.
- Last but not the least if HR introduces gamification with story-telling through rewards and recognition, the participation will go up drastically.
There are some great examples of how story telling can help with creating a company culture and brand advocacy. Read this post on how Wynn Resorts used the story-telling tactic and also how our clients like Smartwool are leveraging story-telling as well.
hubEngage offers both social feeds and story telling features. If you are interested, talk to us more to see how a mobile communication and engagement platform can help you with your internal communications.