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Boosting employee engagement during change with social media

Last week Greg discussed the addiction adults have with their mobile phones in his blog about video training and one of the main drivers contributing to this is social media. The statistics speak for themselves. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Company, 74 per cent of Canadians spend an average of three to four hours online per day with social media being the top activity. Facebook continues to lead the charge with a staggering 80% of Canadians on the platform. LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest round out the top five. With these numbers in mind, it’s of no surprise to find many companies leveraging these habits and social media for change management communications.

Change management communications is one of the most critical components of the change management process. Communications is essential in all phases of the change management process including awareness, engagement and reinforcement. To be effective, it’s been important for me to stay attuned with communications trends and to ensure that I am taking advantage of how people absorb their news and information – much of which is done through social media and mobile phones today.

While many companies are not using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for their communications needs, they are using many of the techniques and tools that have made these platforms so strong. A prime example is Yammer or Workplace, Facebook like platforms for enterprises. In my experience, Yammer has proven to be a very effective tool due to:

  1. Accessibility.  Employees can access these platforms at anytime and on any device making it easier than ever to share updates. 

  2. Provides an opportunity for two-way engagement between leaders and employees.  

  3. Ability for employees to provide real time updates and to post dynamic content like video.  

  4. Promotes collaboration with intuitive tools where employees can share ideas, update documents in real-time and connect with external vendors and consultants. 

  5. The metrics! Having this data is crucial in understanding what content is working and what’s not.  This is helpful when developing the communications plan. 

Leveraging such tools like Yammer and Facebook for change management communications is always a part of my change communications plan. I have found that employees enjoy being on these platforms to get news, not only from leaders, but from colleagues whom they trust very much. What’s more is these tools are very intuitive and operate almost identically to Facebook.

Another trend I am seeing and loving is gamification. Gamification works because it taps into one of our key motivators for employees, competition. At Harbinger, we are taking advantage of this motivation tool and the appetite employees have, to have fun and be rewarded through our training and employee contests. Most recently we challenged employees to test their knowledge about a change initiative through an online quiz and we also held a contest on training where they had a chance to win Apple ear pods. Both activities resulted in increased engagement and understanding of the change. In fact hundreds of hours of training were logged!

As a communicator, I am also a fan of the shift from communications professionals crafting messages to employee driven content. Social media provides employees and leaders with the ability to build their own brand presence. Having a strong brand presence enables people to strengthen relationships and connect with peers on interests and topics beyond work. I have worked with many leaders who have used social media to connect with employees in ways they have not been able to before – they can now share their feedback and engage in online discussions without being sent a meeting invite, or even being a part of that business or project. It’s also a great way for them to share a bit of their personality and allow employees to get to know who they are beyond their title.

Social media is also a great tool to use for recognition which is important, especially during change. Employees and leaders alike can recognize achievements or highlight key milestones in seconds. Better yet, this is shared across the entire network and invitesothers to join in on the recognitions. This is a great tool and an easy way to use to further drive engagement about the change.

I’m sure you will agree that there is so much chatter and information out there (I mean how many emails do you receive daily?!), making it more important than ever to ensure that the communications you are developing are impactful and grab attention within seconds. Having this in mind has really pushed me to become more concise, direct and transparent. It’s also encouraged me to test new mediums and be more playful with the tone and messaging.

Change is here to stay and if there’s anything I’ve learned since joining Harbinger, it’s that you must make sure you are ready to adapt and work with how employees are used to getting and retaining information through newer methods like social media. It’s certainly exciting times for this industry and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.



Siri Maldonado Director of Marketing & Communications Toronto



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