Where you work is, in a way, a reflection of you the employee. After all, the whole package is attractive enough for you to stay put. So why won’t you recommend the place to your friends?
Let’s say you do tell one of your friends about an opening. They come in for an interview, everything works out and some time later, lo and behold, your friend is now working right beside you. Unfortunately, though, the ugly, inner side to the company is beginning to show itself. Perhaps your friend can’t put his or her finger on it quite yet, but odd things appear to be happening. You know it all to well, and it’s at this point the embarrassment sets in. OK, it’s a messed up place, you tell your friend.
Let’s talk a bit about how internal communication is not merely a supplement to email and slide presentations but has, in fact, more in common with Social Media than it does with either email or slide show presentations.
Internal Communication: The Great Sanitizer
People often tell me about how they “have internal communication covered”. They tell me about how “Jimmy in accounting is a whiz in PowerPoint,” and their email system is “just fine, thanks”, so they don’t need to bother themselves with any new-fangled internal communication solution.
The problem is, email is often the cause of bad communication, not a solution to it. Email is great at drawing attention to a problem on an exception-to-the-process basis, but it’s usually terrible at solving problems. There are several reasons for that, but mostly, it’s because email is interrupt-driven.
One of the great subtle attractions of products like Facebook and Twitter is that they allow you to manage your own intake of information. While people might have entertained each other via email a decade or so ago, sending out jokes and other noteworthy material to their own list of recipients, social media allows a community member to filter out communications from people or sources they’d prefer not to hear from. You might have five hundred Facebook “friends”, but you might only allow posts from five of them into your newsfeed.
If email and slide shows were a form of force feeding, then an internal communications system is analogous to à la carte eating. You absorb only the information you want or need to do your job.
The cultural shift away from email force-feeding and towards an employee self-empowered solution is what the best and the brightest employment candidates expect to see in your company. As each year passes, employees are drawn more towards that à la carte model. It’s happening in social media; it’s happening in television broadcasting; it’s happening inside your company. The only question remains, are you ahead of this curve or behind it.
Those companies who are ahead of this curve offer a more attractive place to work. If you are among them, your own employees are more likely to be your best recruiters. That reduces your costs of finding new employees.