August 25, 2017


Employee engagement has become the holy grail of internal communications with less than a third of workers describing themselves as engaged in their jobs. 

Our workforce is changing, along with how people communicate. In 2020, 50 percent of employees will be millennials raised in a social landscape. At the PRSA Employee Communications Connect 17 Conference, insights on the use of social tools for internal communication were shared and three key takeaways stood out: 

  1. Social takes trust. Internal communications social tools like Workplace by Facebook help build workplace communities, but users warn these tools require employees to trust leaders, and leaders to tolerate transparency. According to Nolan Carleton, who leads A&T’s Internal Social Engagement, AT&T took five years to develop the trust and skills needed to move into meaningful use of internal social media. See #ATTemployees on Twitter for examples of how employees now engage internally with their teams.

  2. Cut the mission mush. A clear, simple mission statement gives employees something to fight for (and talk about on social). According to internal communications manager John Twombly, St. Louis Children’s Hospital moved from “Dedicated to serving the health care needs of…” to “Doing what’s right for kids.” That’s it, and all under 140 characters. Then, the Hospital focused their employee engagement program and an external campaign around this mission. 

  3. Act like a news room. Several presenters reminded internal communicators to keep it short, stick to top news, and sprinkle in human interest stories (and the occasional click bait) to catch attention. As a community news source, the most-read stories are about employees. Ideally with social platforms, many stories will come organically from other workers. Rich storytelling takes multimedia channels—from video to podcasts to posts from the field. Try out different methods and analyze which solutions work best for your organization.

What lessons are you learning on your employee engagement journey?  Tweet us at @JayRayAdsPR.