Tips for Leaders Engaging With Employees

|   Jul 8, 2015

As the community manager for a large enterprise social network (ESN) for a Fortune 100 company, it thrills me when leaders are interested in how they can use our internal network better in their role as leaders. Over the last few years at Humana, we have seen consistent growth in leader involvement in our Socialcast network called Buzz. It makes a difference that our President and CEO Bruce Broussard leads by example and is a very strong supporter of using such tools to accomplish the objectives of the business. He understands that being a social business internally helps align the company’s more than 50,000 employees toward a common goal, living common values.

I was invited a while back to speak to a group of leaders at Humana about how they might better use Buzz. I boiled down my suggestions to a single page using the letters in the word “LEADER” to identify major ways leaders can use Buzz to more effectively lead. For each letter, I added three specific ideas or suggestions for guidance.

BuzzTipsForLeaders

The main categories assigned to each letter were:

L – listen

E – encourage

A – ask/answer questions

D – distribute info

E – engage

R – reward

Here are a few specific suggestions in each of the above categories for how you can be an effective, socially savvy leader for your employees using your Socialcast network:

LISTEN

  1. Browse groups of interest and relevant discussion streams to check the pulse of employees on various topics.
  2. Approach the platform as a place where you can learn from the wisdom of others.
  3. Create a group (private if necessary) just for your team for easy, ongoing conversation about topics of interest, both business-related and non-business.

ENCOURAGE

  1. Give an occasional genuine “attaboy” or “attagirl” because they go a long way.
  2. Use public mentions frequently to individuals and groups, properly tagging the individual or group name.
  3. Send private messages to individuals or groups as needed.

ASK & ANSWER QUESTIONS

  1. Use the Town Hall feature for dated/timed events that include open Q&A.
  2. Be transparent and honest in answering questions.
  3. Answer questions quickly – the day they are asked if at all possible.

DISTRIBUTE INFO

  1. Keep employees informed about things coming up.
  2. Pass along information from higher up in the org chart to keep everyone on the same page.
  3. Share documents for collaboration as well as links to helpful articles, books, etc.

ENGAGE

  1. Use the Challenge feature to solicit ideas for innovation in support of the business’s values and objectives and to assist with your team’s goals.
  2. Take part in specific groups that may exist for leaders as well as the most relevant groups for your goals and interests.
  3. Post opinion polls.

REWARD

  1. Use features such as Thanks badges to acknowledge, praise, thank, and recognize others.
  2. Publicly recognize successes and accomplishments of individuals and teams.
  3. Know what motivates those who report to you and vary how you recognize members of your team according to their preferences.

The above list isn’t intended to be exhaustive, but suggestive of ways to get started using your Socialcast environment successfully as a leader. ESNs provide companies with untold possibilities for sharing knowledge, sparking innovation, improving communications, mutual encouragement, developing relationships, improving processes, improving productivity and so much more. Leader participation is a vital part of making sure the potential of the platform is met.

Be a leader and use your company’s ESN in the above ways. Gather your team together and figure out as a group how you can improve processes, communication, relationships and effectiveness via your internal social platform. Think about your company’s major goals and business objectives and come up with an engagement plan that demonstrates your commitment as a leader to use social technology to engage with your people for the good of both the business and your employees. And if your company doesn’t have an enterprise social network yet, be even more of a leader by starting the process of establishing one.

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What is Socialcast?

Socialcast by VMware (NYSE: VMW) is a social network for business uniting people, information, and applications with its real-time enterprise activity stream engine. Behind the firewall or in the cloud, Socialcast enables instant collaboration in a secure environment. Socialcast is headquartered in San Francisco, California. www.socialcast.com