Improving employee engagement with workplace blogs

| September 10, 2010 | Comments

Weblogs or blogs have dramatically changed the landscape of the Internet. A blog is a one-to-many form of communication where the audience can comment upon the basic content and philosophy of the post.   The reverse chronological order of blog posts invite reader comment and dialogue.

Similarly, blogs within the enterprise are radically changing how information is communicated within the workplace.   Within the workplace, blogs can be used to encourage closer relations between employees and lines of management.   The unique journalling capability of blogs also serve as a corporate memory, capturing the knowledge and expertise of employees.   A blog can also be used as a platform for suggestion and comment between employees and management.  The conversational tone between employees and lines of management not only engages the participants, but also records comments and knowledge for improvement of processes or practices within the workplace.

Engage your employees first, customers second.

Improvements to IBM's Intranet led to improvements in employee engagement

Increasingly, companies are recognizing that employee engagement is fundamental for superior customer service and brand reinforcement.

The success of Zappos is a prime example of high employee engagement driving superior customer service.   Studies have found that engaged employees develop a strong emotional bond with the company and are more likely to:

  1. Proactively support a company’s goals and vision
  2. Believe that the company’s performance is linked to their own personal growth.
  3. Perform above expectations & go the ‘extra mile’
  4. Embrace challenges & problem solving
  5. Recommend the company’s products / services to family & friends.

IBM have found that their intranet is a powerful tool for driving employee engagement.  Within six years, their intranet has evolved from being ranked as the third most trusted source of information at IBM to the most trusted source of information within the company.  Consequentially,  IBM’s results also indicate that employees became more engaged with other sources of information as well.

Benefits of Internal Blogs

There are a number of benefits that have been identified by companies using internal blogs to engage and inspire their employees.  These benefits include:

  1. Replacing Email Discussions: Email has been described as ‘the place where all knowledge goes to die‘  Communication failures easily occur with interminable email trails  and the cc & bcc maze.   When a discussion occurs on an internal blog via commenting on a post, it is highly visible & encourages others to participate.
  2. Improved Information Dissemination: The visibility of internal blogs provide the capability of cutting across organisational division boundaries and layers, thereby improving the overall reach of accurate information.   IBM’s experience has proven that employees begin to regard Intranet information sources as more relevant than the ‘grapevine’.
  3. Better accessibility to information: Blogs are accessed via a browser allowing everyone to have access to the information.   There is no requirement for installing specific software to access the files or to convert files to more accessible versions.  Blogs that are published on Web Standards compliant platform also provide accessibility options for visually impaired employees.  Further, internal blogs can be spidered by internal search tools, ensuring the information can be easily found and retrieved.
  4. Improve communication with geographically dispersed staff: Improved information dissemination also offers advantages for staff located in different time zones or countries.  They have the ability to access the information at any time or they are notified via email that a new blog post has been published for their viewing and comment.
  5. Improved employee participation: Annual employee surveys and surveys in general tend to have a low response rate.  Internal blogs & micro-blogs provide employees with the opportunity to express their opinions on particular topics on a more frequent basis.  This also provides management with the opportunity to be more proactive rather then reactive with departmental or divisional strategies.
  6. Rapid & timely communication: The reverse chronological nature of blogs allow employees to access the most recent information about a project or from a Manager.  A blog’s timeline also allows employees to read or search past posts to rapidly get ‘up to speed’ with progress.
  7. Reduction in meetings: When information is dispersed frequently in a centralised location for a project or division, the need for meetings reduces.
  8. Collective Intelligence: Internal blogs are not one-way communication.  Blogs encourage two way communication where a person publishes information & others are encouraged to comment & discuss the content of the information.    This activity fosters collective intelligence.
  9. Encourages a sense of community: When all employees are encouraged to comment on published information within the workplace, it encourages a sense of community & fosters employee engagement.
  10. Quick & Efficient Implementation: From a technical perspective, internal blogs are easy and efficient to set up.

Case Studies

Case studies provide additional insight in how internal blogs have improved communications within the workplace & the challenges that need to be overcome to ensure success.

Access Andrew Blog :: Dow Chemicals.

Despite blogs being easy & quick to implement, an internal blog to motivate & engage employees requires strategy & preparation for success. The video below outlines the preparation required for a successful managerial blog within an enterprise.

In the Loop Blogs & Roving Reporter Video Blogs inspiring employees :: Mayo Clinic.

For six years, the Mayo Clinic has been ranked in Fortune 500’s best places to work. The clinic has been implementing social media for a number of years to engage and inspire employees. This video details the rationale behind their hybrid blog / internal newsletter – “In the Loop” and “Roving Reporter” that creatively communicates important strategic initiative information. This video highlights the importance of:

  • Encouraging employee feedback,
  • Mixing social media with traditional forms of communication to ensure uptake
  • Defining a social media strategy
  • Using humour to engage employees

Improving communications with Project MatchBox on Yammer ::  Deloitte

This video details how Deloitte have implemented Yammer, a micro blogging platform for the workplace.

:: Related Links ::

Intranet 2.0 increases employee engagement

Are all employees knowledge workers?

Three Failures of Internal Blogging

Blogging as management not marketing.

Engage & Inspire Employees First, Customers Second

Intranet 2.0 Case Study: Oce

BT 2.0 Case Study

Zappos, Nestle, Social Media & how all workers are knowledge workers.

Importance of Internal & External Collaboration

Internal blogs for teams

A company blog keeps people connected

Employee Engagement Starts with Building Employee Confidence

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Category: Intranets

About the Author ()

Teale Shapcott is a multidisciplinary User Experience expert passionate about making websites, software and intranets easy to use and engaging for people. Teale’s career has spanned 16 years of design experience moving from graphic / web design to user interface design to designing processes and customer experience for corporate intranets. Teale enjoys weaving together different disciplines and perspectives together to solve complex design problems. When she isn’t busy designing great experiences, Teale can be found, camera in hand, looking for beauty, inspiration and fresh perspectives.


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