In our recent webinar about creating digital employee communities, CareerBuilder HR team members Brandi Frattini and Kristin McDonald discussed overcoming the obstacles that physical distancing creates for employees and the inspiring ways technology is making virtual teams more human. After Brandi and Kristin shared the CareerBuilder strategy and additional insights, the audience asked questions – here are the highlights.
Many people are talking about how working from home is going to be the new normal – do you agree?
Brandi Frattini: I can dive into that one. Even prior to COVID, we were seeing an increase in the amount of roles and companies going totally remote or at least having that flexible workspace policy. So, we were already trending towards this at a lot of places.
But this pandemic has really shown us a couple things. One, yes, more companies and industries will be more receptive and will be more prepared if they need to be remote, or maybe they realize wow, that worked really well for us and want to keep this going.
But, I think we're also going to see groups of employees that were thinking, wow, I hate being remote. I never want to be remote. Again, I can't wait to get back to the office and be with my coworkers face to face. I think we're going to see two different sides come out of this.
So what's the difference between Slack, Microsoft Teams and the internal social network?
Kristin McDonald: That's a really good question. As you know, Slack and Teams we really use primarily with your own teams and your work stream. So with an internal social network that we were talking about, you're really creating more of a social media site like Instagram or Facebook. So when you're seeing photos, it’s people's pets, their kids, and just the way that they're working from home.
It has a bigger impact and creates more of a casual vibe, as well as a great way to keep that human aspect there. It could create a place that shows life and how you can connect in a way you really can't write.
Did you worry at all about employees posting their own content and what they would say on their on your internal social network?
Kristin McDonald: Yeah, of course. It's always a concern. But, you know, we kind of knew from the beginning that implementing a community like this, we would have to trust our employees.
Yes, we can moderate the content to make sure it kind of fits our “good citizen” guidelines but really, in order for employees to feel comfortable enough on the platform and be able to share, we had to just trust them. To be quite honest, we've had no issues which, again, goes back to our employees and why the platform like this really resonates with them – it’s their internal network. So, it's a concern, but we just had to trust them, and it works.
Can employees share these stories on other networks?
Kristin McDonald: I know we didn't really touch upon that, but yeah, that's actually one of the really great components of this platform that we're using. Employees can share their stories to their networks, on Facebook, WhatsApp, email – so many different places. And it's really been a great way to share culture in a very authentic way, which we all know is very big. We've seen so much traction on that and on our brand awareness that's been amazing.
How do I motivate more employees to participate?
Brandi Frattini: Our committee found brand ambassadors around the company that were already really active on other platforms, pulled them together and had them kind talk to their department and say, like, hey, have you downloaded this yet, or did you see the contest we're running.
We do send newsletters, and just as a reminder, we send instructions so our new newly added employees aren't missing out. We're constantly sharing and re-sharing, so they don't forget to download it. We talked about it in new hire orientation. So we really show this network from the start and how important it is and how fun it is. We also do competitions – that’s one gamification that employees can get on there and compete with each other.
One of the best things we see is that people highlight each other. We do a Feature Friday and our team will highlight an employee, but then other employees can't wait to share it out and be like, I love working with this person. It really happened organically that people are just excited to share and highlight each other and get involved.
Not everyone has IT resources such as a desktop, laptop, WiFi connection. How can we include such employees and make them feel part of the organization in this time?
Kristin McDonald: If they don't have a desktop or a laptop, maybe through mobile?
Brandi Frattini: I'm thinking about, does the company already have, social pages like a Facebook page or an Instagram page. Is there may be an email that could go out or a text push, you know any type of communication that the company can put out there just to stay in touch.
But yeah, if they are already utilizing the company Facebook page, can they do a post or create a group? You can create groups for employees to join as well. So that could be something to think about that they can do through an app on their phone.