Organization name: FedEx
Industry: Air Courier Services, Shipping
Description of how social media is used for business performance
Remember when you were a kid seeing the “Employee of the Week” board at your local hardware store? Some stores (Costco, for one) still have them, but global companies require global “Employee of the Week” boards.
To this end, the FedEx Social Media Team created the #DeliveringThanks hashtag and the Purple Promise. (Note: FedEx employee communications and their use of social media to manage relationships is extensive; this is just one small example of their efforts to engage.)
On their company site, Facebook and Twitter, the organization highlights and publicizes stories of their employees going above and beyond the call of duty using the hashtag #DeliveringThanks.
Sometimes drivers, literally, save lives:
Kevin Butler was on his way to make a delivery when he saw a Bullmastiff stalking a 3-year-old girl, teeth bared and hackles raised. He stopped his van, ran between the girl and the dog and made himself as big as possible, waving his scanner and hat in the air, yelling as loud as he could. After a couple of minutes of distracting the dog, a man ran out of the house, scooped up the child, and ran back inside. Kevin had the dog’s full attention, but he was able to work his way back to the van and get safely inside.
Kevin resumed his route without a word to anyone. The girl’s grandfather called twice to express his family’s gratitude for saving his granddaughter from harm or death. Thank you Kevin, your actions and quick thinking meant so much to this family and to FedEx!#DeliveringThanks
Sometimes they just lending a helping shovel:
On FedEx’s Twitter feed, outsiders show their appreciation and FedEx thanks heroes outside the organization:
One of the best ways to engage a person is to acknowledge them, but it can be argued that employee acknowledgment such as described above is not the same as involving employees in the company’s workings. However, a major goal of direct employee participation is geared towards “increasing the performance of workers by increasing their commitment to the business” (Appelbaum et al, 2000). I would suggest that using social media to acknowledge an employee’s unique contribution globally—to their coworkers, family and friends—likely has the desired effect of improving employee retention, enhancing employee performance, and, ultimately, improving a business’ bottom line.
But perhaps there is an even more elevated outcome: If faced with a choice to be a hero (let’s assume when lives are at stake and mine isn’t, this question is moot)…and knowing that my hero-ness might be publicized to the entire organization, my Facebook world, and the millions who follow FedEx on Facebook and Twitter, might I be more likely to choose to make that extra effort for a customer, a stranger encountered on my delivery route, a neighbor? I suspect so.
On Open Forums
One downside of meeting customers where they live, is dealing with complaints, haters, and trolls. I scanned many of the hundreds of comments made on the #DeliveringThanks posts and found nary a hater. On the contrary, the ‘likes’ were in the thousands and the comments were almost all glowing:
“I’m convinced FedEx guys are just super heroes in disguise.”
“Yet another FedEx employee to the rescue. This is wonderful to hear.”
And from employees too:
I haven’t been at FedEx long, but the more people I meet, the more I love my job there. It truly is run well and by a wonderful group of employees. Great job, Steve! Not only in helping others, but in subsequently bolstering my faith in an excellent company to work for!
Granted, FedEx ranks high as a brand, and negative comments can be deleted.
Lessons for others
Employees love recognition, great acts deserve recognition, and social media allows global organizations to offer global recognition. Based on the comments from consumers and employees, the #DeliveringThanks campaign seems to be a win-win.
Submitted by: Debra L. Beck
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