Employee Involvement

Involving employees more effectively in your organization can significantly increase their motivation and contribute directly to your organizational performance. By better informing employees about changes that are happening in the organization and enabling them to express their concerns and contribute their ideas, change can be better planned, proceed more smoothly and yield results more quickly.

Better organizational participation can improve processes and morale, and contribute to a more innovative and energized corporate culture. Social media is being applied in many organizations to do this now.

We live in a world where we can buy anything, at any time, from anywhere. When you’re sleeping in Canada, your order could be processed in Australia, Africa or Hawaii. Isn’t it great? Thanks to globalization, “the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale,” it has allowed companies to expand into different countries and create jobs for local people. But with growth and opportunity, comes the need for quick, simple and translatable communication. Que social media. Nowadays, the majority of the population has a smartphone and is always connected. Dialogue and networking have also evolved and taken on a new way companies do business and communicate. The need to have instant information at our fingertips is at an all time high and the expectation to respond, share or view something has become a 24-hour, 7 days-a-week responsibility. via GIPHY This is where social media has delivered. It has transformed how we communicate, broken traditional communication channels, and given companies the power to be creative with what they need to say and to whom.

When we think of social media, we often envision the curved necks, hunched shoulders and bent elbows of mobile phone users. These active, engaged audiences are liking, following, tweeting, and pinning their way through the day with ease. Social media provides incredible opportunities to create engaged communities. And companies are increasingly considering how to leverage these technologies to strengthen, widen and deepen their reach among a key stakeholder group: their own employees. Would it be possible for employees to feel as engaged using social media at their place of work as they do on their mobile devices during leisure time? If so, how can companies develop a robust, successful employee involvement strategy around social media; the kind of strategy that could be a game-changer when it comes to reaching the highest heights of internal collaboration and external recruitment? Exchange Solutions, a software solutions company  in Massachusetts and Toronto, has discovered some novel ways to promote the use of social media and technology tools to improve talent attraction, and increase collaboration across their organization.

A communication revolution is sweeping over the workplace as it begins to dawn on company stakeholders that the personal benefits of social media communication could be bolstered in the corporate setting. If using social media for internal business communications sounds like a conflict of concepts, then this blog might change your mind… or not. A few mind-boggling stats: According to SEC filing, for the first time, Facebook’s U.S. ad revenue will be larger than the biggest traditional media companies trailing only behind Google. Updated May 8, 2017 Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users for March 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 18 percent increase year over year. There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year 28 billion people log onto Facebook daily active users (Facebook DAU) for first Quarter of 2017, which represents a 18% increase year over There are 1.74 billion mobile active users (Mobile Facebook MAU) for December 2016 which is an increase of 21% year-over-year On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily. Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. Five new profiles are created every second.. Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded.(Source: The Social 75 billion pieces of content shared daily as of May 2013 which is a 94 percent increase from August 2012.(Source: Facebook) 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up. One in five page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. 16 Million local business pages have been created as of May 2013 which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012.    

Nowadays, social media is part of our daily life. People want to share their everyday experiences with others: they study and work in different cities, they fall in love and relocate to different countries, traveling becomes the normality for leisure and for business, a quiet month in your hometown is an exception. Social media allows us to stay connected with our families and friends; it allows to share our experiences, no matter where we are. Social media also serves as a platform for new opportunities. Businesses advertise new positions and promote their products, employees of the companies re-post and share information with their peers. The best insights for the business of an organization are gained from the inside of that very same organization. Many companies understand this and try to use social media to tap this potential. For global companies with different offices around the world, social media is also an opportunity to connect and engage with current employees. Booking.com is one such international company that uses public Social Media in different ways: it (1) engages with current and future employees by posting the latest news about the company, (2) promotes new positions, (3) engages current employees to share their experiences about the roles, the cities they live and work in, and their experience of relocating to a different country or a new city for a new position, (4) share their passion for traveling.

Tone It Up was started by Katrina Dawn and Karena Scott with a $3,000 start-up investment in 2009 (Lepore, 2017). They began by self-shooting and editing beach workout videos targeted to women, that they put on YouTube. Fast-forward to 2017, Tone It Up is a multi-billion dollar fitness/nutrition/lifestyle company, boasting a community of over 5 million women (Lepore, 2017). What is in the secret sauce for their success? Tone It Up has tapped into one of the most successful tactics to propel businesses in this highly social and digital age – engagement.

Budget Marine is the Caribbean’s leading marine chandlery, specializing in equipment sales and service.  Headquartered in St. Maarten, Budget Marine has a firm retail footprint throughout the Leeward, Windward & ABC islands.  Budget Marine supplies all types of boats: sail, power, fishing, and megayachts.  Budget Marine is also keenly committed to promoting the sport of boating through their involvement in events and youth sailing programmes on many islands.

Bell Canada is Canada’s largest communications company, providing telecommunication services and solutions to consumers, businesses and government customers.  Services provided include wireless, Internet, TV, Home Phone and broad band communications. Bell Canada is one of the main assets of the conglomerate BCE Bell Canada Enterprises. In 2010, Bell Canada, launched its first annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness for Mental Health.  The goal of this campaign was to begin a new conversation about mental illness at a time where it was not talked about. Millions of Canadians, celebrities and athletes began to engage in the conversation, discussing their experiences and offering support and hope for those struggling. Leading personalities of this cause include Clara Hughes, Howie Mandel and Michael Landsberg just to name a few.  In addition to the conversation, Bell Canada has also made a pledge to invest an unprecedented $50 million in this multi-year campaign. What makes this initiative stand apart from other campaigns is its use of social media.  In 2017, Bell Let’s Talk day was on January 25.  Bell Canada committed to contribute 5 cents towards mental health programs for each of these interactions on Bell Let’s Talk day at no extra charge to participants. Every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell Canada customers Twitter: Every tweet using #BellLetsTalk Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook.com/BellletsTalk Instagram: Every Post using #Bell Let’s talk geofilter. The hashtag the #BellLetsTalk was in Twitter’s annual top 10 list. To date the campaign has been very successful with 729,065,654 interactions and Bell Canada committing $6,585,250 to mental health in 2017.

Hicham Abu Baker, A Jordanian guy who has visited more than 15 countries in Europe, Africa, and East Asia, touring local coffee roasters and houses and spending hundreds of hours tasting specialty coffees and experiencing different coffee cultures. Then he decided to establish a state of art specialty coffee roasters  in Jordan, that competes with international brands. His roaster is one of a kind, proudly 100% made with passion in Jordan.

Sephora has made a global presence in the last few decades in the cosmetic industry. Founded in France 1970, by Dominique Mandonnaud, which was then sold to LVMH in 1997. The company had quickly evolved with retail stores expansions and a wider variety of products. Sephora offers a large range of products such as fragrance, makeup, skincare, hair products, and accessories. In the last few years Sephora has taken a massive transition into digital retailing as the company uses social media as a main platform to expand the brand.

  Everybody knows of their community newspapers, but few know that these community newspapers are owned, operated and published in Ontario by Metroland Media. It’s a surprise that Metroland Media is not a common household name, having most of Ontario’s community media market share. In fact many people refer to their community newspapers by the name on the front page, but behind it all, is Metroland Media. Metroland Media Group has gone through many stages of ownership and various titles, but has since been remained Metroland Media Group after the 2006 merge of Metroland Publishing and City Media Group. Torstar, originally The Toronto Star, owns and operates Metroland Media Group, Star Media Group and has a diverse and developing portfolio of operations mainly across Canada, as well as other sectors around the world.

Social media has been helping many companies drive improved performance to their bottom line. Now, in a world where companies are in hyper-growth, employers are focusing on driving higher performance & engagement from their employees with the use of social media and it’s having positive effects such as giving employees purpose and a space for finding like-minded people, faster innovation sharing ideas, and improved communication to employees. At FlashStock, social media helps drive higher engagement and participation from employees which enable them to be more connected through virtual based channels, share information through virtual bulletin boards, and to quickly collaborate on ideas and obstacles. When asked about the benefits that social media has brought FlashStock  Brett Mellon, COO, said that “the beauty of social media is the timeliness and efficiency that it brings teams. Traditionally lots of information was researched in order to uncover areas that needed improvement. Now the organization is connected and it is easier to see the response from employees and pivot because that is what happens in high growth companies.”  

Tripcentral.ca started as a one store operation in Hamilton, Ontario back in 1989. It has maintained that intimate, family dynamic over the years even though they now employ over 120 people with agents in 25 locations across Central and Eastern Canada.

A few years ago, the use of social media by company employees was at times prohibited and/or seen as a drawback to productivity. However, the dawn of a new era has come where handheld devices have become the new word of mouth and a prominent resource for organisations. Thus, social media advocacy is the topic of discussion in today. Various types of Institutions are finding ways to accomplish marketing efficiently by marshalling their internal teams to act as social media advocates.

“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within them.” — Dr. Bob Nelson, Employee Engagement Expert (http://www.egroupengage.com/blog/social-media-to-increase-employee-engagement) It’s no secret – the Vega team is definitely lit from within.  With a strong set of internal values and a workforce that lives and breathes those values, it is unsurprising that Vega was named one of the Best Workplaces in Canada for six years running and this year nabbed the prestigious title of #1 Best Workplace in Canada 2017.  How does an organization like Vega secure its place at the top?  It starts with a connected community of likeminded people.

Sheridan College is in the education business, an Ontario College that educates some 22,000 full time students each year, across five faculties and 4 research institutes, located on 4 campuses, situated just west of the greater Toronto area. Sheridan employs in excess of 3,400 employees.  One of these faculties, and the subject of this study, FAAD (Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design) is most notable for its academy award winners and Tony award nominees (“Come from Away” 2017) offers 32 programs in communications-media-journalism, animation, design music theater and fine arts craft programs. With such a diverse offering of artistic educational programs, the College generally and FAAD specifically, employs numerous social media platforms to speak internally to its faculty, staff and students, to keep them apprised of operations, and externally to the world at large, telling of its goals, educational offerings, innovation opportunities and continuing successes. Sheridan is presently in the process of redesigning its mandate. An Academic action plan setting out 5 year goals is presently being discussed and considered by the various community members. The short story here is as follows. Building on its core business of attracting students to its myriad of academic offerings, Sheridan will re-brand itself into a polytechnic mode, establishing broad philosophical standards while committing to supporting increased scholarship, research and creative activities among the academic group at the institution. Social media should play a large role in establishing and communicating this important on-going process at Sheridan.  

Background Parmalat is one of the largest food companies in Canada with $2.2 billion annual revenues. The company is a marketer of such popular retail brands as Black Diamond cheese, Ficello Cheese Strings, Astro Yogurt, Lactancia Milk & Butter and Balderson cheese. The company has a large and diverse work force of 2,900 people, operating a large corporate office in Toronto, 2 major sales offices in Calgary and Montreal and 16 manufacturing plants across Canada. Challenge Given the scale and complexity of its work force, Parmalat Canada has been searching for effective ways of promoting company’s values and increasing employee engagement across many branches with their unique geography, organizational culture and regional dynamics. This challenge is especially magnified by the company’s work force composition – only about 30% of work force is full-time employees working in main offices or plants, whereas 70% of workers are part-time hourly workers at various plants. The HR Department has turned to Social Media to increase employees engagement. The idea was to encourage company’s employees to share new ideas on  improve various aspects of company’s operations ranging from work processes, life balance, health & safety and even new product ideas. Social Media Solution The choice of social media tools that will allow for maximum participation in the initiative was difficult one. The company’s digital culture has been defined by work force average age (40+), and a long practice of using IBM Lotus Notes as a major source of all inter-company communication. As such, the HR department has opted for finding new ways of using existing technologies, expanding their ability to function as social media tool as opposed to creating new social spaces on Intranet or developing dedicated digital applications modeled after popular applications like Facebook, My Space etc. Towards that end, the corporate Lotus Notes was re-designed to give birth to a large digital project called “Parmalat’s New Ideas” that allowed employees to integrate social media functions with their regular activities on the Intranet.  The new platform provided capabilities to share and discuss ideas on various topics and select the best ideas by employees voting (15 votes required to put the idea for the Senior Management consideration). Real Life Roll-out/Early Wins In 2015, the Communication Manager, Ambra Sultzbaugh , led the roll-out of this initiative to employees in a series of in-person meetings across different regions. Since then, the program has significantly exceeded initial expectations… Read more »

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the world’s leading museums in regard to natural history and world cultures. Given this fact, one might assume that an institution such as The ROM would want to keep it’s knowledge within it’s walls; however that is not the case. The ROM is arguably one of the most social and tech savvy learning institutions in the country. This is due by and large to their philosophy on social media and their social media coordinating team. Through online communication, The ROM hopes to build strong community connections and encourages individuals to engage in conversations and debates with their experts and employees directly.

Connecting with others is one of the cornerstones of the Weight Watchers philosophy.  It all started in founder Jean Nidetch’s living room in the early 1960’s.  Since then the company’s program and philosophy around how people connect has evolved keeping them not only relevant but also  making them a social media powerhouse. The company today has created a social media frenzy empowering it’s members to share their weight loss journey not only on traditional social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube but also on their own social media within their own app on a forum called Connect.  The true genius behind this is that Weight Watchers employees are also plan members.  What it creates is a level of excitement, accountability and transparency that you can’t bottle but most of their industry counterparts would love to recreate.

If you rewind seven or eight years ago, many organizations prohibited employees from accessing social websites on company computers viewing this new trend as a distraction and risk to business. However, the rise of smartphones made it nearly impossible to block the use entirely. Fast-forward to today and you’ll notice times have changed as to how social media is perceived in the business world. Instead of frowning upon sharing thoughts and ideas digitally, businesses now invest in social media tools for internal use. After all, the benefits of having a highly engaged workforce far outweighs the risk. EY (formerly Ernst and Young) is one of the largest professional services firm in the world and specializes in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. EY is progressive in their approach to leveraging the power of social media to drive employee engagement. They have published performance reports such as Change 3.0: Using Social Media to Engage Your Workforce that discusses their research and the benefits of going social in the workplace. Currently with over 230,000 employees in over 150 countries, as well as an increasing number of Millennial employees joining the team, social media is a key part to building positive culture, engaging employees and delivering results.

Not long ago, company picnics, water cooler talk, bulletin boards and office memos were the biggest tools in a company’s “employee engagement toolbox”.  Although business information eventually made it to every ear in the company, it’s dissemination was slow and arduous. Flash forward to today, where information is in your hands micro-seconds after it is made public by company heads, management and team leaders.  As a result, companies have been forced to jump into the digital era or risk losing the opportunity to rally their employees and make them feel, not only part of the team, but part of the business family.

L’Oréal  is a global leader in cosmetics, beauty and grooming with companies in more than 70 countries representing over 130 product lines.  The company is highly revered as a desired place to work and has  been awarded with several “top employer” awards  globally from various respected entities including Forbes magazine , Glassdoor  and Montréal’s Top Employers .   There are several factors that have contributed to this top employer recognition, one of which is the strong, positive corporate culture they’ve manifested through employee engagement and empowerment via social media.    Although counterintuitive for many companies, L’Oréal has embraced the use of social media by it employees.  In fact, it encourages it.  Social media for most companies is perceived as a distraction and a hindrance to productivity.  As a result, social media policy is typically created with the objective of restricting its usage.    Conversely, L’Oréal, views social media  policy as an opportunity to enlighten employees on its benefits and an opportunity to shed light on the tools and tactics that can be applied to use it effectively to shape desired behaviours.   

When you’re a global company with employees stationed around the world it’s easy to assume employees in one country know little to nothing about employees or happenings in other offices, but at Unitron, it’s quite the opposite. According to their global LinkedIn profile, it’s “a great thing to be a part of a culture that thrives on making the unexpected happen, and where team members’ work together to go the extra mile for customers.” The “company that designs and manufactures really great hearing instruments” has more than 20 offices around the world with their corporate headquarters located in Kitchener, Ontario.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most disruptive professional network with over 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. When I tell people I work at LinkedIn, one of the most popular questions I receive is whether our environment is like Google… then I get asked whether we’re hiring. (The answer to both questions, I would say, is yes.) We are a dynamic company that is fiercely proud of our culture. One of the easiest ways for us to show who we are – beyond the company that sends out connection requests – is by using our hashtag #linkedinlife. Created in early 2015, #linkedinlife has moved beyond LinkedIn into other social platforms, and is being used by employees all over the world to demonstrate the breadth of our culture and our humanity beyond the work we do.    

According to Intercom, “The way businesses talk to people online is broken. Intercom is fixing it. Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for sales, marketing & customer service to one platform, helping businesses avoid the stiff, spammy status quo and have real conversations that build real connections.” Intercom describes its platform as “simple, personal, and fun for everyone”, and a growing number of customers obviously agree. According to Alex Konrad, staff writer for venture capital, startups and enterprise tech at Forbes, “Intercom is now adding 600 paid customers and $1 million in new revenue every 10 days.”

Lutherwood is a non-profit providing that provides children’s mental health, employment and housing services to more than 16, 600 people annually in the Waterloo Region and Wellington County.  It also operates Lutherwood Village on the Park a retirement community in Waterloo, and Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation.  Its mission is to “inspire hope and strengthen lives by offering high quality mental health, employment and housing services”.  Operating for more than 45 years, Lutherwood’s leadership credits having motivated, engaged and happy employees as the key reason for its ongoing success.