Organization Name: The Co-operators
Name of Contacts: Barb Stephens, Director of Communications and Leonard Sharman, Senior Advisor of Media Relations
Description of how Social Media is used for Employee Engagement:
Historically insurance companies may have been described as “dull” and “stodgy.” Not today. Now they are embracing the latest social media trends to reach employees (and customers) in creative and innovative ways. The Co-operators, as a prime example, is taking full advantage of the boundless opportunities provided by social media to engage its employees.
One illustration is The Co-operators use of YouTube to showcase its community involvement initiatives. The quality of these initiatives makes employees proud.
Leonard Sharman, Senior Advisor of Media Relations at The Co-operators says,
“Staff follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and connect with us on LinkedIn. And these are important ways that we engage our staff – often, they are very active in advancing discussions we start on our social platforms, and that is very helpful. So they really are a resource to draw upon and they help us reach our social media goals.”
Internally, The Co-operators uses Microsoft SharePoint 2013, which has a number of “social” features, for its intranet. Barb Stephens, Director of Communications, explains further,
“Employees can comment on the news items, share pictures, post events and develop their own “My Site” page. We have an internal blog with our senior leaders where they can engage staff in conversations about our strategic plan and other topical issues. Also, we link to Yammer from our intranet so that employees can carry on conversations within communities of interest. Engagement rates have been steadily increasing across all our social internal channels, including commenting and more than one third signed up for Yammer. Finally, we have a live feed of our corporate Facebook and Twitter channels streaming on our internal news page for readers can see, at a glance, all the internal and external news of the day.”
The Co-operators uses Twitter to deliver safety tips and maintenance advice daily for home and car owners which are of great value to followers. This beneficial service makes it easy to understand why staff follow their employer on Twitter and then rebroadcast the useful information to their networks.
The Co-operators was an early adopter of using social media to involve employees across Canada. In 2010 the organization created a social media-based program to engage staff and agents in sustainability with “The Co-operators Sustainability Race” (CSR).
The useful information provided by The Co-operators along with its cultivated two-way communication on social media platforms are two reasons why The Co-operators is one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers – because how a company treats its employees online counts.
Lessons for Others:
1) Social Media offers a wonderful way to inform employees about an organization’s community initiatives. This, in turn, enables staff to spread the word to their networks which helps solidify a company’s reputation as a good corporate citizenship. When employees feel proud of the company they work for, they are effective brand ambassadors.
2) “Internal and external communication has converged, and as such, smart organizations are building in a wide range of communication channels to promote learning, sharing, collaborating and conversing,” explains Barb Stephens. The water cooler conversations still take place; but, by adding other ways to engage in informal conversations, a company is able to foster a “virtually social” culture.
Submitted By: Toby Little
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