If your a regular reader of my blogs you will know that I'm an advocate of employees becoming the 'authentic' voice of the company rather than the corporate marketing inauthentic crap messages that people are turning away from.
Just like the company do's and don'ts around the company 'health and safety' policy, along with other employee responsibilities that provide 'guidelines' for using the company brand on social media (something I always strongly advise) when looking to energise employees as part of the 'advocacy' strategy - as with all policies people need to be trained how to not only use them, but to also interpret them.
Prior to this pandemic the retail landscape was already going through reinvention, brands that chose an incremental 'protectionist' approach to adapt to external behavioural changes with the consumer suddenly found those years they thought they had left have just been removed.
A new a government-backed study for Zurich insurance suggests that women like Helen are 20% more likely to apply for senior roles if they offer flexible hours. Using gender-neutral language in job adverts also generated "significant change", it found.
The research - which was carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team, a government-backed think tank - found women have struggled to progress in their careers at Zurich in the past. It found there had been a lack of applications from women for senior roles, many of which had not been available on a flexible basis.
We've all seen many a post on news sites and social media including websites like 'Glassdoor' from former disgruntled employees.
As lockdown after lockdown kicked in around the world the share price of video conference calling technology companies have enjoyed a tangible, and for some sustainable boom time - well, maybe not 'House Party!
Working from home was resisted by all manner of businesses that had invested on long term office leases, including all the fixed assets that went with it.
So everyone was forced to do the nightmare daily commute to/from 'the office'.
Today of course working from home and flexible working are common place, something that is great for the planet, employee, and family well being, along with being sustainable long after Covid.
But what about social media?
Social media was used as a blunt tool to burn through part of the 'paid media' budget, not a strategic platform to go back to basics and re-engage with the consumer and better understand them.
The Social Media pandora's box is well and truly open, and this is what scares the pants off leadership teams, just like flexible working and working from home did - especially when encouraged to allow employees to become brand advocates.
So is the answer to have an insurance 'policy' in place that is policed by HR, or is it to ensure you have truly engaged and 'trained' your employees around the 'legality' of what they can/can't say about the company and brand on social media?
"We've seen hugely encouraging results, simply by adding six words to our job adverts [offering flexible working arrangements]," said Steve Collinson, Zurich's head of HR. "By offering roles that fit flexibly around family life, employers could open the floodgates to a much wider pool of untapped talent. "This will also help women progress into higher paid jobs whilst fitting other commitments around their careers," he added. Since changing its policy on job adverts, the number of women hired for top roles has risen by 33%, it says.