When we talk to business, people are using social in some shape or form, but the problem is that they are using social tactically.
So what is this strategic use of social?
Many of you will have heard of social selling, which is using social in sales, but what about using social in marketing, human resources, customer service, supply chain, etc? In all cases strategic social will strip out cost from your business and increase your efficiency.
One such area where social can provide competitive advantage to your business is in terms of employee communication and connection, providing your employees with a purpose, making them feel connected. Let's pull of those things together and give you an example. Strategic social will enable you to become the employer of choice in your industry. If you have the pick of the best talent and it is coming to you direct, think of the cost (advertising and recruitment costs that will strip out) which has a business benefit, even if we park the fact you have all the best people working for you.
You are not here to read about opinion, let's look at this research.
Here is an interesting piece of research from the Brunswick Group that
"shows that corporate stakeholders expect business leaders to be adaptive, connected, and engaged – using digital & social media to do so."
Before we dive in, let's look at the sample, of the research.
"We asked readers of financial publications and employees of companies with more than 1,000 employees – groups emblematic of the external stakeholders business leaders want to reach – about their communications expectations of corporate leaders across 13 different countries and markets."
Let's look at the conclusions
To conclude Brunswick Group state
"Connected Leadership is engaging, authentic, and sustained. Connected Leaders embrace digital sources to get closer to employees. They directly engage stakeholders through new forms of communication and on issues beyond the balance sheet. Their connectivity is their resiliency through today’s crises and tomorrow’s."
Leadership during a pandemic
Let's drill down into more of the detail of the report. First Brunswick group suggest that business leaders need to look at these key considerations around leadership in a remote world. That is, leadership in a world where we are leading and working, and are remote from our employees.
The report explain some of the context for leadership and the use of social media today.
"Digital and social media are no longer a novel approach to leadership. Majorities of employees and financial readers globally use social media to stay informed– and 74% expect company leaders to use these platforms to communicate publicly. Meeting these expectations has become a business imperative, but how executives communicate on social media is indicative of Connected Leadership. Understanding what platforms your stakeholders use and communicating with authenticity are required to break through the crowded online landscape."
Eric on the team here at DLA Ignite, explains the story about his son, Austin, who was 16 in 2020. He did a project for school and having seen James Watt, the CEO of Brewdog and his social media presence, Austin said "I would like to work for Brewdog, when I get older". Why? Because he wants to work for a company where the CEO is active on social media. We are seeing DLA Ignite clients becoming the employer of choice in their industry by having a digital dominance on social media.
That is how, as a business we are now expected by our prospects, customers, employees and future employees to be active as a leadership team (in fact all employees) to be active on social. How about how work will work after the pandemic.
Where and how peoplework won’t be the same after the pandemic
"The global COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way people live and work. 68% of employees report doing most of their work in a different location than before the pandemic and 20% expect to work from home after the pandemic ends. 89% of these dislocated employees actively use social media, 85%of whom say it’s important for company leaders to actively communicate on social media about their company. For many employees, post-pandemic working environments will no longer mean the office, and digital will be an essential tool to reach them. The evidence is clear: if you want to connect your employees to a shared purpose and vision, then you must adapt to connect across your entire workforce through digital media.
Where as, once we have have had 3 offices all with 1,000 employees, now we have 3,000 offices. The other thing that has changed is that employees are used to working outside "the factory system". We have to work and homeschool the kids, look after our vulnerable relatives who are shielding and do a days work. It's harder as a management team to provide purpose, for employees to feel connected and feel they are part of the "mission".
Currently dislocated employees are more engaged with social media
How do we get the best talent as a business and become employee of choice in our industry?
A competitive business advantage
If you want to attract and keep the best talent, then you need to be a Connected Leader. Direct and transparent leadership is a competitive business advantage with talent. Competition for talent is fierce. Today’s employee engagement and talent strategies must incorporate Connected Leadership. Employees would prefer to work for a CEO who uses social media by more than a 5:1 ratio compared to a CEO who does not, a significant increase in certain markets from 2019 Today’s talent investigates a CEO’s digital reputation when considering joining a company.
As leaders, we need to understand that while we may not want to do this, but this isn't about us, it's about our employees. We cannot expect, people to turn up at "the factory" every day, where people are supervised and they work from 09:00 AM to 17:00 in the evening, that way of working has died.
Despite growing opportunities, business leaders today are not meeting their employee’s digital expectations
"Only 51% of employees say their company leaders are using social media to reach them and their co-workers. There is a significant gap between employee demands for Connected Leadership and their experience."
As well as supporting our existing clients, it will also give us external influence in the battle for talent.
Leaders using social media have a competitive advantage in attracting and keeping talent
As well as recruiting the best, what about retaining the staff we have?
A CEO's reputation is crucial to employee retention
The world now is about trust, if we are prospecting, looking after our clients, finding the talent for the business, retaining the employees we have. With a remote workforce, where are are unable to work down the office and see that they are working. Is going to require leadership and measurements that provide trust.
Build and sustain trust
"To build and sustain trust at a time when trust in leadership is fragile, executives must adapt to forge and fortify their reputation online. Financial readers believe CEOs can make a positive impact on their company through social media. Like employees, 78% will investigate the CEO’s social media accounts when researching a company and trust a CEO who uses social media more than 9 times more than one who does not. Considering a CEO’s reputation directly impacts the company, digital and social media are critical tools for building and protecting their reputation – both online and offline."
Stakeholders will draw their first impressions of you from digital sources
"The bar has been raised for how executives must lead. Business leaders must adapt to changing circumstances and, above all, be Connected Leaders. Realizing the full potential of Connected Leadership is a journey that executives in any industry can take to advance their business objectives, connect with stakeholders, and lead with the unmatched scale and agility of digital and social media platforms."
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital. No hard sell, just practical examples.
DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities. Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector.
We asked readers of financial publications and employees of companies with more than 1,000 employees – groups emblematic of the external stakeholders business leaders want to reach – about their communications expectations of corporate leaders across 13 different countries and markets.