The Value of Using Message Ambassadors for Internal Communication
Peer-to-Peer communication is highly influential in most organizations. It may be the communicator’s worst nightmare – or largest asset – depending on how you approach it.
We all know about the power of “water-cooler” conversation within an organization. We work hard to ensure that our internal messaging is carefully crafted and consistent – in order to best manage the rumor mill, especially in times of change. But, it’s no secret that peer opinions can be both valuable and influential when handled effectively.
Marketers have realized the potential of using peers as brand ambassadors to help boost their marketing efforts for years. So, why not tap into your employees to help promote internal changes, too?
Employees appreciate open discussion and peer-to-peer communication through social media channels and intranet chat. They often look to others for validation or opinions before making a decision. Consider, for example, how we as consumers turn to online sources to vet opinions about companies or products before taking a job, or making a purchase.
Rather than top-down communication, today’s employees expect that communication is 365 degrees. It’s important for employees to engage in conversations, share knowledge and have an opportunity to ask questions.
How to Involve Employees as Message Ambassadors
Next time you are communicating an internal change, consider how you might engage your peer influencers to help send a positive message. Here are some possibilities:
Engage the Power of Social Technology – If you’re looking for employees to support change or other internal initiatives, the first place to start is with internal social media. Enthusiastic employees can provide positive comments and ideas or even share valuable tools or links with peers. Employees can also provide reviews or ratings on articles, videos and other content. Social media tools can provide a great opportunity to engage in conversation and to help spread the word.
Do Lunch – Invite select employees to attend a brief coffee or lunchtime discussion with members of the leadership team. Rotate employee representatives each month. This can be a great way to engage employee advocates in open discussion and encourage them to share key messages with their co-workers.
Target Message Ambassadors – Another more formal approach is to select a core group of employees who are considered highly influential among their peers. (You know who they are – the enthusiastic cheerleaders, or even the chronic complainers.) Whenever a change is to be announced, invite this group to test the communication messages and approach. This will encourage ownership and buy-in to the process, while creating a team of positive peer influencers.
Use Employee Testimonials – Think about incorporating employee testimonials into your communication. How about including some quotes from employees who have had positive results with your wellness program into your enrollment materials? Or, use employees stories about work life for your recruitment video. The actual voices and faces of your Company can send a very powerful and relatable message.