Polemic number one for 2010. There can be no employee engagement without social engagement. Or put in other words, internal communications cannot continue to successfully engage employees in a modern organisation over a certain size without social media inside the firewall.
Why so? The basic element is trust. If there the technology that enables dialogue and conversation inside an enterprise and by that I mean genuine 2 way conversation then there is no trust. And without trust there is no engagement.
Why then is there reticence about using social media inside companies from the very people who might be championing it, the internal communications teams? (& see Melcrum for some interesting data on this). Trust, or lack there of. The instinct is to stay with command and control comms, the need is a shift to a more dialogic or polyphonic conversation (for Polyphony see Bakhtin).
There’s a litmus test here. Ask the internal comms team if their middle management are good communicators & can they be relied upon to be ‘on message’. If there’s trust then these boys and girls can be engaged. There rarely is though and the perennial fear is that the message will go off piste. So what is my answer. If the central message is clear and strong enough and actually translates strategy into something that engages with what most people in the business actually do then it will get through. But is there’s not the means to discuss, debate and actually disagree with the Message, then there’s no real engagement. You may have a well informed and aligned workforce, but not an engaged one.