Who listens to their employees?

Photo Creds; WikiSpaces.Com

I attended Monitoring social media yesterday in London, a conference organised by Influence People. I’m not much of a conference goer, I much prefer the unconference format, but I was lucky enough to win a ticket from Jorgen Sundberg of Link Humans. Many thanks!

Being a pure social media rather than a Recruiting/HR event, it was interesting to step outside the bubble.
There was a great line up of speakers ranging from technology vendors, consultants and Blue Chip corporates.
It was interesting to see how the experts that work solely in this area were using listening tools and plugging in to the social channels.
What surprised me was that all of the talk was around customer service, customer opinion, research, competitor monitoring, reaching influencers, marketing promotions, rewarding praise and the like. No mention of employer brand or employee sentiment.
During question time, I asked the speakers from Car Phone Warehouse (Robert Jardine – Head of Insight) and their consultants (Mark Rogers, founder, Market Sennitel), what they did to monitor their employer brand and employee sentiment.
They had just delivered a great case study as to how they were implementing social media monitoring. They were using focus groups including employees for product development.

The answer: We don’t,Ā  that might be a good idea.
As this was a new project for CarPhone Warehouse only 3 months in, I could understand how this may have been overlooked.

Towards the end of the day there was an expert speaker panel consisting of four speakers. In all the presentations there had been no mention of employer brand or employees in general.
I asked the expert panel at the close of the conference why they felt employer branding had not been mentioned. Only one of the four on the panel could offer an answer, in that as consultants they had never been asked about monitoring employer brand.
Living in the HR/Recruiter bubble, I thought employer branding and employee engagement would be a key area. It seems to me that employee sentiment would be a key area to monitor in relation to customer service.
When talking about monitoring I prefer the term listening. Without playing semantics, when talking employees, I think this suggests less Big brother and more collaboration.

How do you listen to what your employees (potential, future and current) are saying on-line, and what do

I will be adding further posts on monitoring when I get back from #truAmsterdam. In the meantime, keep being ambassadors,


4 comments on “Who listens to their employees?

  1. Great post. Bottom line is the organization has to have a clear “action” on communicating with its employees – period.
    then the methods used will fall in line. Sounds simple but we all know that the “techy or sexy” stuff has limited impact if there is little to say, there is no two way process and they don’t do anything when employees have their say!
    Thx I enjoyed your article

  2. Great post Bill, it is certainly something the they missed the opportunity to discuss on the day.

    I re-read the bit about ‘is this big brother’ a few times and I do tend to think that no matter how you positioned this it would be… If you told staff then they’d obviously change their pattern of behavior – and if you didn’t then clearly it becomes a big brother moment and would throw up all kinds of politics if you wanted to action anything having listened.

    Interesting point – there’s a whole blog post surrounding this topic I’m sure šŸ˜‰

  3. I think we need an employer branding un-conference, you should be able to get some heavy hitters to come!!

  4. It’s true that a lot of talk on monitoring social media seems to revolve around people outside of a company rather than in. Sometimes those people inside the company get caught in the SM monitoring if they talk about their brand specifically, but otherwise not really.

    I think it’s an interesting thing to address though. On one hand, employers can gain insights about the people in their organization, both on a personal and professional level. On the other hand though, some employees may look at it as the company is spying on them, and no one really appreciates when they feel their employer is doing that.

    While I don’t have an answer for you Bill, you do raise an interesting question.

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

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