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Branching Out from Within: Using Social and Digital Communication

Natalie Hill

By Natalie Hill, Communication Consultant at the Principal Financial Group®

Think about the value your company places on effectively communicating the ESOP and what it means to be an employee-owner. If you consider the amount of time, effort and expense your company invested to become an ESOP—it's a big deal for your company and your employees! Ongoing communication is vital to a long-term, employee ownership experience and culture that you hope to achieve.

How and when you communicate can be equally as important as WHAT you communicate. Speaking from an employee perspective, an announcement should come with a celebration to catch my attention. Trying to cram in all the plan details during a celebration can be a buzzkill. It may not be the most ideal time to educate an employee who is in "party" mode. After the confetti settles, be sure to take the opportunity to introduce some detail. How you communicate that detail needs to be engaging.

With transitioning, generational workforces becoming the norm, knowing how employees want to connect within a company and adapting to those preferences is crucial. Surveying your employees on how they want to engage is beneficial in understanding the possibilities and determining a future, mobile + social + digital, course of action. Did you know that according to new research, 61 percent of Americans own a smartphone?[1] People are on the go and want to consume information in bite size pieces and have the ability to interact.

Wouldn't it be great to talk with employees in a relaxed atmosphere and be able to answer the same question from multiple employees simultaneously?

Leveraging digital and social media platforms, internally, can be a great way to branch out into an engaging form of communication. That space is naturally open, inviting and transparent. Someone on the factory floor has the same opportunity as an office worker to have a discussion with leaders. Private group features allow for people to come together and share. Driving employees to your intranet with a user-friendly, content rich landing page can also help to complement your internal, social strategy. Obviously, certain aspects of your ESOP need to be kept secure and other aspects are meant to be public. This is where appropriate content, monitoring and a clear social media policy come into the picture.

So whether your ESOP is new or has been around for years; you have a huge opportunity to drive the culture and engagement your employees crave and your company deserves. Why not try a fresh approach in reaching your communication goals and objectives? The Principal ESOP Communication team can assist you in establishing and maintaining a strong, rooted connection to the value of the ESOP and the employee-ownership role using social and digital methods.

Contact Natalie Hill

Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project-According to new research from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 61 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Sure, many still own a regular cellphone, with 91 percent of the adult population owning some sort of mobile phone.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, Des Moines, IA 50392.

PQ11732 7/2014

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