This whole Covid thing hasn't had many benefits for people or businesses, but it has had a few. For me, the rise in employee generated content is one of them.
But what is it and why is it so important?
Do a bit of Googling on the term and you'll find 100 definitions. For us, employee generated content is any form of content that is created and distributed by your staff, generally internally. This can range from videos, images or blog posts related to things going on in the business like your mission, purpose or values; or the benefits of the product or services you sell.
As a concept, it's not tremendously new - companies have been using it externally for ages. Using social media to showcase people using their products or including content created by their customers in advertising campaigns for example
But what can it do INSIDE an organisation?
1. It amplifies employee voice
One of the four cornerstones of engaged employees is employee voice - giving your people the chance to make themselves heard (and them seeing themselves being listened to) is a really powerful thing.
2. It empowers your people
Handing the content baton to your people (when it was traditionally held by an internal communications team or the MD's PA in a smaller company) immediately empowers them to tell their stories, from their perspective in their own way. That's a powerful motivator.
3. It connects your people to your business
It's easy for people to feel disconnected from the places they work in. For example, a company's values can feel a bit amorphous - particularly if you haven't involved your people in defining them. However, asking them to write short articles or create videos that bring to life your values through an example of something they've done can really help to link and label the two. In doing so, it creates broader understanding of what your values mean in practice across your business.
4. It shows a level of openness to imperfection
Employee generated content is by no means perfect - your people aren't film directors, artists or novelists so the content they create may well be a bit ragged around around the edges. But it's that that makes it so good and so powerful - ITS REAL! Embrace this imperfection and it shows that you're open to giving your employees that voice in whatever way THEY see fit, not you or your Head of Internal Communications.
5. It creates conversations
"Did you see that film on the intranet". "What a great article Stephen wrote". 'Nice one Dan - thanks for sharing that'. 'Great to see your story up here on the intranet'
All the content that's created and shared on your intranet or via internal campaigns helps to drive conversation and create connections. And that's more important than ever now with people displaced by COVID-19.
It's powerful and free!
Arguably, content generated by your people for their colleagues is more powerful, engaging and connecting than beautifully shot corporate films (which still definitely have their place). And best of all, IT'S FREE.
So as we head into choppy economic waters, it's worth remembering that, from a content perspective, when it comes to your business, much of what you need is probably already there.