AB Thinks  →  7th January 2020

Activating workforce voices – five tips from Keith Lewis

AB Thinks

Katie’s guest for Episode 8 of the second season of The IC Podcast is Keith Lewis, UK social media and social business manager for Zurich Insurance.

Keith explained how one of the world’s largest insurance groups empowers members of its 55,000-strong workforce to tell their own stories with confidence and authenticity on internal and external social platforms.

Here are five key learnings from their conversation.

#1 – Don’t be a corporate monkey
“The last thing I ever want anyone to do is to go online and just share all of Zurich’s stuff. How dull would that be? You would just become a broadcast corporate monkey, a corporate puppet. People aren’t like that in real life: they might share a mixture of things. When you go to work, you don’t just talk about work – you talk about other things as well. So you can bring some of those things to your social platforms as well.”

#2 – Allow employees to be themselves online
“We’re in the trust game: we trust our people to go out and sell products to our customers. And these are really important things we’re talking about: the things that will put us back on our feet if we have an accident, our home gets flooded or we get an illness. It’s really big stuff, and we trust our people to do that on a day-to-day basis, so [trusting them to use their voices online] is just an extension of that.”

#3 – Employees self-publishing personal stories is the future of IC
“There’ll be fewer comms people now doing the job that we used to do 10 years ago, so we’ve got to find new ways of doing that. And part of that is to empower different people in our organisations to tell their own stories; leave us comms people out of it, to some extent. Workplace [by Facebook] lets people practise telling their stories, and then it becomes habit.”

#4 – Never underestimate the power of cats
“One of our big groups on Workplace is Pets at Zurich, which I think is inherently everything that we shouldn’t have from a social media thing. But if it gets people onto Workplace to share their cat pictures, and then they go and look at a strategic piece, talk about what their business is doing and chat to a leader about it, then I’m sort of comfortable with it. If that’s where the conversation is happening in your network, then embrace it and give them somewhere to go and then gradually feed them with the more business things.”

#5 – Find the influencers in your organisation who can spread key messages for you
“You need to find your Trojan mice. These are key people at ground level – they don’t necessarily have to be exec or management – who are the leaders in their own offices and, if you can take them with you, they will be your Trojan mice in the workforce. They’ll build whatever it is you want them to build in whatever way you want them to do it.”