Jeff Smith

Employee Communications: When stock photography is a bad idea

 

Think before you search. We all know how easy it can be to search Google or iStock and try to find the perfect picture to represent your office culture or even your employees. But nothing is more representative of employees, than searching through a library of actual employees in the actual environment they work in every day. Stock photography is cheap and easy, but it’s not always a great idea.

In this day and age, authenticity is huge. People are able to tell you exactly what’s authentic and what’s not and they may even be deterred from viewing something if they deem it unauthentic. People can spot a model a mile away, and when you try to use stock models to represent real employees, you’re not fooling anyone. That brings us to the top three reasons for shooting original photography. All three of the following benefits make it worth considering the effort and expense of original photography.

1. Building engagement. When it comes to internal communications, we always want the employees to feel engaged, and there’s nothing more engaging than seeing your best friend in the newest issue of the magazine, or on an email, or on digital signage. Chances are, if an employee sees that there are actual photos of real people in the real work environment, there’s a better chance they may engage with that publication, email, or whatever it may be.

2. Creating celebrities. Our culture is fascinated with celebrities, and when you use photographs of real employees, some of that show biz stardust falls on each of those individuals. Some of the time, the employees that work the hardest jobs, don’t necessarily get the most recognition. Shooting original photography gives those employees that are hidden, a face and really brings authenticity to the company.

 3. Connecting employees. One of the best ways to break down silos is to help employees develop human connections with the people in other silos. When you’re able to put a face on a colleague, whether that person is in manufacturing or at headquarters, you humanize them. The ability for someone in retail to see a photo of another colleague in manufacturing building something that they sell, connects those silos. Besides, employees love looking at photos of each other. It’s nice to see who works where and what they do.

 Interested in photographing your employees? Tribe can help.

Photograph provided by Chris Davis Photography // cdphoto.com

3 Online Methods to Help You Engage Your Employees

Like a 24-hour diner, the Internet is always open for business. Its easy accessibility provides companies with the perfect vehicle to connect with employees while at work or surfing online at home.

The Power of the Inbox – With the advent of social media, some have considered traditional email to be falling by the wayside. This may be a debatable point for social interaction, but in the business world, email is still alive and well. Checking their inbox is a morning ritual for most people and besides the actual receiving of messages, it can be the connection point for other content on the web such as blogs, videos or podcasts.

Removing the Middleman (or Woman!) – A blog allows corporate executives to speak directly to the most important part of their company: their people. Blogs take some of the burden off of mid-level managers to communicate every aspect of a company message by having the information communicated directly from leadership. Although a great communication vehicle, writing blogs can sometimes be a challenge for busy executives who find themselves on a tight schedule. To ease the level of time committed to the blog, Tribe is often used as a ghostwriting resource. Using a brief over the phone interview conducted by Tribe with the executive, multiple blogs can be written on various subjects important to building the internal culture of the company.

Watch, Listen and Learn – Online video messages allow for company leadership to speak directly to their employees in a more engaging format. Video provides the ability to use movable graphics to illustrate a point and can also contain web links to information online that provides in depth details on a particular subject. The video format can change based on the message or point being delivered. It could be a direct speech, an interview or a group roundtable. Each of these are options employee viewers could relate to and would provide them with a clear understanding of the messages being communicated.

And for Those Away from their Desks – ipadio has introduced FieldTalk. This unique software program lets two-way communications take place between companies and their employees who generally work away from an office or computer. FieldTalk works like this: An interview or presentation takes place with company management. Employees are then texted the number to call in and listen. After listening, employees are able to vote on topics or provide feedback via texting. This provides a great resource for companies looking to increase their employee engagement levels with those hard to reach employees on the road or working in the field.