Don’t ignore the massive communications transformation

There are seminal events in our lives of such magnitude that they burn into our memory bank. Do you recall the first time you saw the Internet? In one generation, we've already experienced three major communications transformations and we are beginning a fourth that is going to have a big impact on the way employee benefits and HR information is conveyed to employees.

We’ve gone from radio to television, television to Internet, Internet to mobile and now mobile to social. Rather than the Internet as a whole, social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are where we directly engage our audience now. Social is now the Internet.

iphone cell phone technology
A customer views an iPhone 7 smartphone at an Apple Inc. in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. Shoppers looking to buy Apple Inc.'s new iPhone 7 smartphones on Friday better have ordered ahead. Brisk demand left some stores sold out, leaving those who purchased online with the best chance to get their hands on the latest models -- and some resorting to extreme measures. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg

As Bill Gates once said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

Our goal as HR professionals is to engage employees. But if this is our goal, can we really afford to ignore the massive transition taking shape right under our noses?

Vulnerability
While LinkedIn seems to be the primary source for social in business, consider that the company lists a paltry 106 million active users, according to Statista. In comparison, Facebook has 2 billion active users, Instagram has 600 million, Twitter has 317 million and Snapchat has 300 million. Snapchat’s fastest-growing demographic is women older than 35, which grew to 19.5 million unique users in 2016 — up 320% from 2015, according to CNBC.

We must meet our audience where they are. If you are not creating employee-facing content on the major social platforms, you're leaving yourself vulnerable. Print is dead. Email is next.

The variable that will determine your company's success may be your ability to develop creative content for social that engages your employees. It used to cost a lot to produce a TV commercial. But now in the modern digital landscape, you can inexpensively produce a professional video, a digital ad for social and a professionally narrated podcast for the cost of an annual enrollment guide.

Your people are on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Anchor, Twitter and Snapchat. They're using Alexa to make their lives more efficient. Not knowing these platforms and understanding their social arbitrage is a poor excuse.

Your biggest competitor for talent is out there. Are you? As business leaders in the digital age, you can go on offense or defense. Your choice.

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