Employee communications in the Social Media Age: How to Keep Ahead of the Game in the Next Five Years

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Ragan Training introduces a powerful, innovative way to teach new employees the fundamentals of employee communications

  • On-board training for new communications employees
  • A superb brush-up course for communication veterans

Now, on Ragan Training, FREE to you and your communication staff with your Ragan Training membership. . .

“Employee Communications in the Social Media Age: How to Keep Ahead of the Game in the Next Five Years” features 8 individual courses that tackle the hottest topics for internal communicators. Finally a complete training course targeted to internal communicators that beat any college course.

In this series:

  • Course 1: The Fundamentals of Employee Communications
  • Course 2: Channels of Effective Internal Communication: the Non-Digital Channels
  • Course 3: Digital Channels (Email, Intranets, Mobile, and more)
  • Course 4: Social Intranets
  • Course 5: Leader Communications
  • Course 6: Communicating Change
  • Course 7: Special Communication Considerations
  • Course 8: Measuring Internal Communications

This series is the unique, inimitable, authoritative training series for new communicators you’ve been looking for. And it’s the best refresher course on the market for communications veterans.

WHAT IS IT? It’s an 8-part series of 90-minute interactive courses, 12 hours in all, a survey of the entire field of employee communications—everything from podcasts to posters,  influencers to intranet email newsletters, blogs to broadcast video.

Make this series the centerpiece of employee orientation for every new recruit on tour communications team! Here is the complete course breakdown:

Course 1: The Fundamentals of Employee Communication

Why should organizations invest in employee communication? In the kick-off course, you’ll explore the core elements of internal communications: the goals that should drive communications and the outcomes communication should produce. You’ll learn:

  • Shel’s comprehensive definition of employee communications
  • How to write an internal communications strategy that deals with things that really matter
  • The two conclusive, inarguable reasons employee communications matters: (1) Because employees are the face of the firm, and (2) Employees execute the firm’s strategy
  • How to get to the ROI of employee communications:  Shel’s step-by-step chart
  • The 3 core elements of effective employee communications
  • The 4-step strategic planning process in employee communications
  • 4 critical employee comms action items you can undertake right now


Shel says: We can talk about the importance of strategy all day. We still have to craft and distribute messages. In the first session on communication channels, we’ll study the best practices for print (which is not dead) and face-to-face communication. You’ll learn:

  • When print is your best option & the 6 major drawbacks of print
  • How to write stories (and other content) employees will read, remember and share
  • How to ROCK a town hall meeting
  • The 5 primary audience characteristics to consider when you choose a channel
  • Why live-webcast small-group meetings with leaders are so effective in communicating to employees
  • Why you must give serious time to the communications training  of front-line supervisors


Continue your examination of internal communication channels with digital media in this course.

Shel discusses the strengths of digital communications and how to manage it effectively. You’ll hear personal stories from Shel’s days in employee communications; you’ll get arresting statistics and data to back up the need for digital communications for your organization. You’ll learn:

  • Why smartphones and tablets are critical to your company’s internal communications future
  • Why intranets are “the worst thing that ever happened to employee comms”
  • Conversely, the 4 big advantages of an intranet over traditional employee communications
  • The secret to getting email-harassed employees to read your email newsletter
  • Why employee use of their own personal mobile devices has become so big at work
  • About digital signage: Why it’s underused, misused and how to make the most of it


Organizations everywhere introduce social media, but employees adopt it much more slowly. In this course, you’ll dive deep into internal social media and look at how to get the needed resources for a successful social intranet. Shel teaches you how to implement social tools, how they support internal communication goals, and how to set up social media to improve the bottom line. You’ll learn:

  • How to make the business case for an employee social intranet & convince reluctant leaders to bite the bullet and go social
  • 4 ways to measure the real ROI of an employee social intranet
  • How Dell migrated innovation from a special forum (“Employee Storm” ) to the employee activity stream on its employee social network
  • The 6 types of internal organizational blogs
  • The most important social media tools for employee communication
  • How to integrate social media into your communications quickly and easily, and get employees to use it


Effective employee communications demand you know two things: What leaders want from employees and what employees want to know. Matching those two desires is the biggest trick to superior internal communications. Shel knows what great leader communication is when he sees or hears it. The trouble is, he doesn’t see it very often. In this course he’ll share how good leaders communicate to and engage with employees, and how to make the leadership team more visible to employees. You’ll learn:

  • How to add life to those boring “From the President” columns
  • Why you shouldn’t capitulate when a leader tells you she doesn’t want to blog (hint: writing copy isn’t the only way your execs can participate in internal communications)
  • The 5 core communication goals for middle managers
  • Why the state of leader communications at all levels is so abysmal in the U.S.
  • The 7 characteristics of good leader communications
  • The most underrated, underused, under-known leader communication tool
  • The 3 core communication goals for leader communicators

COURSE 6: Communicating Change

Every internal communicator at some point must communicate change —a massive change initiative, a merger, the spin-off of part of the business, or a management realignment. The notion that people just don’t like change is misguided. Communicating change means understanding the reasons your employees might resist the change. You’ll learn:

  • Why employees resist change and how to overcome that resistance
  • How to be a reporter and a cheerleader for change at the same time
  • The 9 reasons organizations choose to change
  • The 3 keys to overcoming employee resistance to change
  • What you must do in a change: The 5 change communication imperatives
  • How a digital change communication center on your intranet strengthens your change communication greatly

COURSE 7: Special Communication Considerations

Circumstances and issues arise that require special action by communicators. Every communicator will encounter these circumstances at some point in his or her career. In this session, you’ll learn:

  • Crisis Communications: A breakdown of the 7 basics of what to do in various crisis situations like industrial accidents to unpleasant public disclosures, from labor actions to product recalls
  • Why media is not your friend: the media needs conflict, a good and a bad guy
  • 8 tools you can use to reach employees in a crisis
  • Company Initiatives:  How to talk about programs that harness employee energy (such as quality initiatives) to corporate social responsibility
  • The 6 fundamentals to communicate short-term business initiatives to employees
  • Employee Ambassadors: How internal communications can recruit and maintain highly engaged employee ambassadors
  • The five ways ambassadors can spur better internal and external comms
  • The 7 characteristics of a strong employee ambassador program
  • Complex Topics/Data: How to simplify complex topics for employees to easily understand

COURSE 8: Measuring INTERNAL Communication

Measuring the effectiveness of your internal communication is vital. Not only can’t you fix what you can’t measure, but you’ll never convince management of your value if you can’t quantify it for them. This final course makes the case for a measurement budget and examines measurement techniques, from a full-blown audit to down-and-dirty local focus groups. You’ll learn:

  • The do-it-yourself communications audit: The 5 phases of a successful self-audit
  • The 3 major methods of determining what to measure in employee communications
  • To guide measurement, ask these 9 basic questions about internal communications
  • The elements of a communication survey and how to apply them to avoid bias
  • How to measure the right things, considering there are so many wrong things to measure
  • Why management needs a regular report on measurement
  • How to identify the issues that are vital to your organization and its employees
October 2014

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Presenter bio: 

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, consulting with organizations on content and communication strategies. He has written or co-written six communication books, and is a regular speaker on social media and other communication topics.