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Lessons for Internal Communicators from #H2S2WORK

Blog October 2015

An incident this week strengthened my opinion that social media has a purpose beyond Kim Kardashian’s latest selfie or Taylor Swift’s love life.   Used effectively, social media should become a plank in every internal communications strategy.

On October 5, the management of Here to Serve Restaurants in Atlanta announced that their ten restaurants would close immediately, putting 1,000 people out of work while the company explores reorganization. No notice, no severance, no return date.

By the next morning, the word spread through the Atlanta restaurant community. Social media became a life raft for impacted employees to connect with restaurants that were hiring.  Open positions for back of house and front of house roles appeared on Twitter, trending under #H2H2WORK.  Here’s just a sample:

“Lots of ATL resto folks are out of jobs today due to the H2S closings.  Resto group—post your opps and I’ll retweet. #H2S2WORK”   @ATL_Events

“H2H2WORK come get some fried chicken @WhiteOakAtlanta. We got enough for at least 15 of y’all.” @ChefTRichards

“As much as it hurts to see @H2SRestaurants going away, it’s awesome to see the #ATL food community coming together #H2H2WORK” @Christopherbw

The Giving Kitchen, a restaurant community non-profit, established a fund for Here to Serve employees and there were online job fairs on Facebook.

Think about this: These efforts mobilized within 24 hours of the announcement. Atlanta restaurants belong to a geographically dispersed community with none of the traditional internal communications vehicles (emails, town halls, presentation decks).  Yet the response was fast and effective.

Ask yourself these questions:

1.       Is your social media plan established and robust? Would your employees go to your social platforms for information or in a crisis?  Have you marketed your social media channels to internal audiences?

2.       If you have an existing Crisis Communications plan, when was the last time you tested or updated it?

3.        Does everyone with accountability in the plan understand their role? If there are new hires in key roles, do they know their responsibilities in a crisis?

You can bet that nearly 100% of your employees have access to their phones.  Build internal traffic to your social media sites and then use social in your internal communication strategy.