Internal communications and social media engagement
We all faced new ways of working throughout 2020. Around 6,000 Leeds City Council colleagues found themselves having to adjust to working in new Covid-secure workplaces, whilst 8,000 officers adapted to working predominately from home overnight. We supported over 300 colleagues to reskill and redeploy into completely different essential roles.
It was clear very early on in the pandemic that colleagues being able to access key messages and information in the most easily accessible and direct way would be key to ensuring the health, safety, wellbeing of colleagues and ongoing productivity and delivery of services in an unprecedented time. A solution or solutions was needed very rapidly in the developing crisis and collaboration across professionalisms and council departments was needed to be quickly established and vital to this effort.
What has been delivered?
- Rapidly created a staff website on www.leeds.gov.uk – enabling direct access to one source of information about Covid and the workplace without requiring log-in.
- We grew the colleagues Facebook group and it has gone from strength to strength. It continues to be a key source of information and generating a #TeamLeeds spirit with members. Soon to reach the 5,000 members milestone. Updates and engagement for digital and information service support (providing proactive updates on issues) has been particularly effective and appreciated.
- Launched @LeedsCC_People twitter account as a source of information for current and prospective colleagues.
- Developed regular campaigns on social media to engage colleagues – tweets around wellbeing & Thank You Thursday are regularly reaching over 3,000 people
- Developed use of gov.delivery e-bulletin system as means to directly mail all managers weekly and deliver regular #BeWell bulletin to all staff with a .gov.uk email address. Subscription option available for staff who do not have access to, or regular access to, a .gov.uk email address and wish to use a personal email address to receive updates.
What was the impact/next steps ?
All of the newly-developed channels have proved valuable in communicating with different groups of colleagues throughout the pandemic, we now have an opportunity to build on this work and develop this for the future and further address ‘digital divide’ issues.
The colleagues Facebook page has become a highly valued communications, engagement and peer support tool as evidenced by the fact it went from 762 members in March 2020 to almost 5,000 members by May 2021. We have seen the benefit of creating a space for more ‘fun’ content (staff videos) mixed with key corporate messages and the ability for senior leaders to communicate directly with colleagues e.g. messages from chief executive Tom Riordan. Through the Facebook group in particular we have really seen how proud people are to make a difference.
Along with the technical work needed we know that the content is fed by so many people across the organisation who have been crafting so many complex and changing messages, we know that this approach to working as a team for Leeds needs to continue as we develop our approach.