A major challenge that we all see and most likely have personally experienced ourselves in the workplace is the lack of dialogue and transparency between employees and executives. Many companies across the globe struggle with this problem, where traditional, complex hierarchical structures or top-down only communication makes it extremely difficult for employees to connect with their executives or leadership.
But typically, it’s the frontline employees that are working closely with the company’s products, dealing directly with customers, and handling everyday transactions. They are the one that have valuable insights, feedback, and great ideas that may never transpire because it was never vocalized. If we look at the opposite angle, executives have a major responsibility of leading the company in the right direction. Leadership may have a strategic vision or new company policy that they want to implement, but it never gains traction due to lack of alignment or understanding from everyone else in the business. These challenges can impede an entire organization from meeting a business goal, hinder innovation and development, or lose a competitive advantage.
There are many benefits of an enterprise social solution: -ESNs allow geographically disperse organizations to transcend organizational silos and break down hierarchical barriers by allowing their employees to mobilize quicker to connect and collaborate as a team. -ESNs create a culture of openness and honesty, and keeps people accountable. Relationships are created and strengthened as people gain more trust in each other. As executives become more transparent and engaged in conversation, everyone benefits as information flows between the levels within the organization. -And finally, ESNs give the everyday worker a voice or opportunity to be heard. This could lead to some remarkable ideas and translate into personal investment into the company.
This talk is critical today because of the current reality of how corporations function within a dynamic and global context The distributed model of corporations around the world For these reasons talking about connectedness, collaboration and communication is really critical in the context of corporate success
Cite some data
Badi talk time & feedback: 7 mins (a little long, a bit deep) Demo: 2 mins
At Socialcast we believe that when you have an organization with an executive team, the essence of their job is to lead their company to higher levels of performance. And what is really critical to effective leadership are connections
The idea of Town Halls is based on a redefined, more progressive idea of leadership where leadership is practiced horizontally rather than vertically. Let me explain— traditional communication channels involved the leadership disseminating information to workers from the top through complicated channels based on division of labor.
In our redefined perspective, we see the leader as communicating side-by-side with workers in dynamic, real-time spaces where communication takes the form of a productive discussion geared towards learning and finding solutions rather than a static one-way transfer of information. These understandings come from research we conducted with numerous leadership teams from around the world.
Town Hall enables leaders and employees to create a dynamic forum for discussion on a given topic. Invited participants then engage in discussions on topics as mundane as an HR issue to specific and exciting dilemmas related to company innovation. Town Hall enables both private and public conversations, again, moving away from this idea of communication as a mere one way transfer of static information to one of active knowledge sharing and producing as it relates to the functioning of the corporation. The new knowledge that is created through these conversations is then accessible to other people for future reference, for learning and for further engagement.
The barrier to effective communication that existed with more traditional forms of communication are also removed as people gather together in this virtual space. For example the limitations of time and space are immediately lifted. This is especially significant in the global context where time and space have been tremendous obstacles. Leaders are able to communicate with local and global workers in the same space—a Town Hall—enabling diverse perspectives to be captured in the solution of one problem. As we all know, there’s plenty of research that supports the idea that diverse perspectives, skills and ideas as assets to finding effective solutions.
Improving Executive and Employee Engagement Using Town Halls
Today we will cover:
Introduction to the Business
Socialcast Solution: Town Hall
Customer Highlight: Humana’s Case
Studies and Tips
Jeff Ross, Humana
Jeﬀ Ross is a community manager for
Humana’s Enterprise Social Media Team
and has served as the community
manager for Humana’s enterprise social
network (Buzz) since its launch in May
He is the founder and host of the weekly
Twitter chat #ESNchat for those
interested in enterprise social networks.
He is an active blogger at
JeﬀRossBlog.com and elsewhere on
various professional and personal topics.
Badi Azad, Socialcast
Sr. Product Manager
Badi Azad is senior product manager at
VMware and is responsible for the core
Prior to Socialcast, Badi was an integral
part of presentation software startup,
SlideRocket, which was acquired by
VMware in 2011.
He is a technology intellectual and holds
an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management
from the University of San Francisco.
Traditional organizational hierarchies and cultures with top-
down management philosophies make it diﬃcult for employees
to connect with executives or leadership.
Frontline employees have
valuable insights, feedback,
and ideas from working with
the product and customers.
Executives require employee
involvement and company-
wide alignment to meet
Beneﬁts of Working Together
The ESN Solution
Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) drive business value by:
• Transcending organizational
silos and hierarchical barriers
by allowing employees to
quickly mobilize, connect
• Creating a culture of
openness and honesty --
building and strengthening
relationships through trust
• Providing front-line
employees with a voice and a
platform to share feedback.
Socialcast Town Halls
Product History and Overview
Click below to see this webinar live
Town Halls for Executive Communications
CEO Quarterly Leader Meetings
Align executives and employees in a shared vision
• CEO hosts a Quarterly Leadership Meeting for
the organization’s 2,000+ leaders
• Town Hall held in conjunction to capture
presentation materials and engage audience
members in conversation
• CEO answers questions directly in the Town Hall
and the discussion continues even after it ends
Quarterly Leadership Town Halls are accessible to
more than 50,000 people, helping get everyone
on the same page and moving in the same
Town Halls for Managing Change
Humana Pharmacy Solutions Executive Presentation
Communicate new strategic directions to employees
around the country in an eﬃcient, inclusive way
• Exec presented plans for a new business model in
a large convention center
• Town Hall was used simultaneously and reached
300+ participants around the country
• Powerful graphics, probing questions, and
interactive elements used to enhance Town Hall
The HPS Town Hall was viewed by 523 people.
Humana was able to roll out a new pharmacy
initiative in a transparent and engaging way
Town Halls for Open Dialogue
Open Oﬃce Hours with a Vice President
Be available for associates to stop by and discuss
whatever is on their minds.
• Schedule and announce periodic Town Halls
where VP John Brown is available for questions
• Discussion topics are entirely up to associates –
no planned presentation
• Use only the Socialcast Town Hall – no
conference call, webcast or in-person gathering
Extremely popular Town Halls that give any
associate an opportunity to discuss whatever they
wish with the VP. Great example of inspiring
leadership and open, transparent communication.
“I want people to know that
not everyone in a position of
authority is heartless or
disconnected from the real
world. I want people to know
and see that I cry like
everyone else, bleed when I'm
cut and have a compassion for
them that is real. I want what
is best for every associate and
our members. If I can make
that happen, for even a few, I
will have been a success.”
- John Brown
Town Halls for Capturing Feedback
Humana.com Employee Focus Groups
Capture Humana.com website requirements and
feedback on proposed changes.
• Re-design the Humana.com company website
• Used a series of Town Halls to present
screenshots of proposed changes, where
associates posted questions, concerns, or
By involving associates early and often in the
website re-design process, the Humana web team
streamlined the production process and reduced
development costs. With early input from end-
users, Humana.com better reﬂects what customers
need and makes information easier to ﬁnd.
Town Halls for Brainstorming Ideas
Power Users: Buzz Brokers
Improve Humana’s internal social network.
• Special Town Hall meetings for Humana’s most
active community users, aka “Buzz Brokers”
• Town Halls Provide Buzz Brokers a chance to
provide feedback, suggestions, or ask questions.
This helps the Community Manager understand
what’s going well or what could be going better
Input from key stakeholders has helped improve the
Buzz experience for more than 31,000 members.
Town Halls for Inspiration
Humana Gives Back Campaign
Recognize the contributions made by Humana
employees to local charities.
• Capture personal stories about Humana
employees giving back to their communities
• $5,000 award to be directed to the employee’s
charity of choice
• Campaign organizers introduced the contest
through Town Halls, presented details on how to
participate, documented Q&A and made available
for future reference
A surprising number of Humana employees shared
personal stories. Local charities received more than
$10,000 as a result of this campaign.
Town Halls for Taking Action
Humana Hope Campaign
Motivate employees to make a personal
commitment to better health.
• Launch campaign on Facebook
• Asked employees to share personal goal for
improving emotional, spiritual, ﬁnancial, or
physical health as New Year’s resolution
• Town Hall engaged employees which increased
employee participation in Facebook campaign
Humana’s commitment to enhancing health extends
to customers and employees. Town Halls provided a
way for Humana to inspire employees to take
concrete steps toward improved health/wellness.
10 Tips for a Successful Town Hall
1. Plan in Advance
2. Prepare Moderators to
3. Work as a Team
4. Invite Participants
5. Frontload Questions
6. Publish Content
7. Plan Interaction Details
8. Design for Engagement
9. Add Teleconferencing
10. Follow Up
View all available Socialcast webinars at
Click here to see this webinar live