How leaders are helping with social media adoption at IAG

The latest Water Cooler Session was held at IAG, hosted by Nina Mills, Senior Manager, Internal Communications and Gary McGibbon, Senior Consultant, Internal Communications Channels on the topic of using social media to increase employee engagement.

IAG launched Yammer as its social media hub for employees in 2010. It was originally confined to the comms team as a test and learn case study, but one rogue invitation escaped the team, and that was Yammer launched!

After an initial flurry of invitations and new member’s joining, network activity was relatively quiet, even with the efforts of the comms team to liven things up with YamJams and various brainstorms and competitions. It wasn’t until the team realised they were missing a key ingredient: leadership presence.

So, with a new approach, and a CEO who embraced social media daily, people started to get on board.

A relaunch of Yammer coincided with the launch of IAG’s new brand. It wasn’t planned to happen at the same time, but the comms team quickly picked up on their employee’s enthusiasm to share photos of the new brand. They capitalised on the Group-wide brand activities, encouraging Yammer as the common place to share photos, thoughts and comments.

Not all of the leadership team were on board at that time, so the comms team worked on a leadership training program that focused on answering common questions executives were asking.

The comms team met with each of their leaders one-on-one, making sure they came along with Yammer already installed on their phone or iPad so that they could make the meeting a real life demo and review their group memberships. The team was then able to quickly make sure their live feeds were meaningful and not a jumble of noise, and that their inbox wasn’t being filled-up with notifications.

They coached executives on how leadership translates to social media and how they could contribute by focussing on five mindsets:

  1. Listening to their people
  2. Be helpful – be a relationship broker
  3. Be the approachable, authentic (and flawed) you
  4. Experiment, learn and change stuff
  5. Think networks – social media flattens out the playing field.


They also gave five ways for leaders to get started:

  1. Join five groups
  2. Follow five people
  3. Spend five minutes a day listening
  4. Post in five conversations – questions, thoughts, putting people in touch.
  5. Post five likes or praises

One leader quickly felt the power of social when she liked a comment. Within a few minutes, the person had replied and then started to follow her. The leader in question was amazed at how quickly that interaction could happen with a person she would otherwise never have met.

The comms team also used league tables to tap into the competitive nature of their executives and sent the results in individually targeted emails with a tongue-in-cheek subject title of: ‘I’m watching you!’

The increased leadership commitment to driving usage is continuing to rise exponentially and social media is now a critical channel for communication and collaboration at IAG. The team uses a third party analytics tool to measure their progress so they know where they need to focus their efforts.

As well as focusing on leaders, the comms team has the following tips:

  • Create a Help group for quick answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Attend team meetings and demo how to get the most out of the platform
  • Don’t use a generic internal comms profile, always post as a person.
  • People love images so use lots of photos.
  • Don’t discourage social groups or conversations. Let people test the water here while they build confidence to post about work.
  • As a communicator, be a coach not a star player.

IAG is a great case study of how focusing on leaders can help internal social network adoption. I loved this quote from Nina: ‘Success is a leadership and management challenge, not a technology implementation.’


Posted on September 2nd, 2016.  0 Comments

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