Breckon Jones: Can social media be used effectively for employee benefits?

In the last few years, the term social media has come to represent what was once referred to as word of mouth. Today, sharing is quicker and easier than ever before.

@AmexUK joined the UK social media scene in 2010 with presences on Twitter and Facebook, focused on servicing our community of card members and merchants. Our official YouTube presence and LinkedIn profile then followed.

At the same time, we created an internal social media strategy which mirrors how we communicate with our external audiences and is used to inform and motivate employees.

A 360-degree communication loop is key to social media. American Express’ external social strategy is built on service, and this is evolved by listening to, and acting on, comments we receive.

Seeking staff feedback every year helps us to refine our strategy, which, in turn, motivates and retains our top talent. The corporate image that social media channels promote serves to attract the best talent to the organisation.

Externally, through innovations such as AmEx Sync, card members enjoy location-based merchant deals by syncing their Foursquare accounts to receive promotions and discounts. This external strategy matches up to internal campaigns promoting our benefits programmes.

For example, our employees can check in to our benefits fair on Foursquare, and we have launched an internal social networking platform with profiles and forums just like Facebook.

Social media has the potential to propel the appreciation of employee benefits into the stratosphere if reward teams embrace it.

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Breckon Jones is director of global benefits and strategic health at American Express

Jones is one of the benefits professionals shortlisted for the ‘Employee benefits professional of the year’ at the Employee Benefits Awards 2013.