Social media for internal relations
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LAwS Academy. Social Media for Internal Relations. Emily C. Williams Los Angeles Fire Department April 7, 2010. Today’s Focus. Internal  Internal Effective organizational communication with and among employees through social media channels. Internal  External

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Social media for internal relations


Social Media for Internal Relations

Emily C. Williams

Los Angeles Fire Department

April 7, 2010

Today s focus

Today’s Focus

Internal  Internal

  • Effective organizational communication with and among employees through social media channels.

    Internal External

  • Positioning employees to effectively represent your agency positively through their usage of social media.

So far



Informational Briefs


Professional Networking

Opinion/info sharing

So far…

Internal internal

Internal  Internal

  • What methods does your agency currently use to communicate with employees?

  • What social media tools are out there that might improve upon these methods?

Social media for internal relations

What issue have you always wanted to measure or address that you haven’t been able to so far?

Some issues to consider

Some issues to consider

  • Level of alignment with the department’s guiding principles

    • Do employees feel connected to the mission, vision and core values of the organization?

  • Level of employee motivation and engagement

    • How’s on-the job satisfaction, performance and productivity?

  • Level of teamwork, trust and morale

    • Are members treating one another with respect?

  • Level of trust between employees and higher-ups

    • What are members saying about management? What do managers say about the rank-and-file?

  • Level of service provided to the public

    • If the public could choose its service provider, would it be us?

  • Are members serving as ambassadors of our Department?

    • What are employees communicating about our department to prospective recruits? To members of other departments? To the public?

Internal internal social media functions

Internal  Internal: Social Media Functions

  • SURVEYING: Taking the temperature

  • EDUCATION: Providing information before employees receive it from outside sources.

  • TWO-WAY EXCHANGE: Providing feedback mechanisms for employees.

  • REMOVING BARRIERS: Providing opportunities for collaboration, more efficient workflow.

  • PRAISE: Providing opportunities for recognition.

Social media for internal relations

What Makes Social Media An Ideal Tool?




Democratic/equalizes individual voices



Occurs throughout our lives, anywhere, anytime

Myth or reality

Myth or reality?

“90% of the members of our department don’t have e-mail addresses.”

  • Of the 3,800 employees, who has a department e-mail account?

    • All 600+ captains

    • All 90+ chief officers

    • All 300+ civilians

    • 200+ special duty/special assignment members

  • Approximately 30% of the department’s members have department e-mail addresses.

Surveying members


Educating members


Today's workshop is intended to demonstrate alignment with the Department's core value ofInnovationand the operating principle of Positioning the Department for the Future.

We hope the content will prepare participants to better understand Web 2.0 tools and recognize how social media is shaping our work and the role of government.

Employees are encouraged to further explore the benefits of social media sites...from the comfort of their own homes. Please refrain from accessing social networking sites during work hours without the express approval of your supervisor, as per the Citywide Internet Usage Policy.

Two way exchange


Removing barriers




Other social media myths

Giving employees a forum to express themselves will result in an uncontrollable site filled with anonymous rants & name-calling.

We can’t let our people use social media; they’ll do something stupid, embarrassing, or illegal.

Internal communications are not a priority in an economy characterized by hiring & promotional freezes, furloughs and layoffs.

A blue-collar or in-the field workforce will not use social media.

Other Social Media Myths

Social media for internal relations

The threat and the opportunity


29% of employees are actively engaged, 54% are “checked out”, 17% are actively disengaged.

An August 2009 Nielsen Online study shows that nearly half of all online workers use Facebook at the office. There is no doubt that employees are communicating virtually and globally.

What are they saying about their work experience?

How do members learn about proposed initiatives and policies?

Are employees able to voice their ideas & does

leadership show that input is valued?

Engagement retention stats

Engagement & Retention Stats



New employees who decide

in first six monthswhether they’ll stay with a new job

Number of jobs today’s learners/tomorrow’s workers will have by the time they’re 38 years old

Social media for internal relations

Use of social media to do one’s job

Aon Consulting Web 2.0 and Employee Communications Survey March 2009

Internal external

Internal  External

  • ID who in your organization is already using social media.

  • What are they saying about:

    • Their work?

    • The organization?

    • Themselves?

Social media for internal relations

Official Twitter account 

Examples from the private sector

Examples from the private sector

Social media for internal relations

Getting Started

Start small and focused

Act with purpose

Be transparent

Let the on-line community moderate itself first

Monitor heavily

Leverage your Gen X and Millennial employees

Search results


Results: 1,180

“firefighter pranks”

Results: 254

“LAFD firefighter pranks”

No videos found

“LAFD pranks”

No videos found

firefighter bucketing”

Results: 149

“firemen bucketing”

Results: 184

LAFD bucketing

Results: 1

search results

Social media for internal relations

CASE STUDY: Cincinnati Fire Department

“Cincinnati Firefighters Investigated for YouTube Videos”

3 social media strategy do s

3 Social Media Strategy DO’s

  • View social media as another form of outreach and an investment in the future.

  • Find out which members are already on social networks.

  • Leverage your Gen X and Millennial employees. Many of them are already social media veterans.

    And one DON’T…

Don t be afraid to embarrass yourselves

Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourselves!

Thank you

Thank You!

Contact Information

Facebook: Emily C. Williams

Twitter: @emilypresents


WordPress:Emily Presents

Linkedin: Emily C. Williams

Other sites professional

Other sites: Professional

  • GovLoop - the "Facebook for Government" connecting 25,000+ government innovators from federal, state, and local government. A great resource to connect with peers, research best practices, and find conferences & educational opportunities.

Collaboration sites

Collaboration sites

  • Microsoft Sharepoint


  • Google Docs


  • Socialcast


  • Joomla


Video sites

Video sites

  • 12 Seconds ( allows users to share video status updates to Twitter and Facebook

  • Vimeo ( - better tools and higher quality video than Youtube

  • Blip and StrikeTV ( & - next generation web tv networks



  • Yammer


  • Nixle

Best practices in public safety

Best Practices in Public Safety

  • Bellevue PD, has both a Twitter and a Facebook page. BPD even encourages their individual police officers to send “tweets” about activity while at work.

  • The Oxnard Police Department in California has asked a lead officer from each beat or sector within the city to send out Twitter updates specific to their service area. OPD also produces web video providing crime info, press release information, and other information to promote their agency.

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