In times of change and transformation, internal communication is the glue that holds companies together. It is therefore no wonder that IC (internal communication) grows both in relevance and in number of employees who are involved in it. A recent study by Ragan Communications has shown that IC budgets have the best chance to increase in the near future.
1. QUICK AND EASY
A study by the Pew Research Center showed that people under the age of 35 experience a “need for immediate satisfaction” and “loss of patience.” As internet speeds increase, people are less willing to wait for websites that load, videos that buffer, and colleagues who have to reply to a message or e-mail. Although the idea of direct communication is not new, its effective meaning has been changed by the hyper-connected lives we have today.
Internal communication in the workplace is no exception. In order to create a connection with the new generation of employees, consisting of millennials and the generation Z, messages must be short and focused and ideally they are no longer delivered via e-mail. Speed therefore requires more and targeted updates. This means that communication can no longer flow from one person to many, but must be spread simultaneously from multiple sources. It is not a bad idea to appoint part-time editors to share daily updates and handle subsequent questions and feedback.
2. COMPANY CULTURE
Young companies, especially start-ups, place a lot more value on company policy and culture. Why? Because this is a requirement of their staff. Generation Z and millenials are looking for companies that match their own values, believes and goals. According to a study by Deloitte University Press, HR managers see culture and engagement as their biggest challenge. Consequently, the bond between IC and these core values has grown strongly.
Do note: it is not only important to include your values in the internal communication strategy, but also to emphasize the ways in which you try to achieve these values. How? By adding the deed to the word. Integrate the culture and values of the organization into your own actions and lead by example. The corporate culture must be more than just a few words on a wall. They must be feasible guidelines and the entire organization must embrace them as a family.
Implementing such a culture starts with the recruitment process where “teaming up” must be just as important as the required competencies. It is therefore important to communicate the values of your company already during the recruitment process. It even goes as far as creating a physical office environment that matches this vision and thereby enables the best employee experience. In addition, team events, training and employee benefits help to spread your ideas, but these will also determine how your employees think about and respond to the culture.
3. WORKING FROM… ANYWHERE
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), employees of all generations value flexibility in their work. This includes planning and office infrastructure, but also the location from which they work. This may explain why the number of freelancers has increased sharply in Belgium in recent years. This has led to what is called the “gig economy” (also called “flex economy” or “people first economy”). Companies more often enter into short-term contracts with independent employees to accommodate temporary projects. The challenge for internal communication managers is to find the best ways to communicate with these external employees. Not only to keep them in the information loop, but also to integrate them into the company. It is important to recognize the needs of a fragmented workforce and engage everyone through multiple channels to reach them wherever they are. Apps, text messages, push notifications and social media are only a few ways to do so. Mobile communication solutions ensure connection with freelancers and employees who work remotely, while promoting cooperation at the same time.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a popular saying. But did you know that a one-minute video is actually worth the equivalent of 1.8 million words or 3,600 pages of text?
Sharing content via video ensures that your message is heard more often. A Hubspot survey showed that more than half (55%) of their users watch their videos, which is significantly more than the 33% who read their interactive articles and 29% who read their blogs.
Video must be at the top of the list if you want to succeed in correctly transferring difficult topics to employees. It is highly likely that the majority of internal communications, training, important news items and announcements will be communicated through video.
5. ARMY OF CONTENT CREATORS
In line with the video trend, millenials and generation Z also have a great demand for authenticity. Just like the corporate culture, this characteristic contributes to the reputation of the employer. You can implement authenticity by giving employees the opportunity to share things among themselves.
Employees become the most important voice that a company has to offer. “Social advocacy” programs encourage employees to share their thoughts, updates, and ideas. This voice is not only more authentic than the voice of a manager, but also gives employees the opportunity to express themselves. In addition, content shared by employees ensures 8 times more engagement than content shared by the official channels of a company.
Transforming your employees into content creators ensures decentralization in the workplace and adds a peer-to-peer feeling to the top-down culture in communications. By putting your employees first, you improve the “employer brand”, the company reputation among employees.
To encourage your employees to share things and participate in discussions, your internal communication channels should focus on distributing content that directly affects and interests them. In addition, make it interactive by enabling for example comments, sharing, and likes.
6. HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION
Horizontal communication can effectively have a powerful productive influence on the way employees perform their job. “Peers” provide constant feedback and encourage further collaboration, two central factors of employee communication and teamwork. Horizontal communication spreads knowledge within a company and eases the work of a manager because he / she no longer has to send the necessary messages through different departments.
Efficient communication promotes knowledge, disseminates insights and helps people use their talents.
Internal communication should focus on peer to peer collaboration by rewarding teamwork, encouraging sharing and setting team goals. In addition, team events that promote corporate culture will strengthen feelings of unity and strengthen mutual ties.
7. REACH (MOBILE APPS ARE “THE WAY TO GO”)
Within communication, we constantly strive for a greater reach because reach means relevance. Your goal must be to reach and engage all your employees, regardless of where they are located.
That is why you must constantly look for technical and creative solutions that can deliver the best IC concept and guarantee employee engagement. There are many different channels to choose from, but certainly apps are a clear trend. An internal communications app is mobile, digital and supports push notifications. A game changer when it comes to sending business information.
According to a recent report from Ruder-Finn, only 16 percent of companies are satisfied with their ability to measure the efficiency of internal communications. Measuring internal communication and involvement is difficult. If you want to be able to determine the return on your investment, use these 6 KPIs to measure the success of your intranet and internal communication.
By measuring your internal communications, you can obtain and increase its current efficiency. Live statistics have become increasingly important and we can measure a whole range of topics more directly and accurately than ever before. Consider incoming requests, use of the intranet and its reach.
In addition, these measurements can be used in two ways: to convince managers of the importance of a certain topic – making the strengths and weaknesses clearer – and to better understand the interests of your employees.
But most importantly: with figures at hand you have valuable evidence to support your concrete actions.
9. INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS OVERLAP
Internal and external communications are interconnected, regardless of where your teams are or to whom they report. It is essential to keep both target groups in mind when creating your messages, even if you are required to change focus or tone. You should never report anything to one target group that you would rather not tell the other.
But don’t neglect your internal communication channels because the external ones are so overwhelming. You need a working channel that you manage and measure to clearly spread the message of your company.
Organizations must set up fast, interactive and reliable channels to reach all employees. The best way to do that is via a mobile solution. As so often, a combination of procedures, skills and technology is required to create trust and transparency. This allows companies to maintain control over the messages they send, rather than leaving room for individual misinterpretations.
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