It’s that time of year. Time to assess the past year and reflect on the year ahead. What are the five internal communication trends emerging for 2015? From treating employees like consumers to the inbox revolution, here are my five predictions.
My predictions include going mobile, the new inbox, employees as consumers, video as storyteller and measurement. While some of these predictions, such as measurement, have been much discussed for years – it’s now mission-critical to address them.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with many IC professionals as guests on my webinars, talked with our customers – and have attended conferences and events. With that view I’ve pulled together five areas I think internal communicators must address over the next twelve months.
- Employees are consumers – The line between external and internal continues to blur and organizations need to communicate in a way that reflects this change. Richard Donovan, Head of IC at Experian UK&I, explains it this way; “We need to understand the changing expectations of employees. There’s a massive choice of channels now – and a choice of how to consume information. Take a look next time you are on a train or bus; people are reading a book, a Kindle, a paper, a magazine. They’re listening to music, news, or audiobooks. When they arrive at work all of a sudden they have only one or two channels that their organization gives them to understand what’s going on. Thinking of employees as consumers and offering choice is critical to making internal Communications a success.” How do you transform Internal Communications in this digital age? Richard’s award-winning team did just that – watch the on demand webinar.
- Any time. Any device. Anywhere. – It’s a tuned in digital world now. The impact of mobile technology can’t be underestimated. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a grassroots movement that is happening in your organization whether you like it or not. More and more employees are working remotely, accessing company information from outside the organization to do their job. Conduct a channel audit to see if you’re enabling remote workers or creating barriers. Are your emails responsive? Is your intranet optimized for smartphone, tablet and desktop devices? Do your employees have to log in and out between the company intranet, CSM and email systems to get even the simplest of tasks done? Then 2015 is the year to remove barriers and optimize your channels.
- Videos – Videos are the emerging superstar of internal comms storytelling – and are proving to significantly increase employee engagement. Videos can be watched when it suits the employee. A video of your CEO or other senior leaders can bring new and personal dimensions to messages. They can bring live events to your distributed workforce. Many organizations are adopting a YouTube-like approach to video, introducing video libraries that let employees search for videos, comment on them, tag them, embed them and upload their own as a means of sharing information and knowledge. (Download our quick guide: How to use multimedia effectively in internal communications).
- Measurement is critical – Being able to measure is the only way to assess and improve upon the communications you send. In a recent survey conducted by Newsweaver and Melcrum, we found that communicators continue to struggle in measuring the value and impact of their communications. Not only must this be solved to improve engagement and return on investment, it must be solved if Internal Communication is to become an established, respected function, serving as a trusted advisor to stakeholders. The first steps to take include identifying your goals, selecting metrics that measure those goals, creating benchmarks to measure progress. Here’s my guide to getting started.
- The inbox revolution – The revolution is here! Viva La Revolution! It seems that after many years of hearing ‘email is dead’, this channel remains a cornerstone of internal communications. In fact major providers of Enterprise Social Networks are now starting to put email at the center of their systems to help employees have a single stream of information and collaboration in the inbox. The revolution in the inbox is part one. Part two of the revolution is how we as internal communicators are using email. We need to start sending smarter emails. The problem is most internal communicators are hampered in their efforts because they have not invested resources in this channel, and are not using today’s email technology. I’m talking about smart emails that are high-impact, branded interactive, personalized and optimized for mobile. Emails that are measurable, and provide employees with communications that engage and are relevant to their job.