Essential Internal Comms Trends to Watch Out for in 2023
— April 7th, 2023
In today’s fast-changing workplace, communicators must think on their feet more than ever to keep pace with employees’ evolving needs, expectations, and preferences.
The growing popularity of hybrid work has triggered a departure from traditional communication methods as organizations adopt new ways of keeping teams informed, connected, and engaged, wherever they are.
Continuously finding new ways to communicate and staying on top of the latest trends is a massive challenge for communicators, but one that they must overcome to deliver excellent employee experience and stay above the competition.
To understand these trends and challenges, as well as the top opportunities that communicators should be keeping an eye out for in 2023, we hosted a webinar with three professionals in the HR, Internal Comms, and Change Management space. The full executive brief from that webinar can be found here—but this blog gives you a quick run through the key takeaways.
# 1. Recognition as a Tool for Tackling Burnout
Burnout in the workplace is on the rise. According to Aflac, 59% of American workers experienced some burnout last year, an increase from the 52% reported in 2021.
Several factors can contribute to burnout, including unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workload, lack of role clarity, poor communication and support from team leaders, and unreasonable time pressure. According to Gallup, employees who experience burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day off and 2.6 times more likely to look for a new employer—making burnout a critical issue that business leaders need to address.
While burnout has always been present in the workplace, the recent spike is likely a result of the pandemic, the shift to hybrid work, and the increased focus on health and wellness. For many employees, the lines between work and private life have become blurred, leading to overwork and burnout.
One of the important ways communicators can tackle this issue is with employee recognition. Acknowledging employees for their performance is a great motivator, helping employees understand the value of their contributions and significantly boosting morale and their perception of their job. In 2023 and into the future, team leaders should leverage internal comms to recognize their employees more often and connect them to the larger goals of the organization.
We have to invest in the right tools to make sure we can reach people with content that’s personalized, relevant, and meaningful to them." –Eoin Byrne, Chief People Officer at Poppulo
# 2. Artificial Intelligence as a Productivity Tool
Artificial Intelligence (AI) may never fully replace human communicators, but IC teams can leverage the latest AI tools to supercharge efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. The adoption of AI by businesses has been on a steady rise and is expected to grow even more this year. In 2015, only 10% of organizations were leveraging AI technology or planned to do so soon.
By 2020, more than 90% of the surveyed top businesses said they had an ongoing investment in AI. And the positive impact of AI adoption is evident, with more than 60% of employees admitting that AI improves their productivity.
Let’s look at the AI tool that has been a major focus in the media as of late—ChatGPT. In five days, ChatGPT garnered over one million users, a milestone that social giant Facebook took ten months to achieve.
There are plenty of reasons behind the chatbot’s wild success. Its ability to mimic a human customer service representative allows businesses to provide quick, intelligent, and personalized responses, leading to better customer experience and more conversions. Not only that, but it saves companies significant customer service costs by reducing the cost of labor.
There is a similar opportunity for tools like ChatGPT to play a large role in internal communications strategy, and as a result, many communicators fear the tools threaten their jobs. But Sharon McIntosh, President and Founder of And Then Communications, believes it will take time before AI significantly affects the communications sector.
While communicators should leverage ChatGPT and other AI tools to streamline and simplify the way they do their work, IC’s uniquely positioned knowledge of their organizations, coupled with the multi-dimensional human factors that come into play in workplace communication, means that AI will play a supportive role rather than replacing skilled people.
# 3. Creating Culture in a Hybrid Environment
The growing adoption of hybrid working has disrupted company culture at many organizations. Most businesses are yet to fully settle into a hybrid format and establish the necessary strategies to build that hybrid culture. But in 2023, this will be a top priority.
The first place to start is acknowledging the new reality—hybrid is here to stay. Employees today expect flexible working arrangements, and many are ready to leave a company that does not offer job flexibility. And as businesses grant employees more flexible working options, they benefit too. The NIH reports that flexible working leads to improved employee satisfaction and engagement, which are key drivers of productivity and retention of top talent.
A key tip for driving culture in a hybrid work environment is to make sure that comms are personalized and relevant for the employee. Start by learning about your employees, their needs, and what they care about, and ensure your comms align with those topics.
Last year, we conducted a survey and learned that 52% of employees would prefer more personalized communications from their employers, and 32% said that just including their name in the communications would make them feel more personalized and more connected to the business. Small touches of personalization like this can significantly impact your workforce, reducing turnover and impacting the bottom line.
The days of treating all employees the same are far behind us. If you’re still sending a single communication meant for everyone in your organization—and you have more than ten employees—then you might as well forget it. It doesn’t work.” —Joss Mathieson, Chief Encouragement Officer at Change Oasis
To effectively reach your workforce with comms that are personalized and relevant for the employee, the right technology is needed. If you’re interested in learning about how the Poppulo Harmony platform can help you reach the right employee, with the right information, at the right time, let us know, and we’ll be in touch.