Internal communications trends to watch in 2014
Shel Holtz, a principal of Holtz Communication + Technology has posted an interesting round-up of trends in Internal Communications for 2014. I’ve picked out four that resonate with me – matching what I’m hearing from customers and at internal communication conferences:
As Shel points out – BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a grass-roots movement that is happening in your organization whether you like it or not. But it’s an exciting time, as it opens up new opportunities for IC teams. It expands their ability to reach employees everywhere, for example: internal but unconnected (eg factory floor), external (eg retail) – and remote workers. Audit your email communication channel – make sure what you’re sending mobile friendly communications. Check your electronic employee newsletters templates- are they designed to render in all platforms and devices? And, measure where employees are consuming communications to understand how you need to change your strategy in reaching them.
According to one study, 72% of internal communications teams are planning to increase the use of video as a means of communicating with employees next year. Many organisations 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. Make sure you’re pushing out videos from your Intranet to reach all employees – ie embedding them in your email employee newsletters. (Download our How to use multimedia effectively in internal communications)
3. Communicating for engagement
Towers Watson and Gallup have long been connecting the dots between high-performing business and highly engaged employees. 2014 looks to be the year all organisations strive towards employee engagement. Shel suggests improving the channels through which employees’ collective and individual voices are heard. Another is to recast communications based on the stakeholder groups with which employees self-identify: work groups, project groups and the employee-supervisor relationship. (Watch my on-demand webinar: Drive Employee Engagement Through Communications, with case studies from Sears, Avery Dennison, Volvo and Aviva)
Here’s one that will surprise… While the periodical all-employee print publication won’t be making a big comeback, Shel says niche uses of print based on achieving measurable objectives are making a comeback in many companies. He uses the example of hospitals using print to get messages to nurses and other staff who don’t have access to the Intranet. Ensure your email communications are consumable by print – the template can be created to print out on an A4. Include a PDF version of the newsletter, and link it in the email. Alert line managers to the PDF of the newsletter, so they can print it out and put up in the canteen – or circulate to offline staff.
5. Employee influence measurement
A growing sphere for increasing employee engagement – peer-to-peer. Internal communicators should identify and work with those employees with high levels of influence and tap them for advocacy and ambassadorship roles. Shel highlighted how Microsoft is doing just this: they’re working with social measurement tool Klout to have an influence score appear on employee’s Yammer profiles based on their internal Yammer activity.