Mind the Gap: What it Takes to Get on the Same Page as Your Employees
— July 31st, 2022
Communication teams play a critical role in engaging employees, adapting to new ways of working, and, ultimately, driving business goals.
But a disconnect has formed between how internal communicators perceive their work and the reality of the employees they're responsible for reaching.
This disconnect was revealed in the findings of an FWI | Poppulo survey of over 4,000 employees and internal comms professionals. You can find out the full results of our survey in this whitepaper, or keep reading for the main takeaways.
A Shift in What We Do, Where We Work, and How We Reach Our Workers
As a result of the pandemic, the global work landscape has undergone massive changes, and there’s been a shift in not only where we work, but also the breakdown of job roles and responsibilities.
Employee Comms: The Perceptions, The Presumptions, The Reality
Unsurprisingly, our survey found that there’s been a clear increase in employees working hybrid, part-time in the office, or fully remote positions, and a 9% decrease in employees working full time from a traditional office.
In further evidence of this, 85% of Internal Communicators surveyed have seen more hybrid worker job roles since the start of the pandemic and over half have seen more fully remote workers in the same timeframe.
It’s clear that we aren’t working in the same way we used to—but what impact does this have on employee comms? Both employees and communicators feel that the way we communicate is changing, but they differ on how it’s changed.
A total of 54% of Internal Communicators say they use more channels to communicate since the pandemic started than before. However, only 23% of employees surveyed say the same.
On the flip side, 75% of employees and 80% of Internal Communicators surveyed say communication has changed since the pandemic began and agree that this is for the better.
Employee Communications Preferences Have Changed
In addition to a shift in the way that IC teams are communicating with employees, there’s also been a shift in the way that employees prefer to be reached. As a result of the pandemic, 54% of employees surveyed say the way they like to be communicated to changed compared to before the pandemic.
But, in a notable divergence of views on this point between the people receiving the comms and those responsible for delivering them, 71% of Internal Communicators think employees have changed how they like to be communicated with, compared to before the pandemic. This is not an insignificant disconnect between perception and reality in workplace comms today.
Furthermore, most employees (52%) want to be communicated to more often than pre-pandemic, and 51% want to be communicated to in a different way than before.
The majority of internal communicators (66%)agree that the way employees want to be communicated to has changed, but only 48%think employees want more frequent comms.
Employees are more likely to engage with information about health and safety and work policy updates rather than company events and culture
When it comes to the channels that are used for internal comms, 54% of Internal Communicators say they communicate on more channels since the pandemic.
A majority of both employees and communicators say that email is one of their top two preferred comms methods—but the most-preferred comms method is in-person, suggesting that employees and Internal Communicatorsboth miss in-office interaction.
How Well Do Employers Know Their Employees
The primary factor in the growing gap between employee perception and reality of internal comms is how well organizations know their employees.
Four out of five Internal Communicators surveyed think their organization knows its employees well, whereas seven out of 10 employees surveyed say they believe their employer knows them well.
The survey revealed a desire among employees for more meaningful connection with their company, with 52% saying they would prefer communication from their employer to be more personalized.
Of the employees who feel that their employers don't know them well, they say it's because the company doesn't have much contact with them. Here are the top three challenges Internal Communicators face in getting to know employees well:
1. Not having enough time or resources
2. Having a disparate workforce
3. Having a large workforce
Looking Forward: A Shift in Communications Investment
To mitigate some of the current disconnect between employee sentiment and the reality of internal comms, the majority (65%) of Internal Communicators say their companies are investing in employee comms over the next 12 months.
It’s clear that improvements need to be made—in fact, only 1% of Internal Communicators don’t think that they could do anything differently to communicate with their audience better. Here are the top three improvements that communicators agree they can make to improve internal comms:
1. Make comms more interesting (71%)
2. Make comms more tailored to people’s preferences (70%)
3. Making comms more tailored to personas (60%)
It’s clear that there’s a gap between the way that employees perceive internal communications and the way that internal comms teams are actually delivering information to employees.
But as a leader in employee comms and workplace technology, FWI | Poppulo knows how to eliminate that gap and reach employees the way they want to be reached. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help improve communications at your organization, fill out this form and one of our representatives will reach out.