Employee CommsStrategyHR

Streamline, Simplify: It’s Time to Focus on an Audience-Centric Experience


 — May 24th, 2024

Streamline, Simplify: It’s Time to Focus on an Audience-Centric Experience
We’re all very excited about artificial intelligence and communication. Conversations about technology have exploded across the Internet, but sometimes I think we forget the people.

We’re in the interesting position of not only needing to get up to speed with the different branches of AI, from process automation to generative AI to help us produce content, but we also have a huge role in helping our people become comfortable with AI.

For us to be successful, our internal communicators, our people and culture teams, and our digital experts need to work closely together for business success. We need to clean up the channels and data we have, rethink how we do things in our teams, and also help get our colleagues on board with the tech they need to use right now.

Generative AI for Employee Comms—And Leveraging Poppulo AI

Time to Clean Up

During the pandemic, we implemented new channels and gave our people more tools to communicate. Now, we need to clean up and streamline our channels.

It is almost like we unwrapped new toys at our birthday party and pulled them out of the boxes, leaving them all over the room. Strands of ribbons, wrapping paper, and some toys. Now, we have the not-so-fun job of thinking about what we’d actually like to play with. Cleaning up the extra bits and bobs, organizing what we want to use, giving away old toys that we no longer need, and generally putting in the work to having a clean and organized room.

We’re all old enough to know that if we leave things laying about we’re likely to trip, break something or not be able to find what we need. It takes time, but we know we need to do it.

 For example, last year, an organization I worked with had not only two different video conferencing platforms but also a multitude of different chat channels and document storage options. It was hugely confusing for employees as they never knew where to find information or where they had communicated with someone. 

One of the common challenges any digital workplace professional will share with you is that our documents, data, and intranet content also need cleaning up to make our AI-powered searches effective.

A simple channel matrix will help you explain to your people which tools to use and when. Watch out for those shadow IT channels, the ones like WhatsApp, where you don’t have any visibility over what is being said.

Why is this important? Aside from knowledge management issues, as an employer you have a duty of care for your employees. I’ve worked with a few organizations now who have had challenges on their digital platforms with appropriate online etiquette. Racist comments, derogatory comments. They are happening on corporate channels publicly, not only behind the scenes via email. If they are officially endorsed channels (even if it is just a line manager), you are responsible for keeping your people accountable and safe. 

Rethinking the Way We Do Things

Some communicators are talking about being innovative but are really tinkering at the edges. We need to be bold.
How could you reshape your work processes to take advantage of new features that are becoming available? What training does your team need to be comfortable? We need to think not about where things are now but where they could be and plan for this.

Since September I’ve been running a number of workshops with clients and their communication teams on the basics of AI (and in particular generative AI). 

One of the things I focused on was encouraging team members to share their personal experiences with using different AI tools. I was constantly amazed at the broad spectrum of personal comfort. Some people had already implemented sophisticated automation and data analysis or language translation modules for their comms, while other people were terrified of needing to learn anything to do with AI-generating content or where they should start with learning about prompts.

Helping our Colleagues Get Comfortable

In a chapter I wrote in mid-2023 and in my upcoming book Internal Communication in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, I outlined how we can support people in our organization in adopting AI tools, particularly as fear of the new is a big barrier to adoption.

I often try to think of the risk of not doing something. The risk with technology adoption is that there is becoming a huge technology inequality, not only in terms of what companies offer their employees but also the employee’s abilities and comfort across the organization.

Keep Things Simple and Streamlined

As you head into the rest of this year, avoid those feelings of FOMO as everyone makes a lot of noise about the new toys they’re playing with. Get your own place in order, work out what you really need and where you want to go.

Sitting on your hands after the party isn’t going to make everything clean and tidy. We’ll all have to do work this year to avoid becoming left behind. The trick will be keeping focused on what is really important to you and your team’s success.
  • Internal Communication in an Age of Artificial Intelligence will be published on 30 May 2024 by Business Expert Press, NYC. It is now available for pre-order from Business Expert Press or your local Amazon store.

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