Time marches on in the business world. And people improve upon what worked in the past. Sometimes, these improvements are small. But sometimes big changes make entire strategies and systems obsolete.
Right now, we’re living through a transformative period in comms. Organizations are taking a long look at the benefits of internal communications. And so, they’re coming to the conclusion that they have to invest more into it – if they want to stay competitive.
The big challenge is the technologies and strategies that worked in the past no longer do. So, there’s been a huge shift in how people consume and distribute information. That means legacy comms solutions like email, desktop message boards, and basic intranet systems can’t keep up.
Maybe you’re wondering what’s driving internal communications now those tools are past their best? The answer is employee engagement. Companies investing in internal communication ideas, tools, and tech? They need to be sure they are doing more than just conveying information.
Modern internal communications planning is about reinforcing the company culture. Relieving worker frustrations. Empowering everyone to do a great job. And making sure employees feel they have a place and a voice in a company.
This new iteration of internal communications planning isn’t a set it and forget it kind of deal. Successful companies aren’t just investing in mobile intranet systems or apps and calling it a day. They’re tracking use, analyzing how employees are engaging with those systems, and refining their internal communications strategies over and over again.
What is internal communication?
We know about the value of internal comms. So, it’s shocking how many people still ask, ‘What is internal communication?’ The answer is simple. Internal communication is any transmission of information between members of an organization. It’s anything from company-wide announcements to inter-team collaboration.
Many companies make broad assumptions about employee communication. Something to the tune of, ‘If no one has complained, it’s probably okay‘. However, internal comms is a critical part of an organization’s operations.
Businesses with strong internal communications have more engaged, more productive, and happier employees. They also have less employee turnover and make more money. How? Here’s one example. Studies by IDC show employees spend 20% of their time looking for the information they need to do their jobs. Simply making that information easier to access can increase revenue per employee significantly.
Clearly, communication matters when it comes to a company’s bottom line. It also has a big impact on the employee experience — which in turn has an effect on turnover rates and productivity. Gallup found companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their competitors by 147%.
What hasn’t changed in internal communication?
Internal comms is still about the transmission of information. And so, any internal communications planning has to recognize multiple avenues of communication. Comms shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of any one individual or even a single team. Therefore, everyone in an organization has to buy in to a comms strategy for it to work.
Internal communications planning is about creating a culture of cohesion, trust, and transparency. It needs to be timely and targeted, and whatever tools and technology a company adopts need to be easy to use.
Gallup wrote in the Harvard Business Review that communication is “the basis of any healthy relationship, including the one between an employee and his or her manager. [Consistent communication]—whether it occurs in person, over the phone, or electronically—is connected to higher engagement.”
What’s so different about modern internal communications planning?
Comms plays a different role in organizations than it used to. Therefore, email, meetings, and your old intranet isn’t enough. It’s no longer just about disseminating updates, schedules, and HR info. To be effective, a comms strategy should focus on engagement. Let’s break down what that looks like:
Using communication tools that work for everyone
This can get complicated. On-site employees and deskless, frontline, remote, and even gig workers staff most companies. However, the Bring Your Own Device trend made it more challenging to find technology for everyone.
The best tools are versatile and mobile, like Blink’s employee engagement app. It reaches employees in the field. It doesn’t require sitting down at a computer to use. And it integates seamlessly with other apps. And mployees only have to log into one portal instead of switching between programs.
Making communication mobile and more like social media
Smartphones changed the way we communicate and collaborate at home. And most employees prefer comms solutions similar to the applications they use outside of work. The best internal communications strategies and tools are mobile-friendly. Because they let workers use their own devices. And they’re as easy to understand and use as social media.
Involving everyone at every level
Everyone should have a role to play in creating a culture of open communication in the workplace. Today’s employees expect communication to be a two-way street. Deskless workers want the opportunity to communicate their concerns and share their ideas.
Leadership should take part in comms by sharing information and listening to feedback. With an employee intranet app like Blink, you can take advantage of opportunities to solicit ideas from your workers. They may surprise you with their level of insight.
Giving more frequent feedback
Millennial employees want and expect to receive a lot of feedback from their managers. And so, more organizations are moving away from yearly or quarterly reviews. Companies give feedback in real-time via tools like Blink.
These provide a platform for showcasing exceptional employees and teams. Companies receive and act on feedback more than ever. Soliciting employee feedback (often in the form of anonymous polls) has become the norm. That’s because employers want to know what they can do to engage their workers and enhance the employee experience.
Keeping lines of communication open
Many large organizations have spent top dollar building custom branded intranets. Then they discover communication was only flowing in one direction – or wasn’t flowing at all. Management might publish news, calendars, procedural manuals, and other formal content that was never seen. Intranets were boring and the very antithesis of engaging.
Employee communication apps like Blink, on the other hand, inspire openness and engagement. Teams can share all kinds of content – not just text memos and documents. So they can make comms more interesting. Workers can post and share, too, which means they have a stake in comms and feel heard and understood.
Having fewer meetings
Modern internal communications tools are disruptive in the best possible way. Because they replace lengthy but unnecessary face-to-face meetings and endless email threads. Emails and chats can both be part of a solid comms strategy, but in many cases, a quick post or message in the employee app can replace them. That way, they won’t interrupt an employee’s flow.
Adopting a more integrated approach
Companies on the leading edge of internal communication strategies look at comms as an integrated system. They aren’t just a way to share information. After all, a bulletin board can do that. It’s also finding it, receiving it, interacting with it, and editing it.
The comms tools your company adopts should be able to meet multiple needs. Blink does that by automating communication between the tools and apps your workforce already uses. So, employees spend less time switching between programs and more time engaging with work.
Using more productive communication technologies
Old school intranets got the job done when it came to centralizing information. But they weren’t enthralling to use, so people didn’t use them all that often. Modern comms technologies like Blink are highly customizable.
They have robust but also easy-to-use integration and automation features. They look and feel more like social media. And they do a lot to foster collaborative work between teams and departments. This ensures workers don’t waste valuable time on administrative tasks or searching for the information they need.
Tracking how employees use communication tools
Have you ever considered key metrics when it comes to internal communication? You should be looking at whether workers are using those tools, as well as how and when they’re using them. Which elements of those tools aren’t getting used, which messages aren’t read. Blink doesn’t just track basic metrics. It also provides stats for every post on every feed so you can easily measure the reach and the impact of your internal communications.
The key to enhancing internal communications at your organization
Is your company is still relying on old internal communication ideas, strategies, and tools? If so, it probably won’t be long before your comms-minded competitors outpace you. That means there has never been a better time to invest in an internal comms strategy update. It’s difficult to overtstate the impact of effective communications on employee engagement.