The Importance of (Inclusive) Internal Communications in 2019

Why old school intranets are passé and the time is ripe for an internal communications revolution. Here is our tips on how to create a consumer grade UX for your employees and measure the impact.

If you’ve ever worked in internal communications in a midsize to large company you know the feeling: a lot of people think you don’t contribute as much to the bottomline as they do. Why? Because they don’t see the value in what you do. Managers are hard to get a hold of when you reach out to them to write an article, the intranet is a punchline among employees and is considered a black hole for outdated information, and the “pseudo news site” format of the content totally lacks credibility. There is a general vibe that what you do isn’t quite as important as what (insert department) is doing.

Do your employees know why decisions are made?

And that is a source of frustration for the many talented professionals doing their best to enlighten, engage and excite their colleagues – not to mention unfair. A lot of hard work is being put into creating content that doesn’t get the reach it deserves. In a big global survey only 27% of internal communication professionals thought that employees had a good understanding of why leaders made the decisions they do. A quite clear indication of the fact that there is something missing, before they can perform in an optimal way and deliver the results they were hired to do.

But does this situation say anything about the importance of internal communications? No. Employees in all companies NEED to communicate in order to collaborate and succeed. Especially for people working in industries where they are not sitting in front of a computer most of the day. Among those non-desk employees, 84% say that they don’t receive enough communication to do their job effectively.

What it DOES say something about though is two things:

  1. The need to give internal communications a massive overhaul! In 2019 companies need to provide a consumer-grade employee experience that is as engaging and intuitive as the interfaces, apps and content that employees consume when they are off work.
  2. The lack of ability to measure the impact of internal communications in the same way that sales, IT or even HR (to a certain extent) are able to do.

But how do you go about addressing those two challenges?

Let’s start with the first one:

How to Create Consumer Grade UX

The bad news is that your standard enterprise systems aren’t up to par. The good news? There is a bunch of great tools out there for you to utilise. Tools that can do everything the stale old enterprise systems frustratingly don’t allow you to do in the same way.

What you need to look for is apps or platforms that give your employees a smooth, fun and nice experience that sparks excitement. It should definitely not feel as an extra task in an already busy work day. And especially the digitally native, younger generations, Y and Z, will have a lot less tolerance for outdated internal communication. You will come a long way if you introduce a platform that:

  • Has a consumer grade user experience where IT security doesn’t sacrifice usability.
  • Allows you to go all in on visual content so video, GIF’s and images becomes as big part of internal communications as employees are used to from their media usage off work.
  • Has a very strong social element to it. Top down communication is SO last year and a strong company wide social network is a great way to boost engagement and knowledge sharing.

How to Measure Impact

Fortunately the two can go hand in hand. If you go for the right solution, not only will you be able to create and distribute great content in a better and more engaging way, but you will also get a much better idea of the impact of your internal communications efforts. Both on day to day editorial level that will enable you to tweak and improve your content but also on a more strategic level, which is of course crucial in order to demonstrate towards management and other company stakeholders that you are making an impact.

Start the Revolution

Look for an app, tool or platform with a powerful analytics functionality that lets you see how many employees open your messages, engages with the content and interact with each other. And if you’re then also able to closely follow the development in employee engagement, you are on track for a strong business case. Just consider this statistic from the leading management consulting company in the world, McKinsey: When employees feel connected at work, productivity improves by 25%.

If you want more tips to improve your employee engagement, have a look at our e-book “Optimizing Employee Lifetime Value:

 

Optimize Employee Lifetime Value in 2019 - Download the Ebook