The world of internal communications is constantly evolving. Not so long-ago internal communications and company policies were still paper based, today this is evolving into paperless offices and communication in the digital age. Even though the channels used for internal communications have changed quite drastically, the core principle has remained focused on training and engaging employees. Internal communications embrace the change in workforce behaviour and put the power to communicate in the hands of every employee.
Before the advances of new technologies, corporate internal communications were generally very poor. It was mainly represented by telephone calls, emails and meetings. Accessibility to technology was much more limited and paper printing was relatively expensive. When it comes to helping drive employee engagement and collaboration, the traditional “suggestions box” or paper feedback form is no longer meeting expectations.
Employees now favor real-time multimedia communications that can be available on any device, anywhere in the world. This information is having a huge influence on how organisations communicate with their employees. The cloud now allows companies to send virtually limitless communication to employees, forever changing the frequency in which they interact with each other.
Six of the worlds seven billion people now have mobile phones, and most of them use their phones for some form of internal corporate communication. Communication has been going mobile for some time now and desktop computers have become a relic, with many workforce’s being largely desk less. Internal communication must now adapt to mobile workforce that communicate mainly through their phones.
Modernising these processes can create new habits and behaviours from employees. Using technologies that match their habits outside of work is a way to help the workforce adapt to the changing workplace. The fast pace of technology is somewhat of a challenge for organisations when it comes to keeping up with the latest trends and staying in the digital age. However, embracing mobile technology can reduce barriers to communication, increase productivity and enhance company culture.
Creating a digital workplace can be an excellent way to adapt to these changing needs of the workforce. The concept of the digital workplace can be particularly beneficial for distributed workforce’s that spend large amounts of time away for the physical office. It is important that employees have the same “head office” experience with the same company branding, content & communication when they are working remotely.
Research shows that employees respond well to a consistent user experience across desktop and mobile. Transparency and knowledge sharing is key when it comes to making employees feel connected and giving them a voice within the workplace. This helps drive employee engagement and helps employees feel that they are part of the organisation even when they are not on site.
The classic top-down model of corporate communication no longer works as digital technology has flattened the communications gap between management and employees. Organisations are seeing the benefits of humanising their leadership and the days of unapproachable senior leadership is fading out. Internal communications now needs to be two way, for employees to feel engaged, listened to and not just told. An engaged employee feels as though they can be heard and has a platform to voice their opinion. The effort for collaboration must now come from both sides where feedback and ideas are tracked from the very beginning and employees have the platform to submit their ideas and have their questions answered.
Today’s digital internal communications platforms facilitate the instant sharing of content at any time. This ensures that the right information reaches those who need it at the right time easily. This is important again for largely distributed workforce’s, ensuring that employees who are offsite get important notifications in real time about company news and any training that needs to be completed. It also allows them to have instant access to shared knowledge and information they may need to get their job done efficiently and effectively.
Internal communications have evolved far in the digital age. Having an office landline seems like history today thanks to social media and email. Companies must now enable their employees to communicate on multiple channels and remove any barriers that might prevent them from communicating easily and instantly. Management must now discover where and how their employees are communicating and adapt to keep them engaged.