It’s no secret that many workers feel they are drowning in a sea of communications, unable to distinguish between important messages and those destined for the spam folder.
The explosion of electronic communications puts renewed importance on every company’s internal communications function — and makes it a priority for companies to find effective ways to cut through the clutter.
I spoke with Sarah Perry, CEO of SnapComms, an award-winning company that develops employee communications software. Sarah shared five ways to keep internal communications riveting and effective; communications that get heard.
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1. The spotlight on internal communications
“What makes an organization awesome? It’s people,” Perry said. And the emphasis on getting employees engaged and passionate about their place of work, instilling a shared sense of purpose and belonging, has rocketed up the C-Suite’s priority list.
And guess who’s expected to create that vibrant culture? The internal communications team! They are charged with thinking of new ways to grab employee attention by utilizing fresh and creative internal communications methods.
“E-mail — that old internal communications standby — often goes ignored, unread, or unopened,” she said. “These days, two out of three major organizations have invested in specialized software to communicate with employees. Internal communications need to cut through the day-to-day information tsunami in an engaging, productive manner, and email just isn’t it.”
2. Multi-format content is more popular than ever
As “all staff” e-mails continue to dwindle, visual messaging is increasing. Video, infographics, and animated presentations are increasingly used for internal communications. These allow a brand’s personality to shine through and foster a deeper connection with employees.
“Push” messaging is playing a much bigger role, too, with tools such as scrolling desktop tickers and desktop alerts making push messaging more “real time” and stimulating. But don’t worry, we don’t anticipate virtual reality goggles to be part of the internal communications mix just yet. (Although just imagine how effective these could be for training on subjects like compliance, ethics, and cyber security!)
3. Podcasts rule
“Podcasts are the new darlings for internal communication methods,” Perry explained. “They’re inexpensive to produce, quick to turn around, and perfect for uber-busy people with zero tolerance for downtime. Multi-tasking-types love podcasts, particularly when stuck in traffic, sitting on a bus, or out for a run.” Podcasts are the ideal vehicle to share company messaging in a way that doesn’t effect your team’s productivity.
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4. Employee collaboration tools – love ‘em or hate ‘em?
Few things divide the internal communications world like the use of collaboration apps. Some internal communications teams rave about tools such as Slack and Yammer, as they inspire conversation, innovation, and the sharing of ideas. Others find them to be major distractions and productivity-sappers, creating an environment of “too many cooks.”
It depends on what works best for your team and whether or not those tools fit seamlessly into your company culture. “We see the collaboration apps divide getting bigger as more tools become available,” Perry said, “and we predict much tighter controls over their usage.”
5. Increased demand for meaningful measurement
Internal communication validation tools are in hot demand by internal communicators; they provide essential intelligence on the effectiveness of internal communication methods. This matters most for issues surrounding compliance, ethics, and security. Information such as who has or hasn’t read a message, downloaded a document, responded to a training quiz, and so much more, helps to identify yet-to-comply staff or those who require further training.
“Rather than a box to be checked or a page from the employee handbook to be referred to every once in a while, it’s important to remember that internal communication is the lifeblood that courses through every organization’s system,” Perry said. “Companies ignore the importance of communicating well internally at their peril. Corporate culture starts with good communications.”
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