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on April 4, 2018 Internal Communications Human Resources Future of work Employee Engagement Company Culture Messaging Tools

Five Internal Communications Trends You Need To Know

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You’re probably already aware of the rapid change in the way in which we communicate in our daily life and on social media. These same trends are permeating the world inside the office just as much as they are our personal lives, impacting internal communications.

Although email communication is still as important as ever, most people now expect to be able to communicate via mobile apps, instant messaging and social media in the workplace as well.

To be at the top of your internal communication game, here are some trends to be aware of.

1. From long surveys, to quick polls

Long employee engagement surveys are going the wayside. Instead, engage with your employees with quick pulse surveys embedded within all your content.

Instead of asking employees to fill out a lengthy survey once per year, or following major events — such a open enrollment or “All Hands” — corporations are utilizing quick polls and pulse surveys to receive more frequent, timely feedback.

Doing this demonstrates to your employees that you care about their perspective. Regularly asking for feedback fosters a company culture that believes in openness, trust and transparency.

When initiatives such as a surveys are presented infrequently, your organization is treating feedback as a special occasion. By making 2-way communication a regular practice — such as embedding 1-question polls into all internal communications — you make gathering feedback a habit. When this is a practice, it is easier to reap the benefits of an open culture.

In our experience at backstitch working with organizations of different sizes and industries, we’ve discovered that when you move toward shorter, more frequent requests for feedback, response rates are higher than what is typically seen from lengthier surveys. And on top of that, they are often more honest.

2. Creating and sharing videos

Make your content entertaining. Add a little bit of video and other rich media files to improve your internal communications.

You don’t have to deploy fancy and expensive video equipment to begin sharing and communicating with video in your organization. No matter the level of video production, video is an incredibly effective way of communicating important information.

With video, ideas can be communicated more rapidly than text, as it generally takes less time to listen than it does to read. Video is also seen as more engaging and fun than most forms of communication, which can lead to increased comprehension.

Although this trend is being adopted everywhere, it is growing especially strong amongst members of the Millennial and Generation Z generations, who are more likely to engage with video than text. As technological trends evolve, video is becoming a staple in all forms of communication — including internal.

We predict that this trend of video is going to continue to grow and be used more and more in an internal communications setting. In the near future, we’re going to be seeing more CEOs, project managers and team leaders sending quick updates to members of the organization via video. In doing so, they can include more personality in their messaging.

3. Dedicated IC teams

Internal communications may fall upon the shoulders of different departments, like corporate communications or human resources. Things may be even more hectic, if multiple departments all handle different flavors of internal comms. Instead, try to dedicate these tasks to a single portion of your organization.

Who is in charge of internal communications in your organization?

Is it your human resources department, your public relations team, marketers or other corporate communicators? Often, internal communications teams are a mix of all of these professionals.

But, things are trending more and more toward organizations developing a dedicated IC team. With dedicated teams, communicators are specialized in the art and science of employee communication — much how marketers are specialized toward speaking to customers.

Also read: What to do if your company doesn't have an official IC department?

Specialized communicators brings intentionality to your internal messages, which can increase engagement. And as employee engagement has become more than just a popular buzzword lately, leaders are beginning to take internal communications more seriously — which has led to the rise in increased budgets to support IC departments.

4. Making content accessible outside the office

Many companies now offer BYOD, where employees are allowed to utilize their own personal devices for work. Flip that model around, and increase flexibility by allowing your employees to access internal communications outside the office.

As modern corporate culture becomes more distributed and flexible, it is even more important for companies to ensure that information is both accessible and secure.

Instead of keeping access to all employee communication materials within the confines of an office or onsite network, organizations are now deploying solutions that will allow employees to also access information on their personal mobile devices.

For the growing number of organizations that have deployed single-sign on, employees don’t even need to remember a new username or password to access pertinent employee information — whether they are at the office, at home or working in the field.

More sophisticated communication platforms like backstitch can even allow organizations to determine what level of security is needed for each type of content.  

For example, benefits information might be helpful if  shared with spouses and dependents. If white papers could be useful for partners, or if internal engagement articles could be useful for recruitment purposes — these pieces could also be made available for select audiences.

5. Unbundling of the Traditional Intranet

The traditional intranet is a relic from a bygone era in corporate communications. Instead, simplify your communications process and make your internal comms accessible to as many employees as possible.

Only 13 percent of employees report that they participate in their company’s intranet daily with 31 percent never participating. Knowing this, it comes at no surprise that the traditional intranet system is being reinvented.

Most intranets start out with good intentions — a central hub for everything internal. But, these systems can fast becomes a tangled mess of outdated documents, un targeted legacy content, and a repository of hard to navigate links to every tool under the sun.

As organizations modernize their technology stack, they are moving toward managed, cloud-hosted applications and adopting software-as-a-service tools for departments. Not only does this strategy help companies stay more on top of the latest technology as it develops, it also benefits from significant cost savings in IT infrastructure and maintenance .

One major trend leading the charge to the evolving intranet system is the adoption of secure hosted file storage. Popular examples of these include Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Box and Dropbox.  

Now that document management can be better handled off the intranet, this has led the way for purpose-driven employee engagement tools such as backstitch to host organization’s content, communications and additional benefits all in one platform.

In addition, backstitch provides other benefits, such as personalized experiences, improved accessibility and peer-to-peer discussion tools. We expect the modern-day approach to employee communications to continue to evolve, offering more benefits that put employees first and improve access to information.

Click here to learn more about the backstitch platform

Curious about new internal communications trends for 2019? Read our updated list for new HR technology trends for 2019 and email trends to borrow for your internal company newsletter so you can be prepared for all the new changes coming your way.

Jordan Warzecha

CEO & Co-Founder of backstitch