Internal communication is a key factor in the health of any enterprise. Ensuring that employees are engaged, in the loop, and on the same page is paramount. When it comes to internal communications implementing the right tools and strategies can be a challenge.
Recently, Gatehouse released the tenth addition to their annual “State of the Sector” report, which measures internal communications practices and trends from across the globe. The largest survey of internal communications professionals, this year’s report covered over 650 organizations, from 25 countries.
After an extensive reading of the report, here are our top five statistics and strategies for the future of internal communications.
1. Technology as a Barrier to Internal Communications
54% of respondents stated technology as a top barrier for internal communications, and it is not hard to see why. All too often it is not the technology that is the barrier, but rather the implementation and adoption of new technologies. Without a clear plan, and a follow through strategy new technologies can become a hindrance rather than a help.
Having a strategy in place that helps not only with the implementation, but also universal adoption allows new technology to be used to its fullest. Choosing technology that offers customer support, incentives for users, and analytics to help accurately measure performance sets you on the path to complete adoption and better engagement.
Bypass the frustration this statistic highlights, embrace technology by choosing the right fit, and creating a solid strategy for its implementation and continued use.
2. Improving Digital Channels
53% of respondents stated that a top priority was to improve digital channels within the upcoming year. Improving digital channels does not necessarily point to solely improving your technologies. Just like the above trend, strategy is key when it comes to improving the state of already existing, as well as incoming digital channels.
This means investing in long-term strategies for existing digital channels, to maximise the benefits that they can bring, and begin truly engaging users. Tools that bring these channels together in one central place, and offer customer support along the way can help improve low levels of engagement and offer a comprehensive solution to existing challenges.
Improving digital channels can be tricky. Being aware of key objectives gives you a clear outline of a usage strategy to improve existing channels. Have a comprehensive plan outlined, as well as a method to address these changes within your organisation to ensure that employees are comfortable with, and understand any and all improvements. Additionally, make use of the resources that are already available to you, such as customer support and analytics to help identify key areas in which you need to improve, as well as ensure employee adoption.
3. The Rise of Mobile
Within the survey, nearly three quarters, (73%) of respondents stated increased usage mobile would be a top priority. Mobile offers a level of flexibility that lends itself to greater levels of employee engagement. Remote workers and hard to reach employees are easier to access when mobile is introduced as a top option. Yet although 73% plan on increasing mobile use, it is also worth noting that roughly 40% of respondents rated mobile apps as ineffective forms of communication. Pointing to a need for overall mobile app improvement.
Top tips to remember when trying to increase mobile app usage:
– People often scroll when browsing on a mobile. Make sure your content is brief and to the point, that wat pertinent information is not overlooked.
– You must have responsive content. As screen sizes vary, it is important to remember that you want your content to appear correctly no matter what device employees are viewing it on.
4. The Debut of Video
For the first time in the history of the survey, video has been listed as a top digital channel, with 68% of respondents stating they believe video usage will increase by 68% over the coming 12 months. Video is an effective means of communication in that it is easily consumed, mobile friendly and has a higher entertainment value. Video also taps into helping employees to consume information on their own time, whether that be at the office, home, or during their commute.
Using video as a means of communication within your workplace can give your message an authentic voice- the imperfections that inevitably come with using live stream features allow users to feel more connected to the speaker and the message, which can help build relationships and create a sense of trust.
Make sure you use what is at your disposal to get the most out of this incredible channel, including features such as live video stream, and autoplay options. However, be sure not to overdo it. Start out using video for those events and information that you really want to focus in on and highlight, so that your collaborators are aware of focus areas when trying to sort through internal communications notifications.
5. The Need for Analytics
You cannot improve what you don’t measure. One of the more disappointing trends throughout this survey was that increasingly, organisations are not measuring the effectiveness and impact of their internal communications strategies. 70% of respondents state that independently conducted communication audits are the most effective form of feedback, however only 14% have leveraged this in the past year. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who don’t measure impact at all rose from 6% in 2017 to 12% for 2018.
Not knowing the impact and effectiveness of your strategies means that you cannot fix what may not be working. It may seem that measuring performance is far too time-consuming, however, it does not need to be. An annual survey of engagement and communications can provide you with a baseline and help you better understand global progress. On a smaller level, tap into built-in analytics tools and an outline of key performance indicators to help reduce time spent on performance measuring and reduce the cost of external audits. Keep records of performance throughout the year and note changes within your strategies to measure the impact of new initiatives.
Measuring your performance gives you clarity. Without knowing where you stand you cannot improve. Don’t fall into the 12%, keep track of your impact so that you can keep on top of key communications trends and properly invest in the channels and technology that will work for you.
The full “State of the Sector” report can be found here. For more on Sociabble internal communications check out some of our other articles below!