Employee Communications ~ 9 min

Why ‘Jugaad’ Will No Longer Work for Your Internal Communication

Krusha Sahjwani, Director, Asia, Sociabble
Krusha Sahjwani Director, Asia

A lot of us grew up wearing our sibling’s clothes. And why not? They did the job of clothing us and saved the family money on clothes we constantly outgrew. But there came a point where not having your own wardrobe became a liability.

Maybe an ill fitted tee toyed with your self esteem at an age where what you wore was a hot topic of conversation. Or maybe not being able to define your sense of style created poor first impressions that cost you a college or a job interview. That’s when the decision to purchase new clothes was deemed a wise one. The jugaad mindset would no longer cut it. It was in fact costing you in various forms.

What is the concept of jugaad?

The Hindi word ‘Jugaad’ describes an improvised or makeshift solution using scarce resources. It’s a way of life in India, where washing machines are used for whipping up yogurt drinks, but it’s also an innovation theory that’s proving to be increasingly influential in the marketing departments of Western corporations.

And today I need to tell you that in 2024 your internal communications is all grown up too.

Why is it important to move away from a “jugaad” mindset in internal communication? Because your employee communications is aching for its own sense of style and the chance to define its own personality to your internal audience. Maybe for the past decade or more you made do with an older static intranet, or something that existed as a freebie as part of a larger package of other tools, or you even relied on a frugal innovation of your own for internal communication. But I’m here to tell you that while that may have served you well in the past at a time where wearing your sibling’s clothes had lower risks, the time for a jugaad mindset for your communication channels has passed.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking. He can probably wear those clothes for another year. Staff communication isn’t priority. Business goals can be met regardless. Our communication channels aren’t broken. Requested information is already being circulated company wide. There is no budget for employee communication. So what are the risks associated with relying on a “jugaad” approach for employee communication? Allow me to expand on what is at stake today if you don’t invest in effective internal communication.

Restrictive IT mindset:

There may have been a time where employee communications was only about building technology. But today it is as much a subject of change management and culture as it is of technology. When you’re stuck in the loop of only working with IT vendors or having your team focus on only IT requirements, you are losing out on the expertise to manage the more delicate and important subjects of employee engagement such as how to understand, educate and partner with employees to create a truly informed and engaged workforce.

Single touch point:

In the past, most of our workforce could be found at one office space and were expected to access one single platform for all their needs. In today’s world of social media, employees access more than three applications in just five minutes. And yet companies continue to communicate with their employees through just one channel.

Our workforce is dynamic and non conventional. Employees work from the office space, from the client’s office, from home or our frontline employees are working from the factories or stores even. Your internal communication needs to reach them wherever they are. Whether this is on MS Teams, on email newsletters, on the web, in the form of intranet widgets, on digital signage screens or especially on the mobile.

jugaad no longer work for internal comms - mobile platform

Information overload:

Create your communication in a way that it is tailored to employees based on their profile, department, language or interests

For a long time we saw the job of internal communication was simply seen as relaying information to the company. It was put up on the one medium the employees always read and that was that. However, its harder to simply drop off the information as you used to before. Imagine you hand deliver it in a post to the employee’s house. In the past, they would receive it, read it and spend time with it.

However, now when you drop it off, its lost in a pile of several such letters. And the employee is so tired from reading so many letters, he/she may not even pick it up and bring it inside their home. And if they do, they find so much information there, that once again they are lost or disinterested very soon. It is thus very important that we relay information correctly.

What does that mean? Firstly, the frequency of communication must hit the sweet spot so the employee is excited by the arrival of the virtual letter as opposed to exhausted by it. And secondly, it must be curated based on the relevance and interests of the said employee.

For example, if someone is interested in cars, they are likely to pick that letter up from the pile first. So create your communication in a way that it is tailored to employees based on their profile, department, language, interests etc.

The water cooler data collection model:

In India, the trusted way of judging the success of internal communications was by gauging the conversations at the water cooler. Were employees talking about it? The message was received. Was the conversation positive? The message was successful.

However, are employees are no longer always to be found at the water coolers and the nuances of data required go far beyond simply positive or negative. You need to be able to understand what content format is working, which day of the week should you send out your internal communication and at what time, and then be able to slice and dice this data for every different audience group in the company.

jugaad no longer work for internal comms - analytics dashboard

Employee engagement:

Internal communications job was restricted to sending out information and the job of employee engagement was often in the hands of a different department who ran Rangoli contests to tick that box. It worked for a certain period of time.

However, once again, employee engagement must go beyond the walls of the office today and in any case Rangoli competitions have become a lot trickier with the need for organic colors 🙂 Today the internal communication platform must also serve the needs of engaging employees. This could include badges, leaderboards, kudos. Employee recognition is key. The rewards must also be reworked. A large percentage of your workforce now would be millennials and Gen Z and they are looking for purpose in their work. For example, gifting employees with points that can be converted into actual trees being planted in reforestation projects is a wise (and noble) strategy for effective internal communication.


Internal communications must be two-way.It can longer simply include top-down communication and must make space for bottom-up and peer-to-peer communication channels. Similarly, surveys can also no longer just be basic polls and questions. Your internal communications platform must have an inbuilt advanced survey tool which allows for multi-question, single question, anonymous, branded surveys that can also be targeted to specific employee groups only.

First impression:

You could wear your sibling’s clothes for years and no one bats an eye or at least you don’t notice. Until one day, you have that college interview or the job interview and you must dress to impress. The stakes are now higher. Its the same with your internal communication platform today. A desktop-first traditional wall layout with a lot of blank space is not enticing.

Your internal communication platform must be mobile-first, branded to your company colors and have a modern and contemporary UI/UX. It helps create a sense of belonging and match the user experience to the apps your employee is used to using outside of work such as Pinterest or Instagram.

Document Access:

Some things still work like they used to. Case in point: SharePoint. However, they too require the support of your internal communication platform. Today if an employee is at the client office and needs to showcase some marketing material but cannot access SharePoint, they need to be able to access these kind of documents quickly on their phone. Or let’s say an employee is on the move and wants to check the update on the maternity policy, once again, being able to access this in that moment while on the go is of huge help and would create a positive experience for your internal communications.

The possibility to have a hierarchical organization of folders and document with fine-grained rights management and replicate key SharePoint documents within your internal communication platform is a big plus.

The busy administrator:

Project teams today are also evolving and have a lot on their plate. And it is important to note that the teams managing internal communication for the company are not always extremely tech savvy as that isn’t they key criteria when hiring for their roles.

They thus need an internal communication platform that is easy to use with a governance structure that can be easily set up and managed from a single screen with simple tutorials for a centralized or decentralized organization. Governance across multisite intranet gets complex. Time saving with the use of safe AI practices is key to win in the game of internal communications today.

jugaad no longer work for internal comms - AI

Third party integrations:

None of us can exist independently with zero support from others and your internal communication platform is no different. It needs the immediate ability to aggregate external information feeds (text, image, video) from corporate websites, LinkedIn, X and more. It also benefits from the ability of speaking to your internal tools such as your HRMS.

A lot of you probably already know its time for the upgrade to your internal communications. Just like you knew when it was time for your own wardrobe. But when you’ve never had to shop for clothes, the question of where to shop is haunting. And it is no different with internal communication.

You now understand what you need and want but where do you begin your search? I’d like to help. Check out Sociabble. And if history is any indication, your search shall probably end here.

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