Internal Communications best practices, when used correctly, can make the difference between having a workforce that is informed and engaged, or having employees who are out of the loop. Discover 5 new tips for 2021 that can help your business succeed moving forward.
Internal Communications is a critical, but often overlooked component of how companies manage a two-way flow of information. Just like a machine has gears that need oil to run smoothly, relevant information spread effectively within an organization can ensure that all the different parts move together efficiently, and in harmony. But knowing how to ensure that critical information gets to the right people at the right time isn’t always easy—especially now that modes of digital communication are changing, and more traditional channels like email and intranets are falling by the wayside, with social media and mobile devices filling in the gap. In this article, we’ll share our latest tips and best practices for optimizing your company’s Internal Communication process in this new, digital, and very social age.
In this article, you will learn:
1. Why Internal Communication Strategy Best Practices Matter in 2021
2. How to Create the Perfect Content Mix
3. The Importance of a Powerful IC Tool
4. The Crucial Role of Mobile Technology
5. Global & Local Communication to Improve Internal Communication
6. The Need for Data Analytics for Effective Internal Communication
7. How to Learn More
Why Internal Communication Strategy Best Practices Matter in 2021
A good employee communication strategy helps employees stay engaged and aligned, which in turn helps them to achieve the company’s business objectives in the short and long term. And this has more or less always been the case. However, things have changed drastically over the course of the past year, and in 2021, and likely 2022 as well, there are two new factors to consider:
1. Flex offices are now the norm. Working 5 days a week in the office is no longer standard at many companies, a change that was accelerated by the Covid crisis. Moving forward, employees will have more freedom to choose where they do their work, only coming into the office part-time, or in many cases, not at all. As mentioned in The Wall Street Journal:
2. The use of mobile devices is increasing. Desktops and laptops are becoming less and less important, with more and more work communication occurring on mobile devices, and going both ways. To quote our own Employee Comms guide, “With the internet and social media now a daily part of engaged employee life, professional information has become a two-way street.” In effect, the professional communication landscape is starting to resemble the social communication landscape—it’s mobile, it’s social media-centric, and it’s content-based. At present, 85% of American adults own a smartphone, and they check their phone on average once every 5.5 minutes. Total, they spend 3 hours and 19 minutes each day using their smartphones. Is it any wonder this is the future of corporate communication?
So what are the implications for Internal Communication? How can companies use these changes to enact positive change in their communication strategies? These 5 Internal Communications best practices will help get you there.
Tip #1: Create the Perfect Content Mix.
Given that content now drives both social and corporate communication, you’re going to need a strong content mix for Internal Communication if you want to keep employees engaged. This means a mix between company news, industry news, and daily life. The content should also be high-quality, and visual whenever possible. Text-based communication is fading away—visual is the future. And keep in mind the objective: to support both organizational communication (communication about the vision, the strategy, the CSR commitments, the achievements, HR news, etc.) as well as operational communication (local operational communication like COVID rule updates provided by a store manager to their team). Be sure to keep that difference in mind.
Tip #2: Deploy a Powerful and Complete Internal Communications Tool.
The right digital tool to act as your communication platform and hub can make a huge difference. It should enable communication that’s visual, fun, and mobile-first, to engage employees wherever they are. It’s important that administrators are empowered to control what is displayed on the newsfeed, rather than relying on an unclear algorithm to make important choices. The internal communication tool should drive Employee Engagement, as longterm remote work tends to impact the sense of belonging and motivation—it needs to get them involved through engagement mechanics and rewards (for example, our Sociabble platform has a CSR feature built in called “Sociabble Trees,” that rewards employee engagement with real trees planted in their name). And lastly, it should take into consideration the rules of data privacy, which is more important than ever. A secure and private system is a must.
The Sociabble platform is an example of an IC tool designed to help employees stay informed and engaged with company news.
Tip #3: Use Mobile Technology to Stay Top of Mind.
As we’ve already established, the future is mobile. That’s where employees go for information, where most of their attention on a daily basis is directed. And that’s where you have to reach them for effective Internal Communication these days. Make sure you have a branded mobile app, to create a company space within their mobile device, promoting identity and belonging. This will also allow frontline workers who don’t have a professional email address or workstation to stay informed, engaged, and part of the experience. Also, verify that push notifications and alerts are part of the app, to make sure that employees are receiving the most important updates the moment they need them.
Mobile capabilities are key for IC in the digital age. Sociabble comes with a mobile app complete with push notifications and alerts, so employees don’t miss important updates.
Tip #4: Address Employees at Both the Global and Local Level
Communication within a company can be aimed at a global audience, or a local audience. Both are important. But they’re not always mutually relevant. And the risk of too much irrelevant information is that important messages will fall through the cracks. It’s important that your internal communications tool has the administration capabilities to take into account these two streams, and make sure that crucial global messages are received, i.e. those that effect all employees, and that local messaging gets through only when relevant, i.e. new safety procedures at a specific office or business location. Managing and filtering information in this way will ensure that the right information gets to the right employee at the right time.
Tip #5: Use Data Analytics to Optimize Your Communication.
First, make sure your IC tool has analytics features that can allow you to follow the effectiveness of communications and see how employees are engaging with them. Secondly, use the data! For example, managing employee newsletters without analytics wouldn’t make sense. You’d have no idea how effective your newsletters are at conveying important information. That’s the reason why with the Sociabble platform solution, the company admins have access to complete reports that help them adjust the content, the time of delivery, etc., to optimize the newsletters for ideal performance.
A complete analytics package, like the one that comes with Sociabble, gives you the power to fine-tune your strategy and communications for optimal results.
Want to Learn More? At Sociabble, We’d Love to Help.
Sociabble is an Employee Communication, Employee Advocacy, and Social Selling platform solution that comes backed with expert consulting. We’ve helped dozens of industry leaders around the world launch and enhance new Internal Communication programs with impressive results, including companies like Coca-Cola CCEP, l’Occitane, and the Renault Group. If you’d like to learn more about ways we can help, just get in touch—we’d love to chat, about the platform itself, or simply to discuss internal communications best practices in more detail.
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