Today, we’re thrilled to have a guest author for the Sociabble blog, Krusha Sahjwani, our regional APAC business manager based out of Mumbai. In this post, she explains why having strong, technology-based employee communications is more important now than ever for businesses in India to succeed.
A Changing Work Culture
For decades, companies in India have followed a hierarchal process of employee communications. Most offices looked a certain way, and communication was almost always top-down only. These patterns are deeply rooted; we still see traces of them today. But we are definitely witnessing significant changes in communications as well. Open work spaces are now commonplace, even in stringent industries such as banking. Job titles such as “Employee Engagement Officer” are fast cropping up. Employee communications is now a hybrid of the top-down, bottom-up, and horizontal approaches, unlike before. With these multi-faceted changes reshaping the common work culture, Indian companies need a new internal communications process—not to mention brand new tools—to not just survive, but thrive in the new business environment.
Rising Percentage of Millennials in The Workforce
Studies show that by 2020, 50% of the workforce in India will be millennials/Gen Y and by 2025, this number is expected to jump to 75%. One of the key criteria that defines a generation is the major influencing factors they share. It is no surprise that for millennials, one of the biggest, if not the biggest factor, is technology. Thus, this generation will not engage in static intranets or pin themselves to a desktop 24-7. They need an internal communications process that is engaging, relevant, and available on the go. Millennials are the generation of work-life integration (we have even moved beyond “work-life balance”). These days, companies are competing for the employees’ attention—not only against other work information, but also with their personal apps such as Instagram and Facebook. Internal communications today has to be engaging enough to smoothly integrate within the life of the employee.
Large Company Size
India has one of the largest workforces in the world, which is no surprise, given the size of our population. We have big work teams, several teams within departments, and numerous departments within an organisation. For a long time, internal communication with an intranet is what companies believed was best. This system hoarded all the necessary documents, and sometimes included a chat room to exchange a few words (this, when a large percentage of the workforce was often offline). Today, employee communications is much more than that. Employee motivation is largely dependent on how involved employees are in the company. Meaning, they want to know what everyone is up to and how each department is progressing (sounds similar to how they communicate in their personal life too, doesn’t it?). Given the size of our companies, India obviously needs a well-refined internal communications process even more than other countries.
A Cultural Melting Pot
People rightly refer to India as a cultural melting pot. We are home to people from different races, religions, and ethnicities, and each organisation is a mini-home to one such diverse family. Employee communications is thus extremely crucial for us, to ensure all these different groups form the correct matrix. Another dimension to this diversity, which people often ignore, is the fact that employees also come from different work cultures. Each of our employees has had past work experience which has probably influenced them to different degrees. The right internal communications solution needs to bridge this gap and create a single voice for the company.
High Employee Turnover
India has an alarmingly high attrition rate. 54% of Indian workers are considering leaving their job and this rate is said to be even higher in the IT industry. Research shows several reasons for high attrition, among which, increased opportunity, higher pay, and bad management rank high on the list. The employment market is competitive today and thus companies need to step up their employee engagement game to survive. As discussed, millennials are now a large part of the workforce, and several studies have shown that this generation has different needs and expectations from work. They look for more meaning and connection, and Indian companies today have to find more engaging ways to give them just that.
A Promising Year for Employee Communications
It’s clear that internal communications ranks highly among the important business trends shaping India today. Numerous companies have already turned in this direction and have increased their efforts to engage with their employees. 2019 is going to be a pivotal year for employee communications in India. And I, for one, cannot wait to see which companies master these new methods for connecting with their workforce.