“Employee communications” has become a popular buzzword as of late, and a crucial tool in the way companies manage information. But what, exactly, do we mean when we use it? Companies do have employees—they wouldn’t be able to get much done if they didn’t—and face it, we all communicate. But the term has specific connotations in our digital era, in regards to how information is received and shared. At its essence, internal communications is the variety of ways in which you can communicate with your employees. It encompasses both internal and external communications and incorporates new methods of achieving engagement, understanding, and input.
A Changing Landscape
Traditionally, the term “internal communications” has been used to describe the one-way dispersal of information, downward from management to the various departments below. Paper memos, weekly newsletters—we all know how things used to be. But in the modern, digital age, that model doesn’t work anymore. Thanks to social media, information now moves in every direction; sharing across channels, countries, media, and languages. Within the new online ecosystem, the old paradigms of internal communications simply aren’t as relevant—nor are communications strictly internal.
Keeping employees engaged and informed isn’t a question of sending an email or mailing out a paper letter; it’s about making sure the company itself becomes part of their individual online ecosystem, to share in the mix of third-party news, user generated content, and live broadcast streams. The fact is, 98% of employees currently use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. And 71% of employees spend over 2 hours a week accessing company information on mobile devices. This is the new reality of the way in which employees receive and share information. This is what modern-day employee communications seeks to address and incorporate.
A Familiar Form of Sharing
In some ways, this new method of spreading information is more organic—more akin to the way village news once spread via word of mouth, or trends were picked up from what was happening on the street. Only thanks to social media and the internet, everything seems to happen faster, and on a far larger scale. Employee communications is a new way of defining this recent paradigm shift in information flow; so that companies can evolve their communications strategy and use it to their advantage, rather than losing their message in the noise of digital life.
The Benefits are Clear
As for the benefits of having connected employees who receive and share company information on social media, the data speaks for itself. Messages shared by employees receive 8 times more engagement and go 561% further than content shared by brand channels. Productivity improves 20-25% in organizations with connected employees—a convincing number, any way you look at it.