How digital technology is transforming internal communication

The goals of investing in any communications and engagement technology should be to improve productivity, reduce attrition rates and attract top talent.

The availability of real-time, rich multimedia communications on any device, anywhere in the world, is having a huge influence on the way companies communicate with their employees – and how employees engage with one another.

It’s not just about top-down – it’s about how you connect people and how they exchange information.

When it comes to helping drive employee engagement and collaboration, the dusty old “suggestions box” or feedback form that sits on an intranet is no longer meeting employees’ expectations.

Employees want messaging that’s personal – they want information in real-time and they want it to be authentic.

>See also: Top 5 communications trends on the IT agenda

Empowering the people

The fast pace of technology is presenting a big challenge for organisations when it comes to keeping up with the latest trends and supporting the digital age.

At the same time, by embracing online media and mobile technology, companies can reduce communication barriers, increase productivity and champion company culture.

In fact, transparency and knowledge sharing is key when it comes to making people feel connected and giving individuals a voice within the workplace.

The feeling of empowerment is even more evident when considering the results of recent research by Lansons and Opinium, which explores attitudes to work, leadership and management effectiveness.

The Britain at Work study revealed that 49% are unlikely to recommend their workplace to others. Additionally, 76% have been through organisational change over the last two years, yet only 51% said this was well communicated.

The first thing that organisations need to understand is that a platform will only ever be as good as the content placed within it.

The beauty of digital enterprise media channels is that content can be created by the people, for the people – this means there is always something new to offer.

This contrasts with traditional top-down communications, which tends to offer a more refined and planned approach to the way content is created and distributed.

The second thing is that it’s all about compelling content. Drab emails should be a thing of the past – seeing the whites of someone’s eyes whilst they deliver an important message is always far more engaging.

Companies that deploy social and mobile collaboration tools will see far more input from employees across the organisation. Only by giving employees a voice can you create a culture of internal content contributors across the organisation.

Many people assure that communications are broadcast messages about something that has happened within a company – it’s not. When an employee can reach out to a group of 1,000 people to ask them for help and immediately receive an answer, this can only increase their productivity because it has saved them days of research.

As consumers, people are so used to information at their fingertips, so when it comes to the work environment, the demand is for the latest news and to feel connected wherever they are.

Humanising communications

Communication is two-way – if you feel engaged, you feel listened to, and not just told. An engaged employee is someone who is given the opportunity to be heard and the platform to voice their opinion.

In order to be effective communicators, employers must first understand their audiences to appreciate the nuances in how their people wish to be engaged. Only then will they be able to choose the right channel based on the intended purpose of the message.

However, these options must exist in the first place. For example, if you want to get a live reaction to a question from a remote audience, webcast facilities would need to be in place.

At the same time, if an organisation brings in new technology without consulting with their employees first, this may not be well received. It needs to be a managed effort when it comes to finding out what employees want and what will help them feel more engaged.

>See also: Rise of the machines: automation in the digital economy

Effective internal communication and increased employee engagement will result in an organisation that knows far more about its people – and people that know far more about their organisation.

An engaged workforce creates a massive sense of belonging and buy-in. Efficiency rates will soar as people feel a valued part of a team, with the responsibility for ensuring the success of others around them. In addition, if everyone is aware of the latest news and updates, this will remove the duplication of effort.

There needs to be a collaborative effort from both sides where suggestions, feedback and ideas are tracked from the very beginning and employees are given the platform to exchange ideas and ask questions.

From bespoke applications to mobile technology and social media platforms, internal communications in 2016 and beyond is about embracing the shift in workforce behaviour and putting the power to communicate in everyone’s hands.


Sourced from Rob Dumbleton, consulting director, 27partners

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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