Essential internal comms tech that can make or break your career
The world of work is in a constant state of flux and internal comms is changing along with it. The future of business – and internal communications – is digital, so what technology can be the difference between career success or failure? Discover the internal comms tech that can supercharge your strategy and take employee engagement to the next level.
Is internal comms ready for the digital revolution?
In today's workplace, the quality of an enterprise's digital offering has never been more important. Having the right technology dictates success or failure in the work-anywhere world. And for internal communicators battling to engage and inform employees, an effective digital strategy is make or break.
Over the course of the last few years, enterprise digital transformation has skyrocketed and much of the newly purchased technology has focused on modernizing internal comms.
IDC’s Worldwide Future of Work Spending report found that 71% of organizations have adopted new ways of communicating with audiences, with internal communications platforms ranking as the second-highest area of investment.
This is both good and bad news for employee comms teams. The good news is that there are a bunch of new tools available to support an effective engagement strategy. The bad news is managing them all effectively and mapping them into a succinct strategy poses a big challenge.
"Digital tools are the glue keeping us together at the moment. […] Technology is changing the game for all of us – you’ve got to stay ahead of it and stay creative with how you use it."
According to Gallagher, 70% of ICs lack a clear strategy for digital experience and technology - the lowest of all areas defined in the survey. Yet, 56% of respondents believed internal communications professionals should be looking to explore the impact of digital and technology on internal communication further.
This highlights a lack of strategic development in many comms departments to plan how to incorporate technology into their strategies and take employee comms into the future. But this means there is an opportunity for internal communicators to stand out and succeed by getting ahead of the game when it comes to internal communications technology.
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Internal comms tech innovations that are changing the game
Accelerated digital adoption means ICs now have a world of opportunity to transform stagnating comms into dynamic, digital-first approaches fit to resonate with the modern employee.
The CommsTech space has innovated fast and there are thousands of new tools on the market promising to help ICs better connect with employees. Think of this as your IC tech wish list for the future of work.
#1. A central intranet
These days you can’t really get by without, at the very least, an intranet. It’s become a necessity of modern work, especially now that hybrid work has become the norm.
People need a go-to, central place to receive updates and connect with content and each other. Businesses need a reliable channel to reach employees with key information and ensure everyone is aligned towards the same goals and vision.
Next-generation intranets offer internal communications a solution for both of these needs, but also provide a foundation for IC strategies moving forward. As the center base for comms and content, an intranet can integrate with other tools and extend comms to mobile apps or digital signage, affording communicators with simple, straightforward access to publishing comms across an array of digital channels.
But how do you work out the difference between a high-performance intranet that takes comms further and ‘just another channel’ that dilutes your messaging?
The key is to find an evergreen solution that grows with your workforce, either through a modular product approach that means you pick and choose the features and functionality you need, or with a community-driven product roadmap (or both!).
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#2. Branded mobile app
Remote working is more common than ever, and deskless employees still make up 80% of the global workforce – that’s 2.7 billion people, per Microsoft. This means that a purely desktop-based solution, like the traditional corporate intranet of years past, only meets the needs of one in five employees. This is a problem that has only grown in recent years as work has become more flexible and mobile for everyone.
A branded mobile app helps to connect all users, whether at head office or on the frontline, to the content and tools they need most. This allows frontline employees to receive updates in real-time, which helps them make informed decisions and provide better customer service.
With features like offline reading, front-end content creation, and mandatory reading, ICs can not only reach and engage frontline users (a longstanding challenge in itself), but also actively encourage them to use their voice and engage with areas of the business they otherwise would have little to no contact with.
Discover the power of a mobile intranet
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#3. Marketing-grade campaign technology
Changes to the way we communicate - the need for more personalized, targeted, and experiential communications – is set to enforce the continued adoption of the latest IC innovations. As a result, internal communicators increasingly need to think about comms the same way marketers look at external campaigns.
Employee messaging must close the gap with trends that have made consumer marketing so effective. The future of IC relies on finding creative ways of engaging employees and cut through noise, supported by technology that levels the playing field between internal and external comms. Keeping pace with this change will be integral to the success of communications strategies in the coming decade.
Engagement automation and other campaign building technologies are set to define the future of internal communications, taking from the consumer playbook to schedule and automate multi-channel employee comms campaigns. By bringing together market-leading analytics and workflow engines, Engagement automation provides an automated route to building engagement over time, with the ability to:
- Plan, create and automate multi-channel campaigns that build engagement over time
- Deliver unified communications across all your channels and meet employees where they are
- Track and analyze rich engagement insights that help you optimize performance
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#4. Collaboration tools
The shift to hybrid work has made collaboration tools, like Slack or Teams, a mainstay of work. They are enabling employees to connect and exchange from anywhere in the world and have powered a move that has made enterprises more global and teamwork limitless.
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Having quickly become the place where people work most, collaboration tools need to be a part of internal communicators plans to reach and engage people. Integrating apps like Slack or Teams with existing comms channels, like an intranet or mobile app, opens up new routes for comms to spread to, and provides a more organic way of putting content in front of employees where it’s convenient for them.
#5. Real-time analytics
For years, communicators have cried out for better tools to measure the impact of comms and quantify employee engagement. Still, in 2022, when asked in Gallagher’s State of the Sector report ‘what are the main challenges you face in measuring comms’ impact?’, the top three barriers reported are:
- Lack of resource
- Insufficient technology – lack of trackable metrics
- Insufficient technology – lack of tools to gather and analyze data
Businesses need concrete answers to inform their future strategy, so the pressure is on internal communicators to measure the impact of their efforts. 78% said they don’t conduct frequent (at least monthly) reviews of communications output analytics and discuss the learnings. Thankfully with the increasing digitization of work, we have the tools at hand to deliver new types of measurement.
Johnson & Johnson internal comms case study
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Internal communications must make use of these innovations to offer insight and shed new light on employee behavior as it occurs.
Custom real-time analytics dashboards allow you to measure what matters to you and take a snapshot of employee engagement. Benchmark reporting allows enterprises to check how engagement scores compare with companies of a similar size, industry, or geography to put your data into context.
Creating feedback loops through forms, surveys, quizzes, and social feeds offers communicators reliable and repeatable sources of data whenever they need it. Similarly, campaign analytics, like tracking the clickthroughs on emails or users that require retargeting, open up new avenues for measuring engagement and identifying gaps in strategies.
How to supercharge your internal comms
In today’s workplace, effective internal communications are vital to business success. Engaged employees are a company’s greatest asset, but with the workplace transforming at pace, the way we communicate must adapt. This comprehensive guide offers a collection of insights to support internal communicators to supercharge their strategy for the future of work.
#6. Intelligent content delivery
In our personal lives, content finds us. With minimal effort, we can access almost anything we want to watch, listen to, or read. More often than not, we end up with content we didn’t even know we wanted until an algorithm or intelligent feed put it in front of us.
As a result, employee expectations of internal messaging have changed. Your colleagues are now looking for the same kind of omnichannel approach and personalization that they’ve grown accustomed to as consumers.
If this is the future of content, then employee communications can’t be left in the dust. A big part of the future of internal comms is set to be intelligent content delivery – putting the right content in front of people at the right time, and through the right channel.
But, intelligent content delivery isn’t just about end-user experiences, it’s also about alleviating the burden on communicators and administrators to deliver consumer-grade EX. Leveraging machine learning and automation to build unique profiles for users, then continually improving recommendations based on their activity, helps to deliver experiences that the modern employee demands without asking communicators to granularly target each individual.
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#7. Multi-brand platform
This is particularly important for larger, more complex enterprises with multiple subsidiaries and sub-brands.
Communications that come from the top of the corporate umbrella aren’t going to resonate and engage as well as content that comes from a recognizable face. For multi-brand enterprises, this means newsletters, intranet sites, and social channels all need to carry the unique branding and theme as your sub-brands.
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Multi-brand comms platforms give a face to comms and ensure that employees receive communications that are relevant to them and their role within your organization. This makes comms more valuable to the individual, as it's personalized and targeted to their needs, and helps to consolidate internal communications efforts’, removing the need to duplicate messaging across brands and giving complex enterprises one voice.
#8. AI-powered multilingual translation
Hybrid work technology has helped make enterprises truly global. Location is no longer a barrier for recruiting top talent, but as a result, internal communicators are left with the not-so-easy task of communicating across language barriers.
AI-powered multilingual translation offers ICs an ideal solution, using a combination of machine-translated content and 1:1 translation editing for complete control, so publishing language-specific content is quick and simple. This empowers internal communicators to keep everyone on the same page with fully translatable communications that deliver content employees can enjoy in a way that suits their preferences.
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Set a solid foundation with a powerful intranet
The current state of internal communications technology is difficult to pin down, simply because there is so much innovation and change in the space. New technologies spring up and internal communicators are left to figure out which will provide value and how to implement them as a part of their wider digital strategy.
This is where a centralized communications platform comes into play, acting as a central hub for all internal comms technology to operate from.
Integrating seamlessly with existing technology and providing a platform to power the features that drive reach and engagement, an employee experience platform promises to revolutionize internal communications for the future of work while consolidating technology into a simple and intuitive one-stop-shop for your employees.
The #1 internal communications platform
In The Forrester Wave™: Intranet Platforms report, Forrester named Unily the #1 employee communications platform on the market.
"Unily shines with features designed for internal communication and content specialists. [Unily is] a modular, extensible platform for content and communication delivery that’s suitable for enterprises serving information workers and frontline workers alike."
Forrester scores Unily highest for employee communications
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