Level up your internal comms strategy
Engagement fatigue, frontline disconnect, remote workforces: internal communicators face a litany of challenges when it comes to delivering a compelling strategy in today's world. Find out how to level up your internal comms strategy with a digital-first approach that fuels employee engagement across the enterprise.
Level up internal communications strategies to drive success
In the hybrid workplace, internal communications have taken on new strategic importance. As enterprises grapple with fundamental changes to the way they operate, it's the role of internal communicators to keep people informed, engaged, and connected to company mission visions and values. It's no small task, but over the last few years, the critical need for engaged employees has become acutely apparent.
To achieve this lofty objective, IC's need to overcome a number of emerging challenges. Some of the key battlegrounds include:
- Combatting engagement fatigue
- Addressing frontline disconnect
- Aligning messaging across an increasing number of channels
- Consumer expectations fuel greater employee demands of IC
- A growing need to accurately measure engagement
- Cultivating a positive culture across hybrid workforces
- Supporting employee wellbeing while working remotely
- Increasing the visibility of leadership
Fortunately, huge investments in new digital communications channels mean IC's now have a world of opportunity to transform staid internal comms strategies into dynamic, digital-first approaches fit to resonate with the modern employee. Embracing the latest innovations is mission-critical when it comes to reviving comms approaches and the need to do so is at an all-time high.
"According to our 2021 State of the Sector Report, only one-third of respondents had an idea of what their digital strategy would be. I’d advise them to identify their employee demographic, think about what it will look like, and look at how you can use your digital channels to make sure you are hitting the right messaging and formats at the right time. The pandemic has only accelerated what was going to inevitably happen, we need to embrace it and move forwards with it, and our job is to maximize it."
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.
5 ways to level up your IC strategy
To thrive in the digital era, employees need the support and the desire to use technology to drive better outcomes. Internal comms holds the key to achieving this alignment and powering successful digital transformation by establishing a shared understanding of what it means to the business.
The ability for internal communications to better support a digital future of work relies on developing IC strategies that take employee engagement to the next level. With that in mind, below are five steps internal communicators must take to evolve their strategies for the future:
#1. Embrace your intranet
With remote working on the rise and employees more disparate than ever, keeping employees connected to company vision and values, as well as each other is a top priority for enterprise communicators. The company intranet has risen in prominence as a key tool for addressing these challenges, and today a modern intranet acts as the cornerstone of most successful internal communications strategies.
"The delivery of timely, trusted, and tailored content and communication to employees will only grow in importance. Technology architecture leaders who have not yet supported an intranet modernization effort must prepare to do so. "
While intranets of the past were clunky information repositories, the intranets of today are worlds apart. Employee experience platforms are the new breed of intranets; more advanced and agile, and fit to solve the host of the complex challenges enterprises face today. Getting to grips with what this technology can offer will be key to upgrading engagement strategies.
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With the introduction of more advanced intranet technology, internal communications have gained a wealth of tools, channels, and features that help to drive a range of benefits for the wider business, including:
Improved organizational speed and alignment
With the ability to deliver targeted and timely communications across channels and devices to all employees, internal communications can react quickly to business needs and offer more specific support to departments and teams as the need arises. Push notifications and mandatory reading features ensure your comms cut through the noise and reach those that need to hear it.
Increased trust across your organization
Transparent, timely, and accurate communications build trust in content and trust in the business as a whole. This comes at a time when trust in information and institutions is at an all-time low, what Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer calls an “infodemic”. The intranet offers an ideal platform for communicators to get information into the hands of those that need it and easily maintain its accuracy with features like content review lifecycles.
Opportunities to drive inclusivity through accessibility
The widespread accessibility of modern intranet solutions gives every employee access to the tools and information they need, no matter where they work. This offers a lifeline to frontline and remote employees who traditionally have proven difficult to engage and align with comms. Mobile apps, digital signage, offline reading, AI-powered multilingual translation, and integrations with tools like Teams and Slack mean no employee feels disconnected from the wider business.
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#2. Let goals drive strategy
Creating a plan of action without thinking about what outcomes you want from those actions would seem to most like a complete waste of time, yet this is the unfortunate reality for many IC teams whose clearest goal is to ‘boost engagement’. When something as abstract as engagement is your only objective - a measure comprising various factors and moving parts in itself - strategies and routes to success become vague. Attempts to put a strategy into action become stabs in the dark, hoping your efforts move the dial in a way you can learn from.
A strategy without clear goals is the definition of putting the cart before the horse, so the first step to taking IC strategies to the next level must start by defining clear goals and objectives. Start by outlining areas for improvement. Do you have a frontline workforce that feels unloved? Did your latest employee survey reveal that your people feel disconnected from your leaders? By figuring out top employee pain points you can craft a more targeted strategy that will deliver tangible business value.
Once you've clearly defined more granular goals, then you can move on to how you execute against them. Once again, modern intranet solutions can help internal communicators put goals upfront and access analytics that make tracking success far easier. Here at Unily, we recently introduced engagement automation - a groundbreaking campaign planning tool that lets IC's set specific goals and measure against them. More on that later!
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#3. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is both the simplest and arguably most complex part of planning out an internal comms strategy. There are various levels of detail you can drill down into, but defining core workplace segments is key to success.
A common mistake that enterprises make when looking to define workforce segments is basing them on role and location. Particularly in large businesses this results in an excessively granular view that is too complicated to be useful. In our experience, it's far more effective to use broader traits like access requirements to group employees from various roles. This could look like this:
- Knowledge workers
- Frontline/ deskless workers
- People managers
- New starters
Once you've defined these areas you can begin to dig into how their requirements and preferences differ. Intranet analytics can help, as can intranet features like feedback forms and pulse surveys. Ask questions like:
- What is their preferred device?
- What are their accessibility challenges?
- Which channels do they engage with most?
- What topics are most relevant to their role?
So, for example, your enterprise is looking to better connect your frontline employees to the wider business – a common challenge facing global enterprises. You know that mobile is the best way to reach them, and they typically look at your social channels, not your news feeds, and they’ve fed back that they feel separated from their colleagues and HQ.
So, working this audience knowledge into a strategy to solve the challenge could look like this:
- Create weekly news roundups that summarizes all the updates from across the business into quick, easily digestible content
- Frontline users typically rely on mobile access, so you could opt to deliver this is a short-form video to increase engagement
- You should share this content on your intranet’s social feed and any integrated channels, like Slack or Teams
- You should alert your frontline audience with a mobile push notification every time this is published, to cut through the noise and bring their attention to the update
With the right technology, internal comms can plan all this out, automate each step and action, and measure this strategy’s success in real-time, all from one place on the intranet.
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#4. Personalization is key
People are far more likely to engage with content that feels like its specifically for them. This is why Netflix, TikTok, and countless other platforms offer a ‘for you’ feed.
Any internal comms strategy that wants to be successful in this day and age needs to take a similar tactic, leveraging technology that allows employees to personalize their own experience.
By letting users set their own preferences, internal comms can leverage those settings to recommend relevant content and keep engagement building. Allow people to follow topics, tags, and other users so that your news feeds better reflect their interests.
Going one step further, the technology is available today for enterprises to offer the same intelligent content delivery that users expect from the ‘Netflix experience’ or ‘YouTube algorithm’. Enterprise intranets can leverage the same data on user behavior and habits to build completely unique personalized experiences for each user, leveraging AI and machine learning to continually improve the recommendations people receive.
This kind of targeting and personalization elevates your content and delivers it in a way that finds employees where and when they want it, rather than leaving published comms on your intranet feeds to be discovered when employees have the time to search it out.
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#5. Consider people’s needs
Internal communications need to benefit everyone within an organization, so any strategy must take stock of the various needs of your employees. This can range from language preferences and mobile solutions to supporting a culture of belonging with DEI initiatives and accessibility considerations.
Communicating across global workforces means reaching beyond those that sit at a desk and connecting traditionally hard-to-reach employees from every corner of your organization.
Frontline and remote workers, employees that speak other languages or come from different backgrounds, and those without consistent internet access have all proven elusive to internal communicators in the past. With the right strategy and a powerful communications platform, though, you can connect the disconnected and engage and align your entire organization as one.
Creating an inclusive culture
A strong culture has always been one of the key ways enterprises compete for top talent. In a world of remote work where organizations can hire from a worldwide talent pool, an inclusive culture has become an even more important aspect of your employer brand. This is reflected in Glassdoor’s recent research, which found that two-thirds of all professionals consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering a job offer.
However, with hybrid work now the reality for employees around the world, it’s become significantly more difficult for enterprises to convey their culture through purely digital interactions. Since we now rely on technology to power work, it’s only through technology that internal communicators can help support a culture of belonging.
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Employee experience platforms present new opportunities to create more inclusive workplaces, allowing internal communications to:
- Democratize access to information and updates
- Create safe spaces for internal communities
- Connect ‘hard-to-reach’ employees across any device
- Speak across global organizations with multilingual translation
- Make content easily accessible for every person in the company
The future of communications depends on technology
Gone are the days of mass emails and weekly newsletters. As the rest of our work has gone digital, so too must internal communications.
What this means, however, is that the difference between engaging and uninspiring internal communications may now rely more on choosing the right solutions. IC will have to partner with IT, ensuring that any technology has the features needed to build lasting engagement over time.
5 internal comms trends to shake things up in 2022
Engaging employees in 2022 will be a battle for attention and internal communicators will be under pressure to find new and creative ways to innovate their approach. To help you in your quest, here are five internal comms trends that will be key to success in the year ahead.
New innovations in enterprise communications technology must be embraced to deliver a strategy that keeps with the times and delivers on employee expectations.
Engagement automation, as mentioned above, is a feature that for the first time brings the innovations that marketers use to reach and engage new customers to the internal communicator’s toolkit. This arms your content creators with the ability to unite diverse communications channels in one manageable space and build, plan, schedule, and automate complex campaigns that meet the growing demands of the modern workforce.
In a world where technology facilitates every interaction with our work, the ability to create marketing-grade internal communications may prove the difference between a disconnected workforce and an engaged community.
Level-up your internal communications strategy with enterprise intranet software
To truly evolve your internal comms strategy, you need a digital-first approach that promotes employee engagement across your whole organization. To learn more about how Unily transforms internal communications for the world's largest enterprises, get your free demo today.
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