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Creating consumer grade internal communications

Sunshine, canine companions and a last-minute Uber dash all feature in the third installment of the Unily podcast. Paul Seda welcomes Unily’s Kaitlin Auriemma, Matthew Boyd, and podcast newcomer Casey Farr to discuss how enterprises can create internal comms that live up to consumer expectations.

Employees expect comms to match consumer standards

Technology and the evolving expectations of users is pushing the limits of what internal communications is today. Content is changing and so is the way people consume information.

Enterprises have to adapt their internal communications to keep up with what people want from the digital employee experience. This means rethinking our approach to communicating with employees to respond to a shift in the type of content people want.

How to craft and deliver consumer grade internal comms

The apps and tools we use in the workplace are capable of delivering communications identical to those we consume on social media and in the external world that any marketing department would be proud of, but the strategy and approach to consumer-grade comms is just as important as the content itself.

So what tools and teachings do internal communicators have available to ensure that their people are connected to your organization?

#1. Make comms easy to digest

Engaging people relies on buy-in from your employees to read communications and immerse themselves in the culture of your organization. To take people on that journey, your content needs to speak their language. If some of your employees have certain needs or limitations, your communications need to work with them.

If certain demographics of your workforce are pressed for time or resources, communications need to be timely and concise. Similarly, frontline employees and mobile users may prefer comms to be flexible to them in the form of native video and rich media, or push notifications.

The Unily team discusses some of the trends they’re seeing across the industry and with our clients. Matthew Boyd reveals recent insights from a Unily client in the travel tourism industry:

"I was interviewing an internal comms manager, and they were talking about how the content they produce now is designed to be read in 30 seconds. They have the keen awareness that a lot of their people are very time-poor."

Matthew Boyd

As the group tackled employee productivity in the remote era, if your comms is quick to digest, it's easy to overcome that first comms barrier of employees simply lacking the time to read every update. These days, for your internal communications to reach the same standards as the content we consume in our lives, things need to be designed and crafted to be consumed on the go as easily as possible.

#2. Content for all audiences

"It’s about finding the format that’s right for you."

Matthew Boyd

Social media is defining the type of content we consume in our everyday lives and the tendencies we’re building towards this content are bleeding into the employee experience.

Younger generations within the workforce in particular are leading the way with shorter, snappier, and more direct rich-media – videos, podcasts, and social posts – proving more effective in driving engagement.

Kaz Hassan recalls a conversation with a colleague about “struggling to watch longer films and tv series because my attention span is all on that kind of YouTube 30 minute content. And then not too long ago we had a similar conversation, it was struggling to watch Youtube because my mind’s now adjusted to things like TikTok, where you’ve got really short 10 or 15-second videos.”

So internal communicators may think that they too should swing towards the social buzz, but as the Unily team discuss, content and communications need to cater to everyone.

Whether content is telling a story, disseminating updates, or educating employees, giving users a variety of content types to cater to all audiences is key to engagement.

Matthew summarizes, “Everyone learns in different ways. Where I maybe prefer to sit down and watch short video content, there’ll be other people who, for instance, prefer to read a couple of short-form articles over breakfast. That’s why the variety and different types and formats of content available is almost as important as the content itself.“

#3. Consumer grade comms relies on technology

Leaning on all the various channels and technology available to ensure comms isn’t just one-way communications is crucial to building a platform that is alive with constant conversations happening across the digital workplace.

Kaitlin Auriumma draws from her own experiences at Unily and adds that “I’m best informed by the internal conversations going on. We have a very communicative culture at our company, so internal social threads is where I'm learning a lot and relying on a lot, almost like micro-blogging.”

They touch on the need to give and take with people and ensure that employees have the chance to make their voices heard with social posts and user-generated content.

"Something we’ve seen in consumer trends, and I hear it again and again, is that everybody has become a journalist, everyone is a writer. […] That’s an overall trend that we see infiltrate comms as a whole."

Casey Farr

#4. Take an omnichannel approach

Using all the various channels available to reach employees in a way that suits them is key to driving engagement across a globally diverse workforce. While single channels like email may have cut it in the past, today's employees demand more from the content they choose to consume, and internal communications have to ensure they're making that cut. 

Taking advantage of social channels, native video, email broadcasts, push notifications, targeted content and every other opportunity to connect with your people is the only way to deliver the type of internal communications people have come to expect, especially as we continue to work remotely. 

Finally, the Unily team discusses what trends they're seeing across clients and industries, that in the modern workplace, internal communicators must use every channel available to engage users; that with the technology available, effective communications can be about more than just reaching people - but can encourage more conversations and connect people to your organization.

Want to learn more about delivering consumer grade communications?

If you’re looking to join in on the conversation and discover more of our team’s insights on employee experience, check out the full podcast episode. For guidance on supporting your own employees through remote work, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.

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