Remember the Candy Crush game? It was all the rage in 2014, yet now seems so old-school. The world has largely moved on.
It’s the same with the world of internal comms. Innovations and evolutions are constant. For busy internal communication managers, it’s hard to stay on top.
So, with a finger on the pulse and an eye on the future, here are what we see as the top five internal communications trends shaping 2019.
1. Delivering positive employee experience
Successful businesses are built on successful staff. Employee experience is the crucial element which underpins this. Smart managers today are developing their business and their staff in parallel.
An increased focus on building positive employee experience will be a core goal of internal comms plans. The benefits in improved customer experience and retention of top staff performers are undeniable.
But while the value may be understood now, practical implementation has lagged behind. Nearly 80% of executives rate employee experience as important, but only 22% believe that their companies are building a genuinely different employee experience.
In fact, employee engagement generally has been flat in recent years. One cause for this lies in our increasingly complex workplaces. Virtual teams, dispersed staff, technology, and multi-generations and cultures have all added to this complexity.
To counter this engagement flatline, expect to see a range of new employee experience initiatives. Skill development, non-traditional office environments, greater collaboration and better manager-employee communication are all likely to be focuses.
2. The rise and rise of mobile
We live and work in an increasingly mobile world. Over half of all internet usage is done on mobile, compared to just 31% three years ago. Businesses have recognized the importance of a ‘mobile first’ mentality.
The implications for internal communications of this rise in mobile are both technical and physical.
Technology innovations have opened the door for company apps as a new way to engage employees. Geographic dispersal of staff has increased as marketplaces become more global and staff often work remotely.
For internal communicators, the challenge (and opportunity) is to leverage the potential of mobile to foster effective working groups which encourage collaboration and improve performance.
Corporate mobile apps will become commonplace. They offer a modern and convenient window into the organization – strengthening employee communication, engagement and company loyalty.
Expect to also see a drive towards integrated platforms, which consolidate information from disparate systems and simplify use for employees. One tool to rule them all!
3. “Consumer-grade” becomes the norm
The consumer world is increasingly impacting on the corporate world. The media and communication preferences in our personal lives are becoming expectations in our work life.
“Consumer-grade” is the term to define the quality and experience that internal communications need to emulate if they are to be successful. The use of visuals, video and interactivity is becoming essential.
Email continues to have a place, though increasingly compare poorly to more dynamic communication tools like desktop alerts, whose format and multimedia capability prove more compelling.
Channels which encourage employee feedback and contributions will also prosper, inspired by consumer interest in social interactivity.
As organizations up their game to capture employee attention, expect to see the consumer and corporate worlds blur for internal comms.
4. Technology takeover brings progress and protest
The impact of technology on internal comms isn’t new, but will continue to exert considerable influence. Many internal communicators have found that technology is delivering and disrupting in equal measure.
The growth of virtual teams has made effective employee comms even more important. Remote staff demand higher levels of engagement to feel part of the organization.
Innovations like AI, robots and automation are growing in potential, but their introduction will make it harder to build internal brand.
The challenge for internal communicators will be to overcome staff change resistance, yet avoid message saturation. Increasingly the solution will be in an integrated communication platform, including both high-visibility and passive channels.
The former achieves immediate impact, the latter reinforces over the longer-term – combined they provide an unbeatable internal communication arsenal.
5. Connecting the dots for management
Internal communications is enjoying greater visibility and appreciation at the senior level. Today, IC managers have an unprecedented opportunity to impact workplace performance. And quite rightly too.
But with greater influence comes commensurately higher expectations. Transparency of reporting mean that successes and failures are more visible than ever.
Some senior leaders still fail to see the link between internal communications, employee engagement and financial performance. Proving this with quantifiable data will become a key objective for internal communicators.
Expectations will go beyond open or readership rates, to deeper measures of engagement. Did staff connect with the messages? Did they interact with it? Did they contribute to it?
The ability to capture and report on this information will be a fundamental consideration when selecting internal communication tools.
There’s a lot to be excited about in these internal communications trends. The possibilities for employee engagement are almost limitless – if we are brave enough to seize the opportunities, and prepared enough to overcome the obstacles.
This article was originally published on HR News.