“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near”. These famous words by Jack Welch should be plastered on the walls of communications departments across the country because the rate of change on the inside (internal communications) is happening at a much slower pace.
Communication with journalists, social media influencers and other stakeholders is prioritised through head count and budget allocations, while internal communications is more of an after-thought. As a result, communication channels in this area haven’t evolved much in the last 10 years. Typical internal communications channels include a newsletter, suggestion box, staff Facebook page and endless emails from certain individuals in the communications department.
How can internal communications be updated?
Employee apps are becoming increasingly popular as they create a centralised portal of communication. In the UK, Virgin Trains (part of the Richard Branson empire) wanted to encourage face-to-face communication between leadership and employees. So, they created an internal app store with 20 different apps, each serving a specific purpose for curated information and guidance. All apps are dependent on Yammer, the supporting internal communications channel. From there, leaders are required to continue the conversations face-to-face.
Video is a great way for executives to communicate important information in an engaging format with a personal touch. According to the International Association of Business Communicators there are many benefits of using video including delivery to multiple platforms, instant reach to employees in different geographic locations and effectively conveying the tone of a message.
There are generally three types of employees within an organisation: engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged. The engaged employees work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. They are ideal for brand ambassador roles and can be used to promote key events, product launches and other company news with fellow colleagues.
Employee demographics are diverse and staff members could be a 23 year old living in shared accommodation at the heart of the city and, a 60 year old grandparent living in the outskirts of the city. The lifestyles of these two people will be significantly different, and so will what interests them at work. Example, for Mother’s Day, instead of bombarding everyone with a mother’s day e-card, a personalised communications plan can be crafted for mothers only. For targeted content to work effectively there must be an employee data segmenting system in place.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for internal communications. What works for one company may not necessarily work for your organisation. The key is to keep abreast of trends and make sure that communication channels are evaluated regularly.
Maiyo Febi (@MaiyoFebi) is the founder and managing director of Native Worx Public Relations and Communications. Out of all the cool PR stuff she gets to do, she loves strategy, employee engagement, communications research, relationship building, event management and media relations.
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