HotSpot: Employee Communications Blog

What’s Trending – In Employee Communications

Posted by Jessica Palazzo on Jul 19, 2016 11:00:00 AM
What’s Trending – In Employee Communications

Keeping up with the latest trends is never easy – whether it’s the newest fashion statement, the hottest fitness craze, or the cutting edge in tech gadgets.  And, even in the internal communications field, we see new trends emerging each year.

What hasn’t changed is the need to motivate and inspire employees through effective communications.  Maybe you are challenged with how to engage employees in wellness activities, or how to get employees to embrace your new performance management program? Your message is only as strong as your communications campaign.

Here’s a list of six trends that we’re seeing in effective internal communication — trends that we expect to last:

1. Close the Generation Gap.

As Baby Boomers are working long past retirement age and tech-savvy Millennials are moving up the ranks, it is becoming more important to know your audience. Generational differences are becoming more pronounced in terms of work habits, values and communication preferences. Preferred communication channels and communication “hot buttons” vary by demographic.
For example, Boomers and Gen Xers may be used to having information pushed to them (primarily through print and email), while Millennials prefer to have on-demand access to information that is relevant to them. So how do you handle this diversity?  It starts with an understanding of your audience and a carefully executed strategy. From there, a targeted communication effort using a variety of media is often the best way to be sure your message is heard and well received.

2. Use the “Me” Factor.

Too often employee communication is handled with a top-down approach — focusing on the business message first. This approach no longer resonates with today’s employees. Employees want to understand "why" –  they want to know what does this really mean to me? The best way to get employees to accept change and take necessary action is to humanize the message and deliver it from a personalized employee perspective, especially if your audience is spread out geographically and diverse. It is difficult to connect with your audience on just logic and reason alone. Creating a story that is relatable to employees can really help bring your message to life.

3. Tap Into the Conversation.

Want to improve employee engagement? Your employees are often the best way to promote your internal brand and tell your company’s story.  Peer-to-peer conversations are becoming more important as your younger employees (Millennials) look to each other for key information. Rather than turn to leadership, Millennials prefer open discussion forums to gather input and approval from their peers. Whether you select communication "champions" who will take a lead in open discussion forums, or take a less formal approach, it’s important to get your employees talking. Look for opportunities to involve employees in decision-making and sharing – and be sure their input is rewarded and acted upon.

4. Paint a Picture.

Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners? (Source: Social Science Research Network.) Even for the remaining 35%, it’s hard to deny that visuals are a powerful tool. When done right, visuals convey information in an easy-to-digest manner and have a more lasting impression than text. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Keep in mind that infographics, video and images will help grab, and most importantly, KEEP the attention of your employees.

5. Think Mobile and Social.

Are your lengthy corporate emails getting the attention they deserve? Consider that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery. (Source: Forbes.) The use of targeted text messaging to employees is becoming a popular trend. With a text, you increase the likelihood of your message being heard because of the one-on-one engagement. The specialized and personalized information needs to be quick, to the point, and visually appealing.
The use of social media in the work place – once frowned upon – is also becoming increasingly popular. Now, the opportunity to share information, news and events through social channels is a powerful way to amplify your message and increase awareness. Social media in the workplace presents a huge opportunity for internal communication and collaboration, which can improve workplace culture.

6. Track and Measure.

As communication professionals, we KNOW that effective communication has a direct impact on results – and on a company’s bottom line. But, how do we prove it to the CEO? A well-executed communication campaign can encourage employees to take action, to feel engaged and motivated, and ultimately drive performance.
You may already be tracking site visits and page views, but we see metrics getting a bit more granular in the near future. Today’s communication technologies carry sophisticated analytics and engagement metrics. For example, with certain video platforms, you can assess interest levels and understand who is paying attention to what.  You can also interact live with viewers by incorporating tools like polls or surveys. We definitely see this as an emerging trend to watch as technology continues to advance in measuring audience engagement.  And don’t forget to track and measure throughout the entire process, not just at the end, to yield the best results and a successful plan-of-action moving forward.
Of course, simply revisiting whether your objectives were met following a communication launch is still a tried and true way to measure success!


What trends do you expect to see more of in employee communication?

Tags: What's Trending, Employee Communications, social meda, HR Communications, Employee Engagement

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Spitfire’s very own blog, where we’ll shed light on best practices, insights, and experiences in the field of employee communications

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