It’s a brand new year and is the perfect time to reflect. No doubt, many organizations like yours will be taking time out to review the past year’s performance as well as identifying key trends for 2018. And internal communications is bound to be on the list of priorities for most companies. It’s a perennial issue that is constantly shifting due to the changing nature of the workplace, technological advances and the needs of employees. So, what’s on the horizon for internal communications in 2018? What key trends do you need to address in your review of internal communications? Here’s our take on the big issues for 2018.
Connect With The Disconnected
There are two elements to this. The first is to maintain connections with remote workers. The global trend towards more flexible working is set to continue in 2018. A recent Gallup survey found that 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, representing a four percent increase since 2012. In addition, more workers are spending longer amounts of time working remotely. Gallup’s survey reported that those working remotely four to five days a week has risen to 31 percent from 24 percent in 2012. These numbers are only going to continue increasing in 2018. And so, finding new ways to connect and engage with the growing numbers of remote workers will remain a priority for most organizations in 2018.
The second aspect of connecting with the disconnected is those employees who are disengaged in the workplace or who don’t feel as though they are part of the organization. It’s estimated that disengaged employees are costing up to $550 billion every year in the US alone through a damaging combination of increased absenteeism and low productivity. No doubt, all of us have experience of working alongside a disengaged colleague. You know the type – the grumpy individual, always with a long list of complaints and a complete lack of enthusiasm or initiative. We all know how negative and damaging a disengaged colleague can be, and when there are potentially lots of them in the office, it’s not hard to see why it is such a costly issue for businesses. Finding communication channels to reconnect with the disengaged will also be a continuing priority for 2018.
The Power Of Video
Anyone with teenagers in the house will understand the phenomenon that is YouTube and the popularity of watching videos. And it’s not just teenagers that enjoy this medium, many millions of us are consuming and sharing videos every day on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. And while video isn’t a new communication channel – after all we’ve been using video as a source of entertainment for decades, what is comparatively new, is its crossover into the boardroom. In fact, in a Forbes study, 75 percent of executives said they watch work-related videos at least weekly and 65 percent said they have visited a vendor’s website as a result of watching a video.
And so if it hasn’t already, then video as an internal communications tool should have a strong emphasis in 2018. Whether it’s video conferencing, the live streaming of corporate events, or the creation of training and how-to videos, there’s no doubt there’s enormous potential to improve internal communications. This is particularly the case for the digital natives in the workforce who are already well-versed in the medium of video. What’s more, video conferencing can be an important component in addressing the needs of remote workers. Certainly, there’s no substitute for face-to-face communication. The nuances of tone and body language are often missing from the written word and face-to-face interaction is essential in promoting a shared sense of camaraderie and common purpose.
More Inventive Communications Channels
Internal communications aren’t just about the written word anymore. Text-heavy newsletters may still have a place, but when it comes to internal communications they are no longer the be-all and end-all as they perhaps were in years gone by. Nowadays, innovative companies are exploiting all available media. This means being more inventive with visual communications, using the power of color in say an infographic or poster and understanding that human brains can process visual information more efficiently than text.
In addition, some companies have been using podcasts to great effect. As well as being cost-effective, podcasts are a very personal and human way of communicating. It will resonate with remote workers especially and those aural learners who have a definite preference for the spoken word.
The bottom line is that there are a variety of learning styles and personality types in the workplace. Organizations that are effective internal communicators have a range of communication channels in place to reach all segments of employees, across the whole company. Inventiveness in the number and application of internal communication channels is, therefore, another trend for 2018.
Measure And Review
Increasingly companies are coming to realize that there’s no point in having an internal communications strategy if you have no idea what channels are working best for you. And so in 2018, we’re likely to see even more businesses develop systems to measure the effectiveness of the tools and methods they are deploying to communicate with employees. Whether it’s through surveys, snap polls, focus groups or simply asking for feedback, all organizations need to consider how they will measure the effectiveness of their internal communications.
Deploy An Intranet For Maximum Effect
So now that we’ve identified some of the key internal communications trends for this year, what can you do now to make sure you’re ready for the challenge? Well, the easiest way to tick the maximum number of boxes is with a company intranet. If you’ve already got one then great, you’ll already be fully aware of the many benefits an intranet has to offer. And if you haven’t implemented an intranet, then now’s the time to do so if you want to meet the challenges of internal communications, next year and in the years to follow. Here are some ways in which an intranet can make a difference now:
- mobile optimized and 24/7 access for enhanced communication with remote workers
- embed employee engagement, how-to or training videos directly in your intranet through iframes
- use podcasts on your intranet to reach out to the aural learners in your business
- develop an engaging, colorful and visual intranet design and use it to full effect with infographics, posters and strong imagery
- use the intranet to collect data and statistics on users’ access to channels
- gather feedback, opinions and views on the effectiveness of communication channels through the intranet’s surveys and polls feature.
And so if you’re looking for one platform that can transform the way your company communicates with staff, then look no further than the intranet. Contact the knowledgeable team at MyHub today and take advantage of our free demo or no-obligation 14-day trial.