Guest post by Ciara O’Keeffe, VP of Product and Customer Delivery at StaffConnect, who gives us her top 5 predictions for Internal communication trends in 2018
Internal Communication Trends for 2018
- Data cleansing for AI and Personalisation
Personalisation is already well established in the consumer sphere – think of your Amazon shopping experience. Each person who visits Amazon sees different content and recommendations. Personalisation in technology is about serving you up what you want, when you want it, in an instant.
As much as we would like to believe this is done by magic, it is not. Personalisation relies on clean data. Sounds boring, I know. Before your organisation starts looking at implementing new technology with the promise of personalisation make sure you factor in a period of data cleansing. Your efforts will pay off. This is an especially important exercise when considering M&A activity. Having your house in order before you merge with or acquire another entity will make the transition a whole lot smoother.
A frequent feature on the trends list for a few years now, mobile appears again in 2018. Some companies have already implemented strategic mobile initiatives but there are still a majority who are in the research phase, trying to understand how mobile can benefit their business. For communication professionals, the obvious answer is connecting with a remote or deskless workforce; increasing their engagement with the company and giving them a voice to report what is happening outside of the office environment. Emergence Capital report that 80 percent of the global workforce is non-desk, which represents a significant proportion of each organisation.
On a broader scale mobile is extremely useful for crisis communications, particularly when a company network is compromised. In 2016, reported data breaches increased by 40%. So far, this year there have been several high-profile breaches, like Yahoo, Xbox, InterContinental Hotels, the NHS and Verizon just to name a few. As a mobile app sits outside of the company network it is not affected by the breach, therefore allowing for crisis communications to happen no matter what.
In a world where it seems we are encountering a new crisis every week, it is vital that communications channels are kept open, and that employers can keep in touch with their employees during events which are out of their control.
A great example of mobile technology being used in this is way is YMCA. During the recent Hurricane Irma, the YMCA communications team relied on their StaffConnect mobile platform to manage crisis communications including posting weather updates and managing transportation needs. Similarly, Community Health Partnerships (CHP) also used StaffConnect to communicate with employees during the recent London Bridge terrorist attacks.
- External Experts
In the last five years, comms professionals have become more adept at keeping up with external best practice due to the increase of resources available online such as blogs, podcasts, and attending conferences. Conferences require significant investment of time and resources but they often return the most value. For companies who can’t afford to send employees to conferences, a new approach is proving popular; inviting external experts to speak inside their company.
There are many advantages to this approach, in addition to the financial and time benefits:
- including all team members rather than just the senior leaders,
- having the guest speaker tailor their message based on your strategic interests,
- forcing your team to take a break from the daily grind,
- inspiring your team with fresh, external perspectives.
- Management Training
According to the 2017 State of the Sector report 52 percent of communicators think that lack of line manager communications skills is the most pressing challenge. I think the challenge is broader than just communication skills.
With new communications technologies developing at such a rapid rate, enterprise deployments often encounter management skills gaps. Companies know that they need the benefits of the tool but they don’t know how to implement it and make it a success across the organisation.
Organisations often buy in to the technology provider’s vision, to then be left to their own devices when it comes to conceiving the strategy that needs to go hand in hand with the technology. At StaffConnect, we work with our customers to define their goals and develop winning communications strategies that are essential to the successful launch and achievement of adoption and engagement targets.
To find out more about how StaffConnect supports organisations in achieving success with employee engagement via mobile technology, read my interview with Marginalia here.
- Don’t forget the Remote Workers
In a Gallup survey of more than 15,000 adults, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, a trend which is set to continue. A key question is how can we ensure that remote, frontline or non-desk employees are kept in the loop and feel connected to the organisation?
Dedicating resource to specialise in the remote employee category would be a good place to start. As a demographic, they are easy to forget until something goes wrong. Having a direct line of two- way communication that is capable of reaching your remote workers is vital.
Gallup’s recent article, which highlights four ways companies are failing remote workers shows us that one of the biggest failures is not providing opportunities to connect with co-workers.
Human beings need connection – not only to their co-workers, but also to their managers and the goals of their organisation. Remote workers who do not get that opportunity to connect can feel isolated and disconnected which leads to decreased motivation and productivity.
StaffConnect uses mobile technology to create connections across the entire organisation, from the boardroom to the field-based workforce.
Australian Mining company Macmahon approached StaffConnect after winning a 15-year gold and copper mining contract in Indonesia. They were looking for an employee engagement solution to keep their remote workforce, of over 1500 employees, connected and up to date with company news and site developments. Macmahon believes that the technology helps foster a corporate culture of belonging. This sense of belonging encourages employees to take ownership of Macmahon’s success.
“We’re a service provider and the value we provide for our clients is really based on what our people can deliver, so we need a highly engaged and motivated workforce,” said Christian Sealey, general manager of corporate relations at Macmahon. “Otherwise, you don’t get good performance”.
To find out more about how mobile technology can help increase employee engagement, productivity and help boost company performance download our e book.