The start of 2021 has started with a bang. In this edition of simplytrends, we explore the growing rise of the digital employee experience and the ongoing integration of technology across our lives. Having analysed over 15 reports and data from over 800 internal communication, digital workplace professionals and HR specialists, this is our most robust analysis to date.

This quarter’s trends report has been quite a hefty report to pull together! Delving into over 15 reports, analysing data from more than 800 internal comms pros, our first simplytrends report of 2021

Over the last few months, we’ve seen the release of a number of highly valued industry reports. As we look ahead, while there are still many unknowns, we’re also seeing some really strong themes coming up the agenda.

Enjoy the read – and let me know what you think!

Frictionless EX

Every organisation needs to innovate its communications and people practices because the way we manage people is changing faster than ever. Most of us are dealing with factors such as broad employee demographics, multi-cultural teams, constant automation and digital change, and increasingly global markets. This new model lends itself to the need for a new model for operations, technology and frictionless employee experience.

Tech that serves people

EY’s 2020 Digital Investment Index survey (2021) found 62% of respondents believe it’s critical to transform their organisations over the next two years. But, just 2% believe they are utilising the benefits of digital processes. We’re continuing to hear and see examples where the roll-out of technology was so swift at the start of the pandemic, now, people are only just beginning to explore what their needs are now. 2021 onwards will see a heavy focus on data and digital technologies.

Integrated tech & wellbeing 

The pandemic in 2020 put just about every bit of our lives out of whack. Sadly, the effects of this health crisis will usher in another one in 2021 – a mental health crisis. Businesses will need to maintain the same proactive approach that they used in the early stages of the Covid-19 meltdown, provide support, guidance and incorporate employee wellbeing into the very heart of the business. In line with this, we’re also seeing technology as a conduit to wellbeing. The rise of wearable wellbeing tech, the launch of Microsoft Viva, for example, secures the strong connection that we saw between the two throughout 2020.

Fairness and social justice

Momentum for change has built as more consumers – and employees – become more aware of the global injustices being served on minority groups. Companies need to offer more dignity, security and justice to employees throughout the global value chain. People have found their voice and they’re speaking up, rightly so. Leadership and business priorities must be authentic, open, transparent and fair – failure will result in significant operational and reputational consequences.

Talent Mobility

Organisations that invest in reskilling, upskilling, and internal mobility will reap the rewards of a competitive workforce. Learning has become part of everyone’s job. People who have opportunities to learn and grow at work aren’t simply equipped with the right skills; they’re also armed with the right mindset to innovate and succeed. Again, technology plays a starring role here. Integration of learning platforms with existing channels (see Microsoft Viva, again!), the rise of internal jobs boards and the desire to hold onto high-performing, much-valued talent is spurring innovation across the board. For internal communicators, it would pay to understand the learner-mindset in the quest to drive effective communication and support employee engagement.

simplycommunity members can get access to the full report on the community site.

Ready to boost your digital workplace experience? Our simplyconsulting team is here to help.


Lisa Pantelli, head of content & community

Lisa is simply’s head of content and community. She is an award-winning employee engagement and internal communications specialist.

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