The world of work has been changing around us for some time now, with digital disrupting the workplace and people strategies. Agility is becoming a really important part of the employee experience and to recruit and retain the best people, organisations are needing to adapt and change.
Of course, a global pandemic is always going to accelerate change, and agility has become the new normal for workforces across the globe, with digital and tech replacing the need for expensive offices.
At some point the world will go back to normal, but the future of work has maybe changed forever. So, what does that mean for Internal Communications?
It is clear that traditional Internal Communications models need to evolve and change to adapt to modern ways of working. It is time for a new playbook that looks at IC through a lens of these 5 trends.
- Employee Experience
The influence of Internal Communications on the employee experience cannot be understated. IC nurtures the relationship between a business and its people and should be at the beating heart of an EX-strategy.
There are lots of things in an organisation that create an employee experience and often the success of all of those different spokes in the EX-wheel are influenced by IC.
One of the key roles of Internal Communications is to join the dots for employees on the employee experience. Often many EX initiatives are delivered in isolation and that can dilute the impact. If your ambition is to create a brilliant employee experience and the best place to work, you need to shout that from the rooftops to your people and share that story.
The Digital Workplace is disrupting the idea of the ‘Intranet’ which has traditionally lived within Internal Communications. In a modern workplace, the ‘digital experience’ is a critical subset of the ‘employee experience’ and needs to be designed in a different way to the old idea of an Intranet.
The role of a product owner is now becoming a key part of the digital workplace; looking at digital experiences through a lens that connects different platforms together. Multi-generational and iterative releases mean that you will be continually pushing forward the employee experience and won’t stand still. A key failing of lots of traditional Intranets.
The role of product owner is an extended focus for many IC teams who need to work with a much wider lens. It isn’t just about content, it is about the wider experience for employees, connecting people to communities, conversations, culture and content.
Organisations with big EX ambitions need to think about digital experiences with a ‘product’ mindset. With more agile workforces, digital experiences are becoming ever more important.
Agility is a huge focus for many organisations today and will become more important as the future of work takes shape. Agile has many meanings in a business but its core component is moving quickly, not being afraid to fail and continually iterating. Agility is also about fluidity and reacting quickly to events and adapting.
All of this is relevant to Internal Communications. Being fleet of foot has always been important but working with an agile mindset is a really key part of modern-day IC. That means continually challenging what you are doing, how you are doing it and listening to people.
Agile lends itself well to Digital initiatives and when developing a channel strategy or building out your digital workplace don’t set anything in stone. It is important to test things and find out what works and what doesn’t, if something doesn’t work it is fine to bin it.
In the modern workplace if you have channels that have stood still for 18 months you are probably doing it wrong, nothing stands still, and you need to continually evolve.
Employee Generated Content isn’t a new idea, but it is becoming an ever-important part of the modern workplace. Top-down communication has its place, but the authentic voice of the business is peer to peer. So, employee stories and content should form a key part of your IC content strategy.
Most modern digital workplaces have multiple tools to enable collaboration and conversation, and it fast becoming the role of IC to curate rather than create content, amplifying authentic employee stories to validate key business messages.
It is more important than even to have a network of content creators and influencers inside your business who will be your primary storytellers. It is important not to think of them as ‘comms champions’ but ‘influencers’ – the people that when they share content others sit up and take notice.
Employee Engagement is still a key business metric, but the annual survey should be redundant in a modern workplace. It should be replaced with more frequent and regular pulse checks so that issues can be uncovered and tackled swiftly, rather than left to fester for a year.
The way in which employees’ feedback in the modern workplace is multi-faceted, with surveys forming only one listening point. Social tools are a great way to check in more regularly and keep a close eye on the pulse of the business.
The modern digital workplace is evolving all of the time with really smart and sophisticated analytics on the EX coming online with tools like Microsoft Viva and Glint.
Engagement is still important, but it is part of a bigger story now and the overall EX metric.
These 5 trends are not an exhaustive list of things to consider in a modern-day IC playbook, but they should all play an important part in thinking.
The pandemic has accelerated the future of work for many organisations, so it is important that Internal Comms leads the revolution from the front.