In the modern workplace creating a world class employee experience is a key factor in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and a huge driver of engagement. A great employee experience is influenced by multiple touch points inside an organisation, and there is no silver bullet or one area that can do it in isolation. It requires great collaboration across the enterprise with the employee at the heart of design thinking.
A key factor in a great employee experience is Internal Communication. It has a huge influence on the relationship employees have with the business. So, it is hugely important to think about Internal Communications as an ‘experience’ and not just a message, story, or campaign.
One of the biggest issues Internal Communicators faces inside an organisation is employees engaging with the content they create. But if we are brutally honest, employees do not come to work to read news and stories. It is an ‘extra-curricular’ activity they need to find time to do in the working day. So, we need to make that activity as easy as possible.
These are four things I always think about when looking to create Internal Communications experiences.
In the flow of work
I am a huge fan of Microsoft technologies to create great experiences, primarily because they are designed to work together. With the launch of Viva, Microsoft coined a new idea that is designed to reach employees ‘in the flow of work’.
As organisations evolve, I firmly believe that this idea will become a key foundation of any employee experience, and it is an idea that Internal Communications can adopt.
One thing Internal Communicators need to consider is that content is competing with multiple transactions inside an organisation. It could be a piece of learning, submitting expenses or booking holiday. So, the time people have to consume content is limited.
To make content work hard for you it is important that you can reach people where they are. Historically you might post a news item on your Intranet or send a companywide email, but today you will never get the engagement you want without making it easy for people to find news.
Microsoft Teams is designed to be ‘working hub’ of the day for employees. So, the more you can signpost or nudge people to content in Teams, the better your outcomes will be. Viva is a game changer here and will enable Internal Communications teams to create great content experiences that can surface across Microsoft technologies.
Most organisations will still need a Digital Workplace ecosystem (e.g., SharePoint) which will be a news hub. But the more you can guide people to content without disrupting or interrupting the working day, the better your content will land and the better the experience will be for the employee.
Another key ingredient to a great Internal Comms experience is making sure that you work collaboratively to connect experiences. It isn’t just content that needs to be built into the ‘flow of work’ – it is all employee transactions.
A great example here is with learning. Historically asking employees to complete mandatory learning would need an Internal Comms intervention. It might be an email or news item and would likely take the employee out of the ecosystem they are in to complete.
To create a great experience, you would want nudges to complete your learning within Teams for example and be able to complete without leaving. This is now becoming possible with tools like Viva Learning. Removing the need for intervention from Internal Comms is a dual win as it not only creates a better experience for the employee, but it also reduces content and makes those ‘moments that matter’ more impactful.
It isn’t just learning where you can look to connect experiences. Viva Cards now offers 3rd party connectors into tools like Service Now so you can start to surface employee transactions easily within the Microsoft ecosystem.
The more you can keep employees in the same place, making transactions easy and quick to complete, the better the experience will be.
Reaching employees where they are is key to a great Internal Communications experience. Employee populations will have preferences for different channels, and it is important that with news and stories you are creating content that works for multiple channels.
Although written content still has a big role to play in Internal Communications, especially formally, a diversity of content is the best way to reach the biggest group of employees.
This does require more work and effort as creating videos, podcasts, digital assets as well as writing copy adds much more complexity to ‘getting news out’. But for the big moments inside an organisation, having these assets will enable you to create content experiences that suit the needs of all your employees.
Keep it digestible
Quite possibly the silver bullet for a great Internal Communications experience is to keep your content digestible. The role of Internal Communicators is to make sure employees are informed and what good looks like will vary from those who know the headline, to those that have a deeper understanding.
Bite sized content needs to play a key role in the future of Internal Communications. Taking 30 seconds out of an employee’s working day is a far easier task than taking 5-10 minutes.
Tools like Yammer or Workplace can help you to amplify content inside an organisation. If you look at how Twitter and the BBC website work together, that same concept applies inside an organisation. The BBC (Digital Workplace) is where you will find more in-depth content and Twitter (Yammer or Workplace) is where you’d share the headline or a shorter, more digestible piece of content with a link through to the full story.
How employees consume content in the workplace today is changing, and to help influence a world class employee experience, Internal Communications needs to adapt.
Internal Communications in isolation cannot create a great employee experience, but these four themes will help to influence it and make life easier for employees. They can also help make those ‘moments that matter’ inside an organisation much more impactful.