Six Internal Communications Trends to Keep in Mind When Engaging Employees
Is social media influencing included in internal business communications? Who do employees actually want to hear from? And are DEI communications really here to stay? In other words, what’s happening in the world of internal communications (internal comms)? We’ve rounded up the top trends that will shape internal communication strategies and reengage employees in 2022.
1. Leadership should walk the talk
Introducing: the Chief Executive ENGAGEMENT Officer
In this day and age, communication has never been a more critical management tool for CEOs and senior management (1). Leadership has become more visible, reachable and approachable – so these leaders should act the part and embrace the vital role of communicator.
Employees want to hear from their CEO, but not in the way stakeholders and board members do. Communications with internal stakeholders should be straightforward, transparent and tackle tough topics head-on. Showing vulnerability can only help to build trust. We’re all human, after all.
And with all the technology, such as video, at our fingertips today, leadership has plenty of opportunities to establish authentic relationships with employees by means of engaging and accessible formats.
It’s time for leadership and top executives to get actively involved in creating a work environment that fosters engagement and start acting as a role model for the behavior they want to see from their employees, because there can’t be effective leadership without effective communication.
2. Engage All Generations
Gen Z has entered the (virtual) building
These days, talent is entering the workforce virtually which means their opportunities to interact and socialize with colleagues are far and few between. Missing out on peer interactions, especially at the start of their careers, means Gen Z is missing out on developing several soft skills they normally would pick up in the office.
As a result, they lack confidence in and attachment to their work, and the company overall (2). Internal comms provide a crucial platform to help build Gen Z’s sense of belonging, and create a common understanding of why their work matters. Similarly, powerful internal comms can serve as a wakeup call for leadership to take action and begin introducing mentorship opportunities, as well as other forms of support.
This is where audience mapping, buyer persona development, and having a clear channel strategy come into play. It’s not just for external comms. If you’re not putting yourself in your employees’ shoes and taking all generations into account, from baby boomers to Gen Z, you risk leaving someone behind.
3. Storytelling that resonates void lengthy, tiresome paragraphs
Do you ‘understand the assignment’?
Platforms such as TikTok have completely changed the way we tell stories and interact with content in our daily lives. So, should employees expect any different from their corporate communications? The answer is no. Gone are the days of long articles filled with corporate waffling and convoluted jargon. Businesses better keep up.
Storytelling in the era of TikTok and TWITCH presents opportunities for internal comms to become more engaging, relevant, personal, and immediate. Can a bite-sized video explain a complex topic in a creative and engaging manner, and under just three minutes? Does gamification better resonate with new hires when onboarding them? Then do it! The key is to experiment with different formats so you can reach your internal audience how they want to be reached, with a message that actually resonates.
4. From champions to influencers
Influencers are changing the way all organizations and businesses communicate. When done well, social influencers can help brands connect with audiences in a powerful, personalized, and authentic way, and even reach brand-new audiences. And the same is true for influencers INSIDE your organization.
An influencer is nominated by their peers and is considered to have authority on the topic. Their passion bleeds through when they communicate, and they inspire their peers to listen.
Do you know who your internal influencers are? Does your communication strategy include these individuals? Are you giving them the resources to amplify their voice? If not, get on it!
5. DEI matters
Inclusivity is not a fad
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is here to stay, and will continue to be an increasingly important topic in workplace culture, and as a strategic business advantage. Employees look for companies with inclusive and diverse cultures that align with their own values. Today, 39% of job seekers are more likely to turn down a job opportunity when they believe there’s a lack of inclusion (3), while 45% are more likely to stay with an organization if it’s inclusive (4).
Are your internal comms inclusive of a diverse employee base? Are you delivering your message in a format accessible to all?
The language you use for your message, and how you choose to deliver it, is essential to make everyone in your organization to feel like they belong. If you’re not speaking their language, then why would they listen?
6. Meaningful metrics
Out with the old, in with the new
Executing successful internal campaigns means looking beyond typical engagement metrics, and redefining your goals, KPIs (key performance indicators), and ROI (return on investment), which will ultimately reflect true success when it comes to employee engagement. Quantitative metrics, like open rates and CTRs (click-through rate), are becoming less meaningful as communication platforms evolve towards a more privacy-first approach.
Today, qualitative metrics set the tone, which is why it’s important to explore new methods to evaluate the effectiveness of internal communications. It’s all about quality over quantity.
What can you learn from video drop-off rates? Are internal shares a reflection of employee adoption? What are the conversations in your internal social channels telling you?
Behavioral data has become a much more valuable KPI when it comes to measuring the success of your campaigns. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to truly get to know your employees.
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