Poor communication – or lack of communication – puts organizations at risk. Unfortunately, organizations face several challenges in improving their communication. Fortunately, new technical solutions can help.
“Communicators today struggle to reach and engage every worker,” says Gary Nakamura, CEO of SocialChorus, “as many large companies have dispersed, distributed and deskless workforces.” Approximately 75 percent of employees around the world, he adds, is “deskless,” but most technologies are focused on “‘desked’ workers.”
Large organizations, says Charles Kergaravat, director of international marketing at Klaxoon, face the challenge of siloed departments and functions. They’re looking for solutions that will help them break down those siloes and encourage collaboration and information-sharing. “The idea of teams has changed so much,” he says. “You work with 10 teams in the day,” for example, “and you need to easily share information.”
Meetings are one area where communication can not only be ineffective but even destructive to collaboration. Paul Axtell, author of “Meetings Matter,” has found five frequent problems with meetings: one or two people dominating a conversation, lack of effective meeting leadership by managers, meetings that share information that could have been better conveyed in an email, participants paying more attention to their phones or laptops than to the meeting, and nothing getting done between meetings. According to Klaxoon research, 70 percent of people in meetings are doing something else. In remote meetings, it’s hard for leaders to know who’s engaging and who’s daydreaming. They need tools to determine and then improve participation.
What’s more, Deloitte’s 2018 “Global Human Capital Trends” report shares that in the U.S., more than 40 percent of workers are employed in contingent, part-time or gig work, and 28 percent of business leaders and chief human resources officers (CHROs) expect 28 percent growth in gig workers by 2020. Kergaravat says organizations need tools that will help remote employees stay in touch with colleagues. “We’re going to see more people working this way, and they’re looking for solutions.” Lovell Corporation’s 2017 report “How Millennials and Generation Z are Redefining Work” states that millennial and Generation Z employees want their employers to be transparent and communicate with them through personalized email and social media messaging.
“The communications revolution has changed the way we talk to each other,” wrote Annabel Dunstan and Imogen Osborne, founders of Question & Retain and authors of “The People Business,” last year. “The most progressive businesses have anticipated this change, identifying a new opportunity for internal communications to break free of its old niche and become a vehicle for engagement – endorsed by the C-suite and driven all the way to the most remote mobile worker.”
“Unlike other departments like HR, finance and marketing,” says Nakamura, “internal communications has never had a purpose-built platform. SocialChorus is fixing that.” SocialChorus recently raised $12.5 million in growth financing for its platform, which enables organizations to plan, create, publish and measure internal communications. Nakamura says the company will use the funding to expand its sales, marketing and customer success teams to support customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the U.K.
SocialChorus’ largest clients have over 10 global regions and work in 20 languages. For example, The Dow Chemical Company is a multinational company with 50,000 distributed, largely manufacturing, employees. Through an app powered by SocialChorus, the company communicates with over 40,000 users working in offices or factories. The app is one of the top three information sources employees use.
Klaxoon, meanwhile, recently announced a $50 million Series B funding round for its platform of collaboration and communication tools, including a brainstorming tool, meeting tools and learning apps. According to Kergaravat, Klaxoon works with 90 percent of the largest companies in France (where the company is headquartered), including Nestle and L’Oréal, 10 percent of the Fortune 500, and a variety of small and medium-sized businesses. These companies, he says, are “tired of those top-down training sessions or meetings. They’re looking for flexibility,” and that’s what Klaxoon tries to offer them. CEO Matthieu Beucher says customers have reported that employees express around 10 times more ideas using Klaxoon tools, and teams are having more – but better and shorter – meetings.
“Teamwork productivity,” says Kergaravat, “comes from teams sharing and interacting together.” Technology can support this goal. When selecting a platform, Nakamura recommends looking for the ability to target content, measure reach and effectiveness, push and pull content into other platforms, personalize the experience, and enable two-way communication.
“Technology plays a key role in providing communicators with the tools they need to seamlessly reach, engage and connect with employees,” says Nakamura, enriching their experience regardless of location or role. As the workforce becomes more dispersed and virtual, these tools will be more important than ever.