“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” The iconic line from Paul Newman’s 1967 classic movie “Cool Hand Luke” still resonates today as companies struggle to find a solution to re-engage and invigorate the stagnant workforce.
Chances are your current internal communication strategy looks something like this: e-newsletters, traditional PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Word documents and Adobe PDFs, all housed somewhere on the internet and/or internal shared drive. Maybe there’s a podcast or occasional video from leadership somewhere in there. The point is, the formats and technology we use to create and distribute important information to employees remain largely unchanged from years past, despite radical changes to the work experience. Why does that matter?
Consider the areas of work that have seen widespread change due to the move to more distributed and flexible working environments, such as the implementation of newer collaboration tools. What we’ve learned is new technology can have major downsides depending on how it’s used. For example, endless Zoom meetings or Slack messages can become a source of interruption and fatigue, leading to employees feeling burned out and disengaged.
Even with the best intentions, the effort from companies to embrace digital transformation can result in negative outcomes if the employee experience is not taken into account. When it comes to your strategy and tools used for internal communications, optimizing around the employee experience must be an utmost priority. How do you find technology that meets your goals, satisfies your staff and fosters engagement, productivity, and ultimately the overall employee experience?
Rethink Employee Engagement
Gallup research found that just 36% of Americans are engaged at work. Globally, that number plummets to 20%. Disengagement stifles productivity and creativity. Some of the most innovative companies take a different approach to communication. To produce innovative products, you need to inspire and connect your employees back to the mission. Who better to engage them than their fellow employees? And what better way to engage them than with multimedia like an insightful video?
As an example, look at Nokia’s employee blogs. Employees around the world in various positions ranging from a marketing specialist in India to a business transformation manager in Munich share their firsthand experiences and a glimpse into office life with their inspiring vlogs.
An IBM study revealed that 63% of employees want to hear more from leadership and 54% think they’d be more productive if that were the case. The motivation is there, but you need the right resources to reach your people. Tech tools can increase work fulfillment and help staff better understand and stay up-to-date with company news. In particular, interactive resources like “culture books” or “return-to-the-office playbooks” can be used to educate, inspire and motivate staff.
The old way of doing things needs to change — pronto. The old way: Here’s a thick paper manual for you to read up on our company culture and rules. The new approach: a digital experience that allows teams to click through interactive content and menu choices so that by the end of it, they’re not only connected with the material, but they actually retain it.
The intranet is not the end-all, be-all source of information for your company. Only 13% of employees use their intranet on a daily basis, according to a study by Prescient Digital Media. If you think it’s enough to just send out an email and assume people are clicking the links in your email to access critical information on your internal site, you’re in for a rude awakening. What’s your plan to reach the other 87% of your workforce?
In a Medium article, Scott Fulton, director of Digital Rebels, a digital services, consulting and training company, outlines five reasons why your intranet is so unpopular:
- It’s created for the organization, not the employee reading it.
- It focuses on the greatness of your organization and misses the mark when it comes to connecting your people with the resources and motivation they need.
- Too much text makes it nearly impossible for folks to find what they’re looking for. How user friendly is it really?
- HiPPOs are in charge of it. What’s wrong with HiPPOs? The HiPPO referenced here is “highest paid person’s opinion,” which isn’t always in line with what staff actually want and need.
- It lacks purpose and strategy. Think about your intranet. Without a clear strategy and purpose, you lose credibility.
To attract and retain forward thinkers, you need to up your internal communication game. Bottom line, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and provide your people with an engaging and meaningful experience. Think no-code interactive platforms, with easy-to-use functionality that creates an interactive user experience (UX) beyond the ordinary.
Breathe life back into otherwise boring presentations and utilize tools like interactive quizzes that engage your staff and spark conversation in the workplace. Set the tone for onboarding new employees with interactive guides and videos. Make newsletters pop with inspiring content and uniquely designed templates.
Is it possible to give your team a say in what software they use? A 2021 Gartner global survey found that nearly one-quarter of staff had the option to choose their software, which is a win-win for the employer and the staff.
Internal communication is critical to employee experience, and when you make it fresh, fun, and engaging for your staff, it’s a total game changer. Work with your information technology (IT) team to assess past successful software deployments, identify what went right, and ultimately determine what takeaways you can gather for future tech. Remember, tech alone doesn’t fix the problem, but tech combined with an innovative approach to internal communication strategy? Now that’s the ticket.