Internal communication, as Kevin Ruck recently defined on his blog, “is corporate level information provided to all employees and the concurrent provision of opportunities for all employees to have a say about important matters that is taken seriously by line managers and senior managers”. In other words, it’s a means by which a company can tell their people what’s going on in the organization and (this is the important part) ask them for their thoughts and input with regards to certain situations.
What Ruck didn’t quite express in that entry is the increasing value that businesses are placing on it. As we speak, more and more companies are recognizing the fact that internal communication (IC) contributes to employee morale, which in turn affects the organization’s performance in the market. It’s no surprise then, that there are some trends that are geared towards making IC more effective for a new generation of workers. Some may seem practical, others out of these world. But one thing they have in common is that you simply can’t miss out on them.
Value of the Personal Voice
Giving everyone in the organization – executives, managers, and regular employees alike – a voice that’s completely their own is certainly one of the most important trends in IC. This is not just a matter of letting people have their say. It’s a matter of letting people express their thoughts in their own way, and in their own words.
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In the past, all communications (both internal and external) deployed by a company are expected to be homogenous. Everything from the emails to the voicemail greetings and newsletters adhered to an “approved” corporate jargon. Now, personalization is the name of the game; and amazingly, it actually does more towards unifying people with their organizations than imposed uniformity ever did. If you haven’t done this for your internal communication, then you must start getting into it now.
The New Intranet
Given that everything is “social” now, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that people are expecting a lot more interactivity and communication when it comes to their company intranet. In other words, they want their intranet to work more like Twitter or Facebook than just your regular run-of-the mill informative blog or website. They also want the corporate information to come from actual people, and not from “the company” or from “certain departments” (this ties into the value of the personal voice).
It also must be noted that people expect their intranet to be attractive as well. If you look at social sites, you’ll find that they’re designed to be appealing to the eye as well as easy to use. People can’t abide by an intranet that LOOKS clunky when they’ve been dealing with the elegance of the Internet for years. That’s why you need to get into the new intranet now.
Marked Up Mobility
We probably should have seen this coming – in the last year alone, our overall dependence on mobile devices skyrocketed. Practically everyone has a smartphone or tablet now. And if you haven’t gotten around to leveraging it for your company’s internal communication, then you really need to look into it right now.
If you really think about it, more and more employees prefer flexible work arrangements, which allow them to do their jobs from anywhere they want, and whenever they feel most comfortable. More and more organizations are also RESPONDING to this by allowing their people to work from home, to have more time off, and to use their own devices. In recognizing this trend, you can customize your IC materials in a way that makes them mobile-friendly – and keep everyone in the right loop.