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Connect Your Workforce – 7 Internal Communications Trends in 2020

Heading into 2020 we expected businesses to be faced with many challenges.

Now, just over halfway through the year, it’s clear that even the most cautious of predictions had underestimated how difficult the year would turn out to be.

It’s more important than ever to have a strong internal communications plan so you can keep your brand on track and your employees motivated.

This is all the more important in frontline industries like healthcare and manufacturing.

The need of the hour is to digitize internal communications (IC) for frontline workers (80% of the global workforce) through mobile-first communication tools.

This will also help with business continuity and workplace resurgence during and after the pandemic.

An Internal Communications Strategy for the Next Normal

Working crystal balls aren’t something that we possess. Fortunately, we don’t need those tools to identify current needs and we can use those needs to predict future trends.

As we start off this decade, we expect to see the focus of IC shift towards simplicity, clarity and practicality.

This is especially true in frontline industries that are witnessing a shift from the traditional, paper based forms of communication.

Secure digital communication tools, aligned teams and connecting distributed, remote and frontline workers are some of the key trends taking shape this year.

Following is a brief overview of our take on internal communications trends 2020.

1. Digital Transformation - Mobile-First Communication

According to a recent study, more than 77% of businesses categorize a digital workplace as a crucial priority.

The on-going global health crisis, that has pushed a majority of desk workers into remote working mode, has amplified the growth of the digital workplace.

A digital transformation is needed in frontline industries in order to connect frontline, off-line and deskless workers.

However, a fragmented digital landscape and a large number of processes going online, makes it that much harder to earmark an apt platform that helps every business.

An intranet should be a central control unit to all tools within any digital workplace. To put it simply – it is an integration of multiple digital channels under one umbrella.

Mobile devices are near-ubiquitous today. It makes sense for business owners to take advantage of that and use the devices their employees carry with them every day to communicate with them.

Employing a mobile-first intranet is important whether your company has a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy or not. Cloud-based, work-anywhere systems make your employees feel more empowered.

2. Give Your Employees a Content Experience

Business communications may not be the most glamorous of things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make them more interesting.

Some communications are worthy of an email or a long winded memo, but others can be delivered in more engaging ways.

Apps, videos and images offer an engaging way of communicating with your employees and make it more likely that they will pay attention to important issues.

If you want to keep your staff on-brand, regular, gentle nudges about new messages or policies will achieve that far better than a bland memo.

Personalizing messaging is also gaining ground at the start of this decade.

An employee communication tool can help you show specific groups and teams messages that are relevant to them.

Generic messages can be sieved out to prevent clogging people’s inboxes and communication channels with irrelevant information.

3. Employee Experience - Turning Workers into Brand Advocates

Your employees are a huge asset. Happy employees will share a lot about their work lives with their friends, and can be some of the most powerful advocates that your brand will ever have.

It’s well-known that word of mouth is a hugely effective marketing tool. Messages distributed by employees will get shared more than those distributed by the brand’s social media account.

Employees will advocate your brand only if their experience at the organization has been fulfilling. This is where Employee Experience matters.

Workers should have a positive experience with your company starting from the day they sign on the dotted line to their day to day interactions within the workplace.

Internal communications plays a huge role in creating a positive employee experience.

As a result, IC teams and HR teams are collaborating more often than not to improve this metric and enhance the culture of the organization.

4. Security is the Prime Focus while choosing an Employee Communications App

Different personnel look for markedly varied parameters in a communications tool. HR managers mostly look for engagement and process automation.

Operations teams look for productivity features. However, in order for an employee communication app to be vetted by IT teams it has to have robust security and related features.

An IT employee will most likely review the security

features followed by how customizable the platform is. They will also look for the possibility of integrations that the communications tool supports.

5. Gathering Input Internally

It’s hard for bosses, especially those in large or rapidly growing companies, to stay on top of what is going on within their businesses. Employee communications apps can make the job easier.

The advantage of a digital communications tool is the open feedback loop that it provides, where feedback flows instantly between employers and employees.

Use polls and surveys to gather feedback about the things that matter most to your workers.

Ask employees for ideas about how to improve the business, both in terms of the offerings available to customers and the way things are done at the office.

When your employees feel listened to they’ll be more productive and they’ll be more likely to be loyal too.

6. Make Productivity Easy

The practice in many frontline industries so far was to hand out timesheets that are actual paper sheets. Forms, checklists and processes were all stored in huge paper files.

Those paper backups are certainly useful to have, but they should be exactly that – backups.

Employee apps are now integrated with smart productivity apps, electronic calendars and easy-to-follow workflows.

Smart productivity tools take the stress out of the working day and allow your employees to focus on the things that matter the most.

7. Collaboration Breeds Success

How do your employees communicate with each other? How easily can they reach their line managers if they need to ask something?

Internal communication isn’t all about upper management sending messages to frontline workers.

Yes, it’s important for management to have a consistent channel through which to communicate with the customer-facing workforce, but those workers need a voice too.

Having a clear, moderated and logged communications channel for workers to communicate with their peers helps them and protects your business interests.

Keeping all work-related communications in a work-focused app ensures that data protection rules are followed, reduces the risk of any tricky HR complaints, and ensures people get the information they need when they need it.

Keeping your internal communications in one place helps foster a spirit of communication and collaboration and makes your employees feel like they are working towards a clear brand mission.

Choose the Right Tools to Empower Your Workforce

The IC space is evolving rapidly. Tools such as AI assistants, translations, and location-aware communication apps are becoming more readily available and more user-friendly by the day.

What’s more, with cloud-based apps there’s no need for a sophisticated in-house IT team to maintain them.

If you’re a business owner looking to improve the way that you communicate with people in your workforce, look for a collaboration suite that can grow with your business and that promotes multimedia communications and the contextualization of content.

In business, the questions of “who, how and when” are all important, and a good internal communications app will make content easy to find, view and share internally.

It will also allow certain content, pre-approved of course, to be shared externally – bridging the gap between internal and global communications.

Apps such as make internal communications easy with features that can grow and scale with your business.

Why not schedule a demo today and see how improving your internal communications can increase employee productivity, boost morale, and make your business more efficient.

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