- Managers need more information to be effective communicators. There was a consensus that this level in the organization is a make or break to your messaging. The solutions of late seem to be moving towards tools that provide quick summaries and detailed information for managers to use with staff.
- Don’t trust the cascade. There were a few related issues here. Leaders don't always get messages down the management chain and even when they do, they don't provide much information. Managers are not all created equal - some are good communicators and some don't at all. There is a trend moving away from the cascade all together and instead getting direct communications to managers and employees using intranet articles, videos and other vehicles like social media tools.
- Use a conversational tone. With transparency and engagement being the all the rage, organizations are finding that employees enjoy a more informal tone in communications. It helps to cut through the jargon and get to the heart of the matter.
- Get on the social media bandwagon. Internal social media is becoming a powerful tool for employees to feel they a voice and connect w/each other. The companies that are getting it right are not afraid of employees expressing their opinions on internal AND external social media venues (Facebook, Twitter, Yammer). They are also experimenting with engagement using videos, online employee contests, and tools like salesforce.com's ideas product.
- Employees are customers. Branding is becoming more important as a tool for selling the company's values and vision to employees and engaging them in the mission. Internal communications are being bundled as part of an overall brand/package versus a single email/article.
- What? You don't use a computer? More and more companies seem challenged by employees NOT using computers (since e-communications is more the norm now). There is a trend towards finding solutions to engage with retail floor staff and factory/warehouse employees.
- Where is the best home for internal communications? This function lives in different places in the organization (HR, Marketing, PR). However, when internal communications is part of HR, seems to easier to implement engagement programs and surveys. Seems like this is a place for further study to determine where internal communications can be most effective.
Do these trends ring true for you? What else are you experiencing?
Other articles in the Marcus Evans 6th Annual Employee Engagement and Internal Communications Conference series:
- Discovery Communications: Lessons in Crisis Communications
- How Discovery made its 25th anniversary more than a party
- How Molson Coors brewed up stronger engagement
- How Best Buy strives for transparency
- UBS communicating during times of difficult change
- Falling in love at work: Macy’s Lisa Gick on employee engagement
- Live from Orlando: Frito lay gets creative communicating with frontline employees