Are Your Internal Communication Tools Doing More Harm Than Good?

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Guest post by Kyle Sabraw

There’s no arguing that the modern workplace has changed. Gone are the days of a 9-5, Monday through Friday desk job hidden inside of a cubicle. For better or for worse, our office has become wherever we happen to be.

Fully 43% of employees today consider themselves mobile or “deskless”. This means that your staff, management, or coworkers could be working in a different part of the building, or even a completely different time zone from you. While this has given both organizations and personnel greater freedom in their jobs, it also has given rise to a new set of challenges. Namely, how do you effectively communicate with a dispersed workforce? Are your current internal communication tools up to the task?

Email: The Crown Jewel Of Corporate Internal Communications is Losing it’s Value

Internal Communication Tools

For most of the past 25 years email has been the crown jewel for corporate internal communications. It made it easy to communicate with large groups of employees by sending out assignments, requests or memos where they spend the most time—their desks.

The intranet also became indispensable. It became an important, centralized hub of information. Management, HR, and communications officers could post memos, news, or important files on a private Internet system, almost like a digital bulletin board.

This worked very well for a 20th century workforce. Employees who were tied to their desks could check the intranet at their leisure, and get all important communications straight to their inbox.

It wasn’t without its problems though. Intranets and inboxes soon become bloated and hard to manage. We’ve all had mornings coming sitting down at out desk, combing through dozens of emails that popped up overnight, each one more important than the last. And, as companies grew, so did their intranets. Eventually, they become almost as large as the actual Internet.

Today’s workplace poses even more challenges. Not only is a not-insignificant portion of the American workforce mobile, but the way we get our information and consume media is changing as well.

Why Are Internal Communication Tools Failing?

“Millenials” are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by the year 2030. This demographic has grown up with the world at their fingertips. They have become used to being able to access almost everything they need with a few taps on the screen of their phone. Couple this with the fact that they are more likely to work remotely, and you can see how old communication methods are failing today’s employees.

According to a report by Dynamic Signal, modern employees are less engaged than ever, and internal communication tools are partly to blame.

Remote and deskless workers are being served important pieces of content and internal news and memos in a way that is convenient for them. Relying on email and intranet postings has gone from standard operating procedure to ineffective and inefficient.

These communication shortcomings have a real impact on businesses. Employees who feel “out of the loop” become disengaged from their jobs, and disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy half a trillion dollars a year.

So What’s the Solution To Communication With a Dispersed Workforce?

Internal Communication Tools

Solutions don’t seem so obvious, though.

“The No. 1 question that I’m asked at every conference is ‘How do I communicate with a dispersed workforce,’ ” said Mark Ragan, CEO and Publisher of Ragan Communications, “Yet amazingly, some companies are still literally putting up paper flyers around their offices, like in the break rooms. I’ll think, ‘What, are we in the 1990s?’ ”

Really, what organizations need to do is change the way they think. Instead of creating an information hub employees need to go to, or sending out email blasts to large sections of employees, take personalized and segmented information to them.

With an Employee Communication and Engagement Platform (or ECE), you can streamline your communication efforts and bring information directly to your employees. Mobile apps like these are quickly becoming the preferred way for forward-looking companies to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their communication efforts. These ECEs can also give communications officers and HR personnel the data they need to measure how well they’re communicating. Open rates, click-throughs, and social shares can all give management the data they need to see what is working and what isn’t.

ECEs are bringing companies into the 21st century, and by having the most up-to-date technologies and tools, companies can also attract and retain the best and most qualified talent.

Don’t Ignore the Employee Experience

Employee experience is also becoming an important part of the recruiting and hiring process for companies today. Millennial employees are looking at more than just compensation when deciding which jobs to take and which organizations to work for. Offering an exceptional employee experience, which includes open and efficient lines of communication, is a major tool for HR managers to hire the best personnel possible. Modern employees are no longer impressed by flashy intranet pages and employee portals. They are now demanding something designed and catered to their preferred methods of communication.

History is littered with the remains of companies that didn’t innovate. Times change quickly, and technology changes even quicker. Methods, skills, and knowledge can become obsolete in the blink of an eye. Organizations that don’t grow and embrace the fast paced change of modern technology are bound to be left behind.

Will your company be one of them?

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