Internal communication isn’t just a cog in the wheel that keeps everything turning, it’s every cog in every business wheel that keeps everything turning.
Without communication how would anything get done? How would decisions be made? How would plans be shared? Problems solved? News released? Connections made? Without internal comms, none of this is possible.
Despite the ever-growing awareness of the value of internal comms, many large businesses still seem at a loss when it comes to deploying the right sorts of technology to encourage and support internal comms.
Though the market seems saturated with comms technology, from employee experience platforms to Slack, Whatsapp and Facebook for business, knowing what will work best for you can feel like a minefield – one that you’re walking through, blindfolded.
Whether you’re just starting out or are looking to support or replace an existing technology you have, here's:
The 5 shortcuts to a powerful internal communications platform
It may sound obvious, but ask your people what they want and need to communicate better.
It’s extremely easy for someone working at the top of the chain to pick an internal comms platform with the snazziest marketing and the most attractive frontend design. However when it comes to functionality, it falls at the first hurdle. Why? Because the choice hasn’t necessarily been made by the people using the technology, and they therefore can’t understand what the technology should really be doing.
Learning about your people is a sure way to understand what internal comms platform is needed.
What are their day-to-day tasks? Who do they speak to and what do they have access to? What problems do they face and what jobs could be made easier with the right technology. Even ask what tasks are made harder because of the wrong technology. It may seem ridiculous, but 80% of people claimed technology not working properly creates a negative experience at work.
As much as employers may not know what their people want, they may also forget the most basic of problems: Access. Using a platform that isn’t limited by device or location is the only way to ensure that employees actually engage with internal comms.
Remember that not all your employees work five metres from a desktop at all times. The majority of the workforce are based on the front line; whether front of house, on shop floors or on building sites. How can they communicate and keep up-to-date on company goings-on if they can’t access the platform?
Cater to existing habits, rather than demanding people make new ones. A guaranteed way to ensure all employees engage with the technology you provide is to make it mobile-friendly. Gone are the days of intranets that only load up on your desktop, they’re just not flexible enough.
On the average media platform, there are over four types of content on offer. Aside from your classic written content (in both long and short form), there’s image (think photographs, infographics and illustrations), video and audio (podcasts are hugely popular at the moment).
The versatility of the content creation landscape means users expect a mix of content to keep things interesting. To best encourage engagement and retention, offer a spectrum of information via multiple mediums, rather than defaulting to written blogs. To do this, it’s imperative that the internal comms platform supports multimedia.
Another typical road block for internal comms is post-deployment. When all energy and efforts have gone into choosing, creating and deploying the platform, often the management and maintenance can be forgotten.
You regularly hear of businesses who have internal comms platforms that no one uses, and what’s the point in that?
From the get-go any internal comms platform should be assigned a manager; someone to manage the creation and distribution of content and oversee analytics and engagement. This will help to pick up momentum, sustain usage and help improve the platform over time. With someone supervising, you can make the best of the platform, helping to ensure return on investment and the happiness of your people.