Why 2019 Should Be the Year of Internal Communications
How four global trends are making employee communication more important than ever
For many years, internal communication has been a poor cousin to marketing, public relations and external communications. Often there are few resources dedicated to communicating internally, the tools and tactics used are old school (newsletters and meetings), and even the executives who realize communicating is important, don’t dedicate time to it.
The great news is that we are closing the gap as more organizations realize that success lies within, and employees matter. Here are some trends that will accelerate the ascent of internal communications in 2019.
Organizations are struggling to attract and keep top talent
Every day, I see organizations working hard to attract and keep top talent. The struggle is real and many CEOs get it. A recent Gartner survey showed that workforce has risen from being the seventh highest priority to number four. Over a quarter put it in their top three. These smart CEOs realize that a lack of talent is the biggest barrier to success.
Internal communication is key to culture and engagement. It is essential to winning the hearts and minds of your employees and can produce real, bottom line results. In our new book, The Captain Wants to Water Ski we explain why internal communications is essential to attracting and keeping great people.
We are waking up to the need for action on climate change, and the need to make business sustainable and responsible
We’ve been given notice. If we don’t take action on climate change by slashing carbon emissions, the world as we know it will drastically change. Business must change how they look at risk, how they operate, and they must think about the impact of their decisions on climate.
While climate change is grabbing headlines these days, we can’t forget that 2018 was the year of #me too and the need for action on social justice and equality has just started. A 2017 study on gender equality found it will take 217 years to reach gender equality. That is eight generations. So my daughter, her daughter, and her daughter…well it is just too depressing to keep going and you get my point.
What does any of this have to do with employee communication? First, effective change requires employee engagement and you can’t engage employees if they don’t know what is going on. But beyond mobilizing your workforce, it turns out that communicating how your organization can operate in a more responsible and sustainable way, provides inspiration and purpose which is a powerful driver of performance. Companies with strong environmental and social performance outperform their peers so taking action on some of the world’s biggest issues can create a double win for your organization.
Consumer expectations are continuing to rise and brands need to get real
There was a time when communicators were called spin doctors.
Those. Days. Are. Over.
It is more important than ever to be honest, open and real. It’s not just consumers who expect it – your employees do too. To be truly transparent and authentic requires courageous leadership across organizations – leaders that are open to criticism and change themselves. Openness requires strong listening skills and why not listen to your employees? They are smart and have strong values and standards, and they can contribute to the conversation in meaningful ways.
Helping brands find their authentic voice – one that resonates within – is one of the most important roles that internal communications experts play. Ensuring that information is shared in an open, honest and authentic way with full transparency is also key to truly effective employee communication. We work at the very highest levels of organizations to ensure this happens, building loyalty and trust along the way.
Big data and the knowledge economy are still trending
Big data doesn’t just live in your IT system — it is also in your employees’ heads!
We are living in the age of the knowledge economy – it is today’s currency. Think about that for a minute. Then think about how your organization shares knowledge and information. Does everyone have access to the same information or do you create communities with people who have information and people who don’t? Do you have tools to make it easy to share information in a modern and natural way? Are the curious and knowledge seekers in your organization rewarded with a better understanding or do they find walls and roadblocks when wanting to deepen their knowledge?
Internal communication isn’t just about spreading corporate news, it is about promoting the sharing knowledge and understanding across silos to increase efficiency and support collaboration. Many studies have shown the importance of helping your employees learn and grow. This is why supporting the ability of your people to share knowledge and information in a variety of ways boosts performance and people.
These are the trends I see impacting business in 2019. Make them work for your business with the right employee communication program.
Ready to improve how you communicate and connect with employees in 2019? Contact us to get started!