Do you work for a company where internal communication is lacking? Or maybe your company communicates effectively with employees and internal and external stakeholders, but there's room for improvement.
According to Salesforce, a staggering 86% of corporate executives, employees, and educators blame ineffective internal and external communications as a primary reason for failures in the workplace. Effective strategic communication can help a business improve employee and investor relations and create products and services that resonate with those in the public you serve.
Creating cultures where employees experience work-life harmony and diversity is celebrated is a must in 2018. This is what you need to do to execute an effective corporate communication strategy that helps contribute to a positive corporate identity and allows you to stay ahead as an employee, manager, or entrepreneur.
Business Communication in 2018
Here are corporate communication strategy trends you're likely to see:
1. Following the lead of the French
Emails take up way too much work time. According to Attentiv, a software company focused on collaboration, the average worker spends 28% of the work week reading and sending emails. Plus, 96% of workers said that unnecessary emails waste their time. As well as seeing a future decline in email communication, perhaps we will eventually follow the French. Did you know that in 2017 the French passed a law requiring companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when no emails are sent or answered? Protecting private time, prioritizing our sleep, and managing our energy are all critical steps to stopping and preventing burnout—as well as improving business communication.
2. In-person meetings
While more and more of us are working remotely, face-to-face meetings are still a necessary aspect of organizational communication. Oxford Economics USA has found that the rate of converting prospects to actual customers pretty much doubles with face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face interactions can reduce miscommunication, increase understanding and empathy, and maintain a healthy team spirit.
3. Games as organizational communication
When Deloitte introduced its leadership training game "Badgeville," it saw the average time to complete the curriculum reduced by 50% and a 46% leap in return visitors to the site. Employees were highly engaged. We will see more and more companies taking advantage of the psychological and practical benefits that games as an internal communication strategy provide.
4. Apps and GIFs
The Society of Human Resource Managers has said that visual communication in the workplace will ramp up to mirror the consumer apps we use every day. To connect and reach a workforce that consists largely of millennials and Generation Z, managers need to create messages that are brief, precise, and ideally sent via a channel other than email, such as social media or apps.
Making sure that you have an internal communications channel where individuals can share and comment on media like videos is a great move. Microsoft's partnership with GIPHY—the world’s largest source of animated GIFs— indicates that they are making GIPHY an integral part of its enterprise messaging offerings. GIFs are more visually engaging and memorable than regular photo images. They can also make complex topics much easier to understand, and they’re faster and cheaper than video. Just as people use GIFs to communicate their reactions to something, companies can too. It's a great way to engage a target audience of younger employees.
5. More podcasts
Podcasts came on the scene in the mid-2000s. They are a great way to provide valuable information and are highly engaging. Forty-two million Americans listen to podcasts weekly, according to Statistica, which is five times the number of those who go to the movies. Crazy, right? Podcasts are also a great way to provide important content to employees on the go.
We can all relate to the struggle of trying to find the best time to schedule a meeting or a large team conference call with a global team. You typically get some employees who are the farthest away from HQ having to dial in when they should be sleeping. Podcasts improve employee relations by allowing people to consume content and gain the knowledge they need when it's most convenient for them. And if external stakeholders need to know what's going on, you can create a separate podcast or loop them into an existing one.
Remember, you’re working with humans.
Thinking back to my post-high school business studies class, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs comes to mind. We all have these simple physiological needs: we want to feel safe, a sense of belonging, accomplishment, to be liked, and to live our purpose. Don't forget the human side of strategic communication; it will always be trendy. Authentic, meaningful communication—and corporate communicators who care about their employees—drive action and commitment.
Aren't you excited about these corporate communication trends? I know I am. Anything that helps our communities thrive with productive and engaged workers is a win-win.