How do you empower your people, get them involved, or tell them about new products, services and ways of working when some of the team are still working remotely?
Many companies have wrestled with these questions over the last twelve months. Some have placed a lot of their internal communications on hold, waiting until the team gradually returns to the workplace. Covid-19 saw almost 40,000 jobs being lost in 2020, we saw Internal Communications Managers‘ roles across the country suffer as more and more people worked from home and companies’ internal budgets were frozen.
More than a year later we’re faced with finding new ways of working. Some organisations can see the potential cost savings and increased efficiency levels in working from home. And going forward as restrictions are removed, a higher proportion of companies than before are looking to retain and encourage flexible working.
Sainsbury’s are already reducing their office footprint in lieu of home working, hybrid home-office working, and desk-sharing. They’re just one of many as almost half of UK businesses plan to cut down on expensive office space. It’s a move that will inevitably affect the future of internal comms too.
Aviva is set to cut its office space by 30% by the end of 2021.City AM
Internal communications managers are set to play an important role in this new future, as big businesses realise the importance of bridging the gap between home and office. The need to boost employee satisfaction, retention, motivation and engagement hasn’t gone away.
internal comms doesn’t have to mean in the office comms.
Give your internal communications strategy a boost
With so much communication happening on virtual meeting platforms, email overload, many employees may feel like they’re drowning in content. Or worse, they’ve become disengaged.
Now is the perfect time to look at your current channels and check they have the reach and engagement they once did. Maybe it’s time to add a new communications tool or to expand a multi-media approach.
Perfect your email aim
- Email – We send and receive over 120 business emails per day, 20% are left unread. Avoid the one-to-many approach by using targeted emails which provide value and reinforce relevancy by mentioning key teams or individuals early on in your content. Start conversations and tell stories – people remember stories.
Engage with impact
- Images, Video and Podcasts – Research shows that the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text – so a picture really is worth a 1,000 words! Easy to digest infographics attract our attention where words may fail; they work well on the small screen too.When it comes to effective engagement, video is your top choice. Videos and podcasts allow everyone to watch or listen from wherever they are – with minimal effort. Breaking up content with images or infographics also makes it easier to see at a glance which messages are relevant to which employees, improving intranet and email interaction.
Timing is everything
- Intranet, Employee Apps and Social channels – With employees’ new hours often being flexible, your intranet needs to be easily accessible on a mobile. Adding apps or social posts to your multi-media communications will boost real-time engagement, and reach people even when they’re not working. Apps and social channels have the added benefit of push notifications for ‘must-read comms’. It’s easy to comment and share, take part in corporate conversations and even become a brand activist. Encourage employees to get involved and share their experiences with campaigns, competitions, volunteer or fundraising opportunities.
Rewards and power-ups
- Celebrate success – A pat on the back has long been known to boost productivity. As well as celebrating success at every level and mentioning key workers – try social tagging, it will let them know they’ve had a mention and encourages others to find out more about their activities.
- Training and Conferences – Workshops and training are great for empowering staff and facilitating growth. Bring them to life with digital solutions such as animations and interactive tools. We see virtual events remaining popular, they’re especially useful for communicating globally and across multiple sites. Bespoke films and eye-catching animations have more impact than corporate slide shows.
- Gamification – Gamification is a successful marketing tactic, it also helps combat isolation and is a great way to get people talking. Trivia and photo competitions can help each member be seen and involved. But games aren’t just for team building and collaboration. They can accelerate the achievement of company goals. A sales scoreboard across regional offices is a great motivator, as are games that let employees play for points or rewards, whilst improving their skills and knowledge.
Finally, deliver the killer punch
- Create an office people want to come back to – Whether your employees are already back in the office or, you’re planning to get them back in as soon as possible, the impact of the physical workplace shouldn’t be ignored.
Now could be the perfect time to embed your brand within your physical workspace and look at how walls can be used to communicate to your people in a more immersive way, reinforcing your internal messages in the new working world. It’s far easier to revamp or install new visual communications while the workspace is empty. New digital signage, large format graphics or a change in room layout or decor can make a real impact on returning staff. Add hashtags or a strong call to action in the physical environment too, to make it easy for everyone to get involved.
Want to find out more about internal communications and engaging your workforce? Check out our article: How better design can help encourage people back to the office. Looking for inspiration? You can also view our interiors case studies for Dixons Carphone, E.ON and BT.
To find out how we can help you improve your internal communications strategy or establish one get in touch – we’d love to help. Alternatively, for the latest marketing and branding news, take a look at our Articles page.