In 2021 with remote working the new normal, a robust internal communications strategy is more important than ever.
There is still much uncertainty around the shape of the workforce and how it performs in a post-pandemic world, but a recent McKinsey survey gives some indication of what we might expect to see as the world eases itself out of lockdown.
Responses to a recent global survey of 800 executives conducted by McKinsey suggest a disruptive period of workplace changes lie ahead due to accelerated automation, digitisation and other trends.
In response to the pandemic, 85% of employers have accelerated digitisation in relation to employee interaction and collaboration.
Of those surveyed in the UK, 20% of execs expressed the intention of enabling at least 10% of their workforce to work remotely for two days per week or more.
The report concluded that “Some remote work is here to stay, but not for everyone or every workday.”
Predicted impacts of increase remote working on internal communications
With a larger portion of the workforce working remotely with greater frequently, organisations lose the opportunity for more organic face to face employee communications and may see functions, project teams and working groups become more siloed as direct digital communications remains on a “needs must” basis.
To maintain an effective flow of information about the wider organisation, its objectives, and progresses, business will need to enhance these efforts with a more robust internal communications strategy that will allow it to take ownership of the messages received by employees.
Importance of an engaged and informed workforce
“Communication is a critical part of employee engagement, which in turn promotes better performance, employee retention and wellbeing. Employees are more likely to engage and contribute when there’s an open culture. Good employee communication enables employees to stay connected to their workplace, understand their organisation’s purpose and strategy, identify with its values, and develop a sense of belonging by understanding how they contribute to its wider purpose.” – CIPD
Recent research indicates some interesting stats to support this:
- According to Salesforce, “90% of employees want to work in a company where issues are discussed efficiently and inclusively, and where management includes them into the decision-making process – only 40% of employees believe they actually do.”
- As study by Dynamic Signal concluded, “Companies using dedicated internal communications platforms see up to a 30% increase in employee engagement.”
How can we get started with an internal comms strategy?
Internal comms really needs to be a shared effort between all departments though usually ownership is allocated to either the HR department, or corporate communications team if the organisation has one. To be effective, stakeholders from every department need to be able to contribute to shaping the strategy to find best fit for the entire business.
The best place to start is with the organisations most important KPIs, demonstrating with clear visual representations where the organisation is in terms of its actual performance versus its expected performance.
Then working from this basis, consider which areas of the business are responsible for delivering aspects of those KPIs and what information they need to be kept informed on to be able to do carry out their role in contributing to those KPIs most effectively.
Once you have identified what each stakeholder group needs to know, you can seek to understand how to communicate with them best. You will find that office-based teams respond differently to certain types of communications vehicles than those that are mobile.
Tone of voice is another consideration here. Do you use the same type of language with engineers for example as you would with your senior management team?
What about depth of information? Too much information about a subject they are not really interested or engaged with, or that may not be highly relevant to their own role, is unlikely to be absorbed.
Ask yourself – do they need just a brief summary of information, or do they require an in-depth explanation?
The other consideration is who is the communications coming from? Make sure information is cited from an appropriate and relevant source within the organisation.
Another great way to increase engagement with your internal comms, is to ask colleagues to pen content for you. Get it from grassroots level, from a face that other people in the relevant department know and recognise.
Need some help?
We have recently extended our internal comms division and can offer a bespoke support package to suit the needs of your business.
We can start from scratch, taking time to speak with various cross sections of your employees to understand what the reality of their experience is. We then map this against your corporate objectives, help to define your values, and implement a communications programme that helps to shape the culture of your business to optimise productivity and staff retention.
If you already have internal comms specialists in house, then you can call on us to bolster your comms programme with specialist media such as video production, animations, graphic design and corporate photography.
- Barekzai, Sabrina. “Salesforce Blog – News, Tips, and Insights from the Global Cloud Leader.” com, 2019, www.salesforce.com/blog/.
- Dua, Andre, et al. “The Postpandemic Workforce: Responses to a McKinsey Global Survey of 800 Executives | McKinsey.” mckinsey.com, McKinsey, 9 Autumn 2020, www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/what-800-executives-envision-for-the-postpandemic-workforce#.
- “Dynamic Signal 2019 Customer Impact Study.” dynamicsignal.com, 2019, resources.dynamicsignal.com/ebooks-guides/dynamic-signal-2019-customer-impact-study
- “Employee Communication | Factsheets.” CIPD, www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/communication/factsheet#gref