Internal Communications Moving to Mobile
Last updated on May 24, 2022 at 04:15 pm
Internal communications has been going through an evolution. The internal comms function is being taken more seriously than ever before. According to Edelman, more chief communications officers report to the CEO than ever before (46% in 2021 compared to 34% in 2014). After the pandemic, 75% of communicators felt their value increased. And with value and perceived ROI, comes budget and increased trust. Comms teams no longer have to solely rely on outdated channels and technology to reach the workforce. In this blog, we’ll break down what the evolution of internal communications means and why the future of work is mobile.
How Internal Communication is Changing
The pandemic proved to the C-Suite that internal comms is not a nice-to-have. It’s completely vital to the success of an organization. IC teams aren’t just the people who “comms things up” or help you edit your copy. They are strategists.
The State of the Sector always reports on shifting priorities, channels and their effectiveness, and what internal communications teams see as their top challenges. This year, the focus has shifted on key issues like employee wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, new ways of working, increased leadership visibility, a greater investment in digital channels, and empowerment of managers to better engage with their teams. Gallagher’s report also focused on digital channels and their effectiveness and found that 31% of internal communications professionals use mobile apps, but found them 70% effective. This makes them one of the most effective digital tools.
These internal comms trends are reinforced in Edelman’s Future of Corporate Communications report, which found:
- 70% of Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) report CommsTech will be a top area of investment in 2022
- 62% of CCOs report they will focus more on employee communication in 2022
- 56% of CCOs reported an increased use in internal communications technology in 2021
More than ever before, comms teams have access to mobile-first technology and CommsTech usage is on the rise.
The Dispersed Workforce Dilemma
If you are in the HR or Communications department, you no doubt have “improve employee engagement” as a goal. Companies define engagement in different ways, but we all strive to improve the employee experience, increase retention, and boost productivity. But there’s a big problem. Without mobile-first channels in place, companies struggle to reach their deskless workers. It has become clear in recent years that we need to meet employees with information when and where they want to receive it—via mobile technology. Shifting to a mobile-first, digital workplace will be critical as remote work becomes the status quo. The old ways for communicating with and engaging the workforce will no longer be enough.
Why Go Mobile?
Employees are used to receiving information through their phones the moment it becomes newsworthy. Communication that impacts their work and the company they work for should be no different.
Using an internal communications app provides easier access to important information that employees need to be successful in their jobs. This includes executive communications, HR updates, and access to documents, paystubs, etc. But it also allows you to share “nice-to-know” information. This is the feel-good stories that communicators often shelve because they don’t have the space or time to fit them into their normal communications cadence. And this content can be shared through engaging multimedia platforms such as video, podcasts, photos, and blogs.
Engaging Deskless Employees With Mobile Technology
A few years ago, we conducted a survey of 1,000 deskless employees to learn what they need and where the gaps in communications are. We found that:
- Only 56% of deskless employees felt connected and engaged by their employers
- 27% receive no recognition at all
- And 29% said that more frequent and effective internal comms would positively impact their views of their job
Fast forward to 2021, and the results aren’t that different.
- Although general satisfaction with the amount of communication deskless employees received, there was a sizable gap between managers and non-managers.
- Employees are starved for information that matters to them. Across the board, frontline workers reported wanting more communication about employee benefits, employee recognition, training and development, workplace safety, etc.
I spent the last decade searching for ways to evolve internal communications and drive employee engagement at Chipotle. That’s where I discovered my passion for mobile technology as the solution. So, while you’re fine-tuning your communications strategy, I encourage you to not only look at what you need to communicate this year, but how you will communicate it. Because the communication channel and ease of access to information is just as important as the content itself.
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