Talk the talk to walk the walk

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Communication works for those who work at it, and while the workplace climate may have changed, with some continuing to operate remotely or adopting a hybrid work model, it remains the duty of employers to ensure that employees remain engaged should they want to reap the rewards. 

The key to the success of any business is a strong internal communications strategy, and this keeps employees informed, motivated and productive. Research by Expert Market paints a clear picture as to why internal communication is important for the success of a business, suggesting that improved internal communication practices can result in as much as a 25% increase in organisational productivity. 

Moreover, Salesforce suggests that 86% of employees and executives cite ineffective communication as a leading cause of workplace failures while Towers Watson claims that businesses with highly effective communication practices enjoy 47% higher total returns compared to those with poor communication.  

The pandemic has underlined just how important this is, especially in times of uncertainty or crisis.  As such, here are five internal communications trends every business should be aware of to drive employee engagement and business prosperity:           

  • LEADERSHIP SETS THE EXAMPLE

Clear and consistent leadership is imperative to gain the trust of employees who have emerged from a prolonged period of uncertainty. Messaging from leadership plays a crucial role in addressing employee concerns and must be authentic and reaffirm the business’s core mission and values.

According to Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2022 report, 26% of respondents worldwide cite enhancing their leadership’s visibility as a key priority for internal communication practices going forward. Coupled with the fact that 34% of employees did not agree that there was open and honest communication from leadership at their respective employers, as per Qualtrics’s 2022 Employee Experience Trends study, leadership needs to step up and set an example.  

Communication must always appear intentional, and by adding that personal touch, such as addressing the message to employees by name, will make them feel more valued and that the message was crafted with their needs in mind. Overall, a happy employee means a more satisfied and productive employee.

  • ENGAGING THE HYBRID WORKFORCE

2022 is the year of reconnecting, and while the pandemic brought with it the need for employers to seek alternate operating schedules, the hybrid working model has been the saving grace for countless businesses. So much so that Gallagher ranks adapting channel strategies to hybrid working as the second highest priority in its State of the Sector 2022 report. Gallup adds to this and notes that 42% of remote-capable employees now enjoy a hybrid working schedule against 39% who continue to work from home entirely. 

With employees operating from various locations and most drowning in their inboxes, businesses should leverage the power of digital technology to keep employees connected and in the loop. This includes increasing the frequency of internal newsletters to keep both remote, hybrid and in-person employees up-to-date; increasing the use of mobile-based apps to appeal to the increasing millennial and Gen Z employee complements that require speedy communication channels; and boosting the number of face-to-face and virtual conferences, which Gallagher says has a 94% effectiveness rate. 

  • CONTINUED FOCUS ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING

No longer are businesses solely responsible for their employees until they walk out the front door, and a holistic health approach, including understanding and supporting employees’ mental health, has become a regular feature in the repertoires of the majority of employers. So much so that Wellable Labs’ 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report highlights that 90% of employers are investing more in mental health initiatives, 76% in stress management and reliance programmes, and 71% in mindfulness and meditation activities. 

While investing in and offering wellness resources is essential, it remains the onus of the employer to bolster their investments with empathetic and transparent communication activities. This includes conducting regular employee wellness surveys to find out what employees require to improve their wellbeing, encouraging employees to provide anonymous feedback on any mental health struggles that may be experiencing and how the employee can assist, and initiating mental health and wellness in-person and virtual events, webinars and other resources that can truly engage employees that are in need. 

  • THE VISUAL APPEAL

There is immense value in the power of visuals, with TechSmith suggesting that 67% of people understand information better when communicated visually. This is important given that 38% of employees believe that they would be more engaged if their employers posted more inspiring corporate communications. Visuals versus plain-text emails could save employees as much as six minutes and 43 seconds every eight-hour day. Over a 40-hour week, this equates to 33 minutes and 36 seconds, or over 25 hours every business year. 

In an age where bite-sized news garners the most attention, using eye-catching GIFs and infographics can convey messages instantly and with greater clarity, while short videos can illustrate topics with creativity and are more appealing than endless lines of text. Businesses can add a new dimension to the typical internal newsletter format by incorporating visuals into their communications such as embedded infographics to support explanations or videos from leadership to announce important business information, and by using images and GIFs to draw attention to particular sections or pertinent messages.

  • DRIVING RECOGNITION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA 

Social media channels enable internal communication teams to engage with employees on a wider scale and help bridge the gap and enhance conversations across departments, regions and hierarchical levels. 

All employees want to be appreciated for their efforts and by recognising their achievements, employers can keep their workforce motivated to aim for the best possible outcomes. Social media is the best place to boast about their achievements and is a crucial element for all businesses to consider.  Insights from Connecteam note that businesses with employee recognition programmes have a 31% lower employee turnover, 50% of employees believe this improves the relationship and builds trust between employer and employee, and 90% of employees who work in businesses that celebrate their employees’ achievements believe their work makes a difference. 

Looking for a public relations partner that can help future-proof your internal communication practices? Send an email to info@eclipsecomms.com and one of our experts will be in touch.