It’s no secret that a good internal communications strategy is critical to company morale, productivity, and even revenue. But, did you know a recent Social Intranet Study revealed only 13 percent of employees use their intranet on a daily basis, and 31 percent admit they never use it at all? What is the overall result of ineffective communication strategies? Seventy percent of employees say they are not engaged. According to further research, companies are losing 20 to 25 percent of their revenue each year due to disengaged employees. How can you turn this trend around within your own company? Think of your internal communications strategy as an opportunity to bolster engagement, not just a means to disseminate information. Here are five intranet trends that are vital if you want to meet the communication needs of today’s workforce.
Optimize for Mobile
Whether your company distributes its own devices or has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, employees must be able to access your full intranet from their mobile devices. Mobility gives employees continuous access to important tools they need to complete their work. One survey reported that 94 percent of employees think mobile devices make their work more efficient. Mobility is changing the way we work and your intranet is key to that evolution. More importantly, however, mobile devices increase engagement. Everywhere you go, you find people reading news, blogs or searching popular topics on their devices. We have become a generation that just can’t sit idle. Keep your employees engaged by making your intranet the place they go when they just want an update on company news, contests, announcements or other relevant content.
Social networks are hugely popular outside the office, but what about internally? According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), internal corporate social networks aren’t doing so well. However, the reason is because company leaders are not using them. It all goes back to engagement. Internal social networks are a great way for managers, and even CEOs, to stay connected to their employees. However, leaders often fear they’ll lose control by engaging on such an informal level. Today’s leader must be confident in extending his or her leadership through digital channels. And, the benefits reach far beyond engagement. Here’s a great example featured in HBR.
The Red Robin restaurant chain launched a new burger called the “Pig Out Burger” in 2012. Employees immediately started posting customer feedback on their internal social network, and it was not good. Managers jumped in and tweaked the recipe, re-launching the improved burger just four weeks later. Without the quick feedback through the company’s intranet, the process of gathering data and improving the burger would have taken 12 to 18 months. Social networks are a great way to get away from the dreaded e-mail chain and start a conversation that gathers input from all levels throughout the organization, and most importantly, leads to quick change.
Create a social network with an activity feed that employees will want to check before they log-in to Facebook or Instagram. Make the activity feed the dominant feature of your intranet homepage. Share articles, announcements and other important information. Encourage employees to post what’s happening in their department.
Have Fun with Gamification
Companies have held contests for years. Fundraisers, sales competitions, wellness programs and many others have been keeping employees engaged. Let your intranet bolster an already successful engagement tool. Use gamification to transform boring daily tasks into exciting activities. Use leveling, leader boards, completion bars or badging to track employee progress. Encourage even more engagement by rewarding employees for using the intranet, including participating in discussions, watching videos, reviewing policies or making a post. Report progress via your social network activity board.
Create an Executive Blog
In the Internet world, blogging is a means to build trust and shape your online reputation. An effective blog positions a company as a thought leader, a valuable source of information. Why not take advantage of that tool internally? CEOs and higher level executives are often obscure to lower-level employees. Close that gap through an informative, friendly blog post from the CEO or rotate through your top managers. An executive blog will improve morale and help employees feel more connected to the company. The ability to post comments or questions that are read by the executive makes employees feel empowered and appreciated. Use the blog to solicit feedback. Let employees know you want to know what they think about new programs or policies.
Include a Video Library
Document resources are great, but it’s unlikely that employees are going to read through the employee handbook in their free time. Make policy changes and other announcements fun and personable by using video. One study found that 90 percent of communications professionals feel that video plays an “important” or “somewhat important” role in their organization’s communication strategy. Additionally, “audiovisual content is one of the most meaningful ways to communicate.” Create a video library that allows employees to search, tag, comment and share. Use it for fun too. Post video clips from team building events or funny happenings around the office. Watch engagement skyrocket as employees look for videos of themselves and their coworkers.