3 keys to internal comms success in 2020 (and beyond)

Follow this guidance to reach employees with personalized, targeted messaging that resonates and gets results.

2020 comms trends

This year, successful employee communication will be personalized, targeted and tailored to specific preferences.

Sounds simple, right? Not so fast.

Gatehouse’s 2019 State of the Sector report identifies the two biggest barriers to success for internal comms teams: excessive volume of communications, and lack of time for employees to engage with the message.

Another survey found that just 13% of employees engage daily with their company’s intranet. That same survey revealed that 77% open company emails, but just 34% click on any links within.

These numbers reflect how internal messages get deprioritized, filed away for later, briefly scanned or flat-out ignored.

To craft employee communication that motivates instead of infuriates, focus on these three keys to success:

1. Personalized and targeted communication.

Employee communication requires a comprehensive understanding of your audience. Expect to see audience segmentation become more prevalent in employee outreach as new platforms make it easier to create, manage and target specific audiences.

Depending on the size or setup of your organization, you might segment workers based on business unit, region, role or demographics. As for content formats, the written word certainly still has its place, though communicators are increasingly expected to help produce video, infographics and podcasts. Giving employees space to provide candid feedback—whether through a comment section or another secure platform that ensures anonymity—is another emerging trend.

Employee communication platforms will continue to advance in how effectively they collect and analyze employee feedback. These sophisticated platforms and systems will enable more personalized content development and delivery, but the onus is still on communicators to use data to craft better storytelling.

How to get there: If you aren’t segmenting your employee communications, consider the following ways you can group your employee audiences:

  • Demographics
  • Engagement
  • Employment stage
  • Role
  • Responsibilities
  • Channel preference
  • Behaviors

To boost engagement and grab more attention, experiment with video, live chats and visually driven campaigns. Then, measure and analyze audience engagement to see which formats work best for which segments.

2. Delivered to the right person, at the right time.

Internal communication pieces often force employees to click through to another destination for more information, be it the company intranet or monthly newsletter. Unfortunately, those who ignore newsletters or the intranet miss important information—and companies whiff on crucial opportunities to connect.

In 2020, advanced employee communication tools will become more accessible (and affordable) as companies seek ways to get precise, real-time information on how employees are engaging with company content. Analyzing who is clicking what—and when—can inform campaign tweaks that yield better results. Some comms teams are even starting to employ artificial intelligence to make real-time evaluation and adjustments easier and to provide data-driven content suggestions to employees.

How to get there: Start by identifying the goals and objectives for your employee communications program. Then, figure out what data you have and what data you need, as well as the necessary tools to gather that missing information. From there, measure, analyze and adjust your program continuously for optimal results.

3. On the platform of their choice.

Companies should invest in mobile-friendly platforms to reach frontline and gig workers as well as younger employees. Getting your digital game up to speed might not be cheap, so it’s up to communicators to consistently convey—and prove—ROI to the leadership team.

Communicators should seek tools that offer a simplified snapshot of metrics, channels and analysis needed to engage with employees. As younger, more tech-savvy generations enter the workforce, digital acumen will increase—as will employee expectations.

How to get there: Do some experimenting, and test multiple strategies on a small scale. Use different platforms and channels to identify which ones reach and engage employees best.

Build a cohesive, mobile-friendly strategy, and integrate a variety of channels into your messaging mix to see what drives the most engagement.

Employees are demanding more personalization and greater control over the volume and types of messages they receive. In 2020—and beyond—internal communication teams must prioritize employee preferences and meet their specific audiences where and when they want to be reached. Otherwise, you’ll just be adding to the corporate noise.

A version of this post first appeared on the Ink Communications blog.

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