4 internal communication trends to plan for in 2018

What’s in store for the coming year? Focus on video, enterprise social networks and securing more buy-in from leaders and colleagues.

Technology continues to change almost every aspect of the business world, including companies’ internal communication systems and processes.

One constant, however, is that business leaders should carefully consider what they’re saying to their workforce—and how they’re saying it. Unfortunately, effective communication often gets shoved to the bottom of the priority list. That’s a huge mistake.

Your internal communications create the standard for how you want your employees to interact and how you want customers treated. Communication shapes your workplace culture. It also plays a key role in the nurturing and retention of top talent.

Of course, times have changed. Half-hearted newsletters and mass emails don’t cut the mustard anymore. If you want to achieve more substantive internal communications results in 2018, consider these four emerging trends as you craft your strategy:

1. Begin with an audit of leadership and strategy.

It starts at the top. If your leaders aren’t fully supportive of your internal communication efforts, your program will sputter. It’s crucial to win their trust by using a data-backed approach to prove the return on investment of your work. Use the ability to measure ROI as a benchmark once you identify which initiatives to pursue.

Ideally, an organization’s management should cultivate an environment where seamless communication is viewed as a linchpin to business success. Communicators must champion this idea. As you craft your 2018 strategy, keep key leaders in the loop. Ask for feedback, and identify which objectives would interest them. Giving people a voice increases buy-in and ownership.

Don’t be afraid to cut initiatives or activities. Pursue only those that bring the best return on your investments of money, time and energy.

2. Consider boosting and consolidating enterprise social networks.

As organizations look to enhance collaboration and communication, enterprise social networks (ESNs)—or internal-specific communication channels—are becoming increasingly popular.

It’s up to you to concoct a smart mix of tools and channels your team will use, whether it’s Facebook’s Workplace platform, Slack, Yammer, Google Chat or your intranet. Find a combination that makes it easy for remote and in-house workers to connect.

Many companies use a random, piecemeal, unregulated assortment of channels. Different departments often communicate on different platforms. In the new year, take strides to bring everyone onto the same platforms.

3. Account for the new face of employee engagement.

Boosting employee engagement is the fastest way to increase productivity, morale and retention.

Communicators can help stoke engagement, but that takes getting to know your colleagues. As you plan for 2018, meet with workers in various departments to see which internal communications are most helpful and relevant for them. Also, consider meeting with HR to see how you can effectively communicate company benefits and perks to employees. You’d be surprised how many people simply don’t know what the company offers. Perks and benefits are useful for boosting engagement only if people know how to access them.

Encourage employee feedback in all your efforts so your colleagues feel heard, respected and valued. Give them a voice.

4. Prioritize video.

Video is still the dominant content trend. It should top your internal communication docket for 2018.

From video conferencing to livestreaming corporate events to the creation of employee engagement and training videos, this format offers massive potential for streamlining internal messaging. As reliance upon remote workers grows, the need for more personal forms of communication will continue to increase.

Mark Miller is the digital marketing manager for MarketPro. A version of this post first appeared on MarketPro’s blog.


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