Improve employee communications by integrating technologies employees want

Create better connections and more substantive conversations with workers by meeting them on their turf.

Employees have embraced mobile phones and social media, but corporate communications teams typically still rely on email and intranets.

Organizations recognize the importance of mobile as a workplace tool, but a new PRSA survey reveals that most employees cannot access important information through their Apple and Android devices. Employers seem reluctant to drop old-school technologies and adopt new ones.

Some findings from the PRSA survey:

  • Most survey respondents (95 percent) use email for internal employee communications, and 69 percent say it is the most effective way to reach employees.
  • Sixty-three percent believe email will always be used, especially with internal audiences.
  • Almost half say their organization has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.
  • Sixty-two percent say they either don’t access or have a very difficult time accessing their organization’s intranet through their mobile device.

Messaging and social collaboration tools

While messaging and social collaboration technologies are increasingly popular, it’s not clear which solution is most effective. Organizations are implementing messaging technologies at a group level rather than throughout the entire organization.

Thirty-one percent said they use a variety of messaging technologies, while only 46 percent said their entire organization uses the same platform.

Slack is used most frequently (41 percent) among groups of employees; Workplace by Facebook ranks second (21 percent); others are used as well.

Adapting to changing corporate communications

Corporate communications experts offer these recommendations for adopting new technologies:

Communicate with employees through multiple channels depending on employee preferences. “The intranet is dying and mobile is the go-to tool most employees use for accessing news and information outside the company,” says Shel Holtz principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. “Forcing people to a single home page for news and information contradicts consumer behaviors.”

Seek tools that foster internal communications best practices, says Colin Bovet at Enplug. Such tools include chat software like Slack, Yammer or HipChat, cloud technology such as Google Drive, and a single platform for all email, calendars and documents.

Encourage sharing of news on social media . Employees could share photos of themselves working or having fun in the office and tag their organization’s official page. “Not only is it great for employee engagement and morale, but also for company exposure and putting a face on who you are and what you do,” Bovet says.

Make sure your internal communications are accessible on any organization-sanctioned device . Many workers are digital natives who move seamlessly between multiple devices and channels, notes Jenna Soule, corporate communications manager at RBA.

Make sure internal communications can be accessed remotely . Employees today may work at home, the airport or the office. Your internal communications will need to be accessible in any and all of these locations, Soule stresses.

Bottom line

Many internal communications professionals are reluctant to abandon old-school technologies like email and intranets. They struggle to keep pace with employees who have embraced mobile devices and social media. Organizations that can integrate messaging apps and social collaboration tools will be better able to communicate with employees.

A version of this post first appeared on

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