Internal Comms professionals have a lot on their plate. Sometimes getting employees on board with the business is actually harder than engaging with external audiences.
Employees see all the nooks and crannies behind the image your external marketing portrays. Communication with internal stakeholders needs to be on the money.
The internal comms function is always evolving. Moving with changes to demographics of the workforce, technology, society..it can be tricky keeping up.
Since 2020, the way in which many of us work has changed even more! For obvious reasons, the role of technology in internal comms has become increasingly important.
In this blog we will tell you about the priorities for internal comms professionals, as established in Gallagher's State of the Sector 2022 report, and how an intranet can help achieve them.
We will cover:
- The Effects of Post-Covid
- Internal Communicator Responsibilities
- Top 3 Priorities for Internal Communications Professionals
The Effects of Post-Covid
The COVID pandemic may have enforced remote working, but it has also changed our perception of it. Remote working has become an expectation and many businesses will offer a level of it as standard.
Oak’s Future of Working report found that just 11% of employees would prefer to work in the office full time, with 89% wanting at least some level of remote working.
So that’s great, we all work from home and everyone’s happy, right? Well..not exactly.
The Future of Working report also found that 53% of workers ages 16-24 said working from home had dramatically affected their mental health. This is largely down to the isolation and burnout caused by working at home.
The effect on internal comms professionals is that they have had to find new ways of connecting with the workforce to combat these issues.
Internal comms has always been important but it is now an even more pivotal function than ever. Let’s look at just some of the responsibilities of internal communicators.
Internal Communicator Responsibilities
The role of the internal communicator may have changed in terms of the way they deploy their messages and connect with employees, but the fundamentals remain the same.
Essentially they manage how and when an organisation will communicate with its own employees and the flow of any information in the business. It has a huge impact on both internal and external perceptions of the business.
Here are a few of the main responsibilities of internal communications:
There is no tougher task for an internal comms professional than crisis communication.
When a business faces backlash from its own employees it's up to them to fan the flames and avoid any further fallout or even from preventing the crisis from happening altogether.
A communications crisis can cause anything from disengagement to strike action. External matters that are reported can also impact how the business is viewed internally, so it is important that all messaging is aligned.
By targeting content and having a specific approach for individuals and groups, you can reach them in a timely and effective way before they can be impacted by the surrounding noise.
With Oak’s adaptive intelligence you can personalise and target information for specific users, meaning your crisis comms do not sound generic and hollow.
Recommended Reading 📖: Internal Audiences: How to Create them for IC
Employee and Organisational Wellbeing
Everyone has been anxious or stressed in their jobs at some stage. It hinders our productivity, and communication and is generally detrimental to our work.
The role of internal comms is to ensure that employees are mentally and physically well.
This entails communicating wellbeing initiatives specific to the individual and giving employees channels to air any issues before they escalate.
It is very much a joint effort between leadership, HR and internal comms, but communication is key to wellbeing.
Here, employee feedback as part of your internal comms strategy can help you make improvements to wellbeing. With Oak, you can view the data from Pulse Surveys to gain insight and alter employee wellbeing programmes at any stage.
Aligning People and Brand
It is the responsibility of internal communications to ensure that people are aligned with the values of your brand. If they aren't, chances are brand values are unclear or poorly communicated.
84% of job seekers say that a business's reputation as an employer is important to their decision on taking a job. Clearly, your internal reputation has an impact on your current and any future employees.
You must ensure that with leadership, branding and brand values are defined. These should then be central to any content you’re putting out. A branded and bespoke intranet solution, like Oak, can be the hub of your internal brand and messaging.
Top 3 Priorities for Internal Communications Professionals
So, with these responsibilities in mind, here are the top three priorities for internal communications professionals.
Engaging Teams Around Purpose, Strategy and Values
Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability, so connecting employees to the business and their roles is a key priority for internal comms. The role of internal communications is not just about informing employees but contributing to a positive employee experience.
But what engages employees? Mainly it is a sense of belonging, feeling valued and that their role is contributing to the greater good. If you’re able to achieve this through communication, you will see the results.
Employee recognition can go a long way to achieving this. With Oak’s recognition tool, you can formalise appreciation and make it part of your culture. A simple post to your social feed can make a world of difference to an individual.
Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Recognition in the Workplace [A Complete Guide]
Adapting Channel Strategy to Hybrid Working
As mentioned, the fundamental changes to the way we work mean that internal comms professionals are having to adapt.
Typically, businesses will take a hybrid approach where employees split their workdays between the office and home. But as a result, some schedules won't align and people won’t be able to communicate or collaborate in conventional ways ie. in-person meetings.
When some are in the office and some are working remotely, it is important to make sure the business is equipped with uniform communication channels and virtual collaboration spaces.
Oak’s community hubs and instant messaging provide employees with channels to connect in a virtual work environment, wherever they are.
Recommended Reading 📖: Hybrid Working Model: A Guide for the Workplace
Enhancing People Manager Communications
Employee engagement is often impacted by how well leadership communicates with them. Good leadership is key to the way employees feel towards the organisation. Internal comms can be the bridge between them.
Where there are remote, deskless or multi-location workforces it can be difficult for managers to stay connected and visible. Having the right communication channels is key to this. This is why it's so important to choose an internal comms platform fit for your business.
With Oak’s people directory, managers and employees alike are visible and easy to contact, meaning two-way communication can be established. Managers can also use the recognition tool to show how they value employees and create that connection.
By focusing on these key priorities you can build an effective internal comms strategy and implement a modern intranet solution that connects and engages your workforce to help you achieve your business aims.
What Are Internal Communications?
Internal communications are any information shared by the business to its employees or between departments and teams. Internal communications are vital to keeping employees engaged and informed.
What Is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a flexible working arrangement where employees can blend working from home and the office. Hybrid models can provide employees with more flexibility or can be structured-ie a certain number of days in the office per week.