Internal Comms Methods that Work in the 21st Century

September 30, 2015
Robin Dominik Havre
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If you’re reading this right now, and you feel like your internal comms methods are performing poorly, it’s probably costing your business a lot of money.

In fact, according to one study conducted by consultancy and research firm, People Driven Performance, it could cost companies over £17,000 ($26,000) per employee per year.

Okay, so your company may be smaller, but the bottom line is that bad or outdated IC methods are incredibly expensive.

If you’re a business owner, you know you need to take action. And, if you’re an HR manager, adopting modern, effective methods to demonstrate to the business owner how much money you could potentially save would certainly score you a few brownie points.

But which internal comms methods work best in the 21st century when we’ve got software tools, mobile intranets and other new tech to play with?

Here are the top five.

1. Preparation

First up, before implementing these strategies, it’s important you get employees paying attention. Fortunately, there’s research to show the kinds of HR practices that tend to stop people from giving you that attention, no matter how good your IC methods may be.

Anyone that uses reporting tool WeekDone might be familiar with some of the team’s research-backed slide presentations, a good example of which is this one:

image shows preparation for better internal communications methods

[Image credit:]

Ideas such as lack of recognition, lack of autonomy and lack of bottom-up feedback methods are common themes in many IC research and study examples.

These kinds of things cause problems so, if you feel like your internal communication methods are getting dated, ensure you cover these fundamental bases before taking advantage of new technologies and fancy tools.

Without paying attention to these things, getting results will be an uphill struggle.

If it’s easier, implement one idea at a time. Let people know the changes you’re making so they can be integrated before adding a new layer to your overall IC strategy.

2. Your company blog

In some ways, this one may initially seem obvious, especially now that a foundation stone of modern marketing is a decent company blog.

However, more overlooked is the idea of using this marketing asset as an internal communications tool. So here are the three key things to keep in mind:

  • Open up the blog for employee guests posts. You’ll uncover hidden talent and may be surprised with what you find
  • Encourage or even request users to make comments on the company blog, ideally from their home computers. Not only do you have an opportunity to elicit the illusive employee engagement, but it’s also good for the company’s marketing
  • Weave aspects of your company’s brand, culture and mission into blog posts. This both presents you well for external visitors of the blog, and instills these important facets of your business into your team. Internal branding like this pulls in results, so don’t miss out on the opportunity

3. Procedurally generated/targeted content

Just one reason why internal communications methods are dropping off these days is because we’re constantly bombarded with new content in the form of ads, social media messages, emails, blog posts, e-Magazine subscriptions and a host of others.

The bottom line is, if you send out a “company-wide email” containing a lots of information, only around 15% of which is relevant to the most of your employees, it gets filtered out as “junk” and the time you invested creating it gets wasted.

The remedy to this conundrum? Using tools that auto-populate emails sent to individual departments containing only the appropriate information. We recommended a good example of this in our article on internal communications tools that are perfect for supplementing intranets.

If you’re not sending out targeted email and other content like this, it’s absolutely critical to start. Especially as the torrent of content flooding all of our screens and inboxes these days isn’t about to slow down.

4. Push SMS message

Leading on from this scenario of having jungle-like email inboxes, any internal communications method that bypasses it means strong results for you and your team.

Depending on which study read and, as you know from your personal experience, text messages on your mobile phone very rarely get left unopened. In fact, they have an average of open rate of 97% compared with email which is 5-10%; again a figure you know from your own experience.

You probably also know that everybody’s got powerful smart devices in their pockets these days and there’s a decent chance you’ve already taken your intranet and mobile, too.

Take advantage of this IC method, because it means important links to important information get put in front of people’s eyes when they need it. And are infinitely more likely to get opened.

5. Digital complaints & suggestions

Look, the bottom line is we all love a good moan now and again.

Employees are arguably under pressure to generate results and ever before. Things are moving faster and the strive for the “paperless office” as made a complaints and suggestions box seem a little old-fashioned.

Again though, the important thing is that it works. Not only does it give you an opportunity to instil the points made in the image in subheading one above (feedback, showing you’re listening to staff), but it provides insight and qualitative feedback you just can’t get anywhere else but from the front line.

Over to you…

How do you feel internal communications has changed in the 21st century? Don’t keep it to yourself, let us know in the comments section below.

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Robin Dominik Havre

Robin is the CEO of New Intranet. He's helped many companies deploy successful mobile intranets that are easy to use and specially designed for employees not working in front of a computer. The goal of this blog is to provide research-backed intranet and internal communications advice for more successful HR strategies.

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