It is fair to say that 2020 has split all our lives into what was before versus the new normal. Humans' daily routines and ways of living drastically changed, and so did our priorities and needs. It has never been more difficult to predict the upcoming weeks and months, and physically distanced individuals are common place. As a result, one tool has become fundamental inside a workplace: Internal communication.
If the implementation of internal communication strategies were already on the rise before COVID-19, the pandemic has proven its urgent need and relevance. 83% of internal communicators believe the crisis has positively impacted trust in communication.
In 2020, organizations have understood the demand and jumped into the internal comms train. 2021 is expected to be a year where not only more enterprises will join but will implement and define strategies through their tools.
Five internal communications trends to keep in mind
All-in-one real-time communications
When it comes to communicating to your employees, two things can happen: it can work or it just can’t. If the exchange of information can even be a challenge between two participants, the risk of failure potentially increases when a whole enterprise is involved.
In order to succeed in internal communication, it is crucial to understand which tools are at our disposal to reach our target. But be careful, once you find these, make sure to specify how you will use them. “It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with what you have”, right?
In an even more digital 2021, the trend will be focusing on bringing all the communication channels into an all-in-one tool, creating a specific strategy on how to use it, and delivering a continuous up-to-date service: regarding news, culture, values, goals, 1-to-1 chats, and more.
Let’s get… digital, digital
In the digital era we are living in, traditional internal communications channels, such as physical notice boards, printed newsletters, or even face-to-face conversations, are no longer viable options. The pandemic has worked as an ultimate red flag warning that companies' interactions must transform digitally.
It mustn’t matter if your employees are working from the office or home, or if they simply need to be out because they are frontline workers. The goal for this year must be to bring every single employee in any company together.
Everyone needs to be part of the same communication platform, that can be used for multiple actions to generate this “being part of something” feeling. Also, other digital options, such as internal campaigns, events, or simply coffee break chats, can be solutions for the current situation and alternatives for the future.
The gold medal goes to… employee wellbeing and flexibility
In these unprecedented times, caring communication is key for keeping the workforce healthy and motivated. The strategy implemented needs to accommodate for real-time updates regarding COVID-19, and any other topic that can affect your employees. Make this a priority, keep it transparent, and keep it honest. Wellbeing should be one of your main concerns. Your workforce will value that and will feel safe and seen in your company.
Remote working and isolation will still be a part of 2021, so make sure you and everyone else uses your internal comms platform to fight solitude, anxiety, and uncertainty. The times we are facing are challenging to everyone, and it can decrease our motivation very easily. Read more about how to cope with your individual and workforce's mental health. It has also drastically transformed the overall view on flexibility, as well as on supporting your employees’ professional and personal life balance.
The app is not an instant remedy for your workforce's physical and mental health. It doesn’t work like that. However, it can be the foundation of bringing everyone closer, engaging employees, opening feedback channels, and discussing significant topics. And all of that will undoubtedly help in your workforce’s wellbeing.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Society is progressing and most individuals are predisposed to discussions that can improve everyone’s comfort. In a world where minds are getting more and more open and ex-taboo topics are being placed on top of the table, be aware to go ahead in time and include diversity, equity, and inclusion in your company, and by extension, in your internal communication strategy.
For this 2021, with the eyes already set on the 8th of March (International Women’s Day), you can start improving your diversity, equity, and inclusion knowledge by using your platform as a voice of remarkable dates along the year. Not only was COVID-19 the protagonist, the last year has seen racial fights in the United States, too. An inclusive company should heed the warnings to keep fighting for a more equal future.
Younger generations, such as Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1997-2012/2015), are deeply invested in these topics. If you have worked hard in making your company an equal and safe place, you should add those topics to your communications calendar.
Change of r(u/o)les
When it comes to types and directions of internal communications, the game has changed. Traditional communications are carried out with top-down strategies where, on notice boards or newsletters, the management team will inform the rest of the employees. Nowadays, this option is outdated and inadequate.
For this new year, make sure you provide an internal comms tool to your employees with which they can also take part, generating not only top-down but bottom-up conversations. With comments, stories, and flexibility on editor's rights, empower your employees and make them be part of it.
Besides, the role of internal communicators is also increasing in companies. Creating and implementing a strategy is not a one-week work, but a constant dedication to effectively make it work. In the same IoIC study previously shared, 90% of respondents believe the crisis will have a positive impact on the internal communications profession.