Employee communications are critical to the success of your organisation, but is your workforce using the right tools to help them stay connected?
Employee Communications Definition
Employee communication is defined as the internal dialogue within a company. Simply put, it is the flow of information between employees and managers within a company. This includes ideas, progress, and feelings and can take place in person or virtually through employee collaboration and communication tools.
With recent shifts in the way the world works, it’s never been more important to keep in touch with your staff – no matter where they’re based. More and more employees are spending long periods away from a centralised office, or moving to full-time, remote work.
While some of the changes we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be temporary, others look set to stay for the foreseeable future; and remote working is one such change.
This alteration in the fabric of the modern workplace presents new challenges for your communications strategy to grapple with, and calls for bold, effective solutions.
Many businesses spend considerable time focusing on engaging with their exterior audience but give little thought to how they can communicate effectively with their staff. Yet there are plenty of benefits to mastering your employee communications.
Businesses with great employee communications report greater success overall, with productivity rising by up to 25% when employees feel more connected to their workplace.
What are employee communications?
Employee communications is the internal dialogue within a company. It’s a circular process which can be deceptively hard to get right, no matter whether you’re a small start-up with five staff members, or a vast multinational corporation.
Improving your employee communications strategy is not only about relaying messages back and forth, but ensuring these messages are received and understood by all parties and providing the space for employees to communicate in return.
Successful employee communications can have a positive impact on your business, producing favourable results in everything from your engagement levels to your company culture.
By focusing on your employee communications, you can help build:
- Greater productivity and purpose
- Stronger profitability
- A motivated, engaged workforce
- A culture of transparency and openness
Yet many organisations are unaware of how vital internal communication is, and struggle to develop strategies that support it. More than 60% of companies state they don’t have an internal communications strategy.
Using apps and software can be hugely beneficial for keeping teams connected and informed, whether from the office or remote working. The stakes are high, with employees who feel informed about their organisation outperforming their peers by 77%.
With the right approach and the right tools, the sky is the limit for ambitious businesses eager to reach their employee communication potential.
Decoding employee communication tools
There are many different employee communication tools on the market. In this oversaturated space, apps and software are often confused for one another, and their different attributes and limitations get lost in the crowd.
Some tools focus solely on internal communications, while others provide added dimensions. There are apps that have a collaborative edge, helping teams communicate throughout the day and work together on various projects. Others act more like a planning tool, aiding communication focused on specific tasks and presenting it in an accessible, visually led way.
Workvivo is distinctly different from these apps, marking a move away from conventional employee communication tools. Instead of competing with the many apps which offer variations on the same functionality, Workvivo takes a fresh new approach.
The Workvivo employee app combines:
- A user-friendly, social media-style interface
- An internal communications solution
- An employee experience app
This allows the app to carve out an impactful new path for boosting employee communications, a world away from the other employee communications offerings currently on the market.
What employee communication tools are out there?
There are plenty of ways to communicate with your staff members, but not all of them are effective, particularly in the digital age.
Some commonly used options include:
- Communication apps and platforms
- Collaborative tools and social networks
- Video chat and messaging apps
- Digital signage
Basic communication tools
Whatsapp or Signal provide a basic way of allowing communication between teams, but they are not designed for your workforce. Skype or Zoom provide fantastic video messaging software, but that’s the extent of the offering.
Likewise, contacting your team via email is a way to keep in touch, but it is seldom the go-to source of information for employees and more regularly used to facilitate communication between your team and your clients or customers. It’s easy for emails to be misplaced in your inbox, and hard to find clarity in long email chains.
Social media facilitates instant digital communication, but it is created for the mass market, not for your workforce. Not only does this often blur the lines between work and downtime, but it could lead to confused messaging and even open the door to unprofessional discussions or incidents.
As a result of their fundamental limitations, these tools often lack key features which are helpful for your workforce, and which only a dedicated employee communication app can provide.
Employee communication tools
Using just one tool for the bulk of your internal communications helps limit opportunities for missed messages or confusion and provides a helpful paper trail when following up with ongoing conversations.
It’s also more personable and approachable – fundamental principles to keep in mind when creating your employee communications strategy.
However, even dedicated employee communication tools can be limited. They often lack important functionality, and could even hinder key markers of company success such as:
- Employee retention
This is where Workvivo is different. By providing a truly comprehensive app for employee communications, Workvivo ensures staff communication needs are acknowledged and catered to. Likewise, by using Workvivo, managers can also ensure they keep all employee communications within one distinct, multifaceted space.
All these attributes are helpful for businesses seeking a digital space suited to in-house, remote, and flexible working conditions. As more employees look at changing the way they work, shifting to an all-encompassing employee communications app ensures teams stay together, wherever they are.
The future of employee communication tools
Adopting the right communications strategy has never been more important.
While there is an almost infinite number of communication methods for teams to choose from, the effectiveness of these methods is often inconsistent – particularly while many of your staff are out of the office, remote working, or adopting a flexi-working lifestyle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left businesses juggling multiple communication tools, many of which were barely on their radar beforehand. Now, companies need to consider how messages can be relayed and responded to not only within office spaces, but often to home offices and even across national and international borders when working with freelancers or full-time remote workers.
This increased reliance on digital platforms and apps means the ones you engage with should be:
Old-style intranets are increasingly outdated in this new world of work, and as more and more companies start converging their budgets for intranets and community/engagement tools, new opportunities begin to present themselves.
The initial financial outlay of changing your communication methods could seem daunting, but it is a critical move for businesses eager to stay on top of their communication strategy.
Prioritising the new style of employee communication tool (instead of simply reworking your intranet) looks set to pay off for companies in more ways than one. Reports suggest that while traditional intranet solutions are unable to facilitate engagement and communication, integrated employee apps are perfectly placed to offer this functionality.
What should I expect from an employee communications app?
The best employee apps encourage community, connection, information sharing, and engagement – all in one place.
They ensure that all employees across the business can communicate and contribute to company discussions, no matter where they’re based. In an era of remote and flexible working, this decentralisation has become a more crucial aspect of internal communications – and helped make conventional intranets increasingly redundant.
Your employee communications app should provide the following.
A space where all your staff has a voice, regardless of their role or location. With 75% of employees stating a strong desire to continue their flexible working conditions (including full and part-time remote work) for the foreseeable future, this is critical.
The right employee app will help facilitate togetherness without requiring your staff to be in the same room together – enabling better working conditions and boosting productivity and employee wellbeing.
The personal touch
By providing a fully scalable and customisable solution for your employee communications, Workvivo’s employee app helps to cultivate a strong sense of community and helps users feel pride in their workplace.
This is critical for companies reliant on digital tools to stay in touch with their workforce and helps keep all employee communications fully ‘on-brand’, strengthening employee connection to the company they work for.
Increased engagement is one of the foremost goals of any effective communications strategy. Without engagement, your staff are more likely to leave the company, produce subpar work, and feel undervalued.
A strong sense of engagement increases the opportunities for bolstering your employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention – and the right app will provide you with the tools necessary to achieve this.
A familiar interface
Familiarity is central to effective employee apps. Today’s workers have limited time to learn the ropes of a new communication method. When many of your staff are remote, finding routes to training them in a new app could also prove tricky. Sticking with something reminiscent of tools they use in their everyday lives is a great way to ensure all technical skill levels can participate.
Why do old communication methods fail?
Employee communications have undergone many integral changes over the last few years. The rise of social media has changed the way we communicate on a fundamental level and provides opportunities to overhaul old methods of speaking to and with your workforce.
Key examples of traditional internal communications could include:
- Company mission statements
- Manuals or handbooks
- Company intranet
These elements are all notable for being largely one-way communications. Internal newsletters have a low adoption rate, making them an ineffective way of communicating important updates to your team.
Such methods provide little room for the employee to provide input or feedback, except through the limited interaction a company intranet allows and the rigid structure of a company poll.
Adopting more flexible digital tools can help alleviate some of the communication burden, but only when implemented effectively. Set against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, many employees were forced into remote work – and adoption of more digital communication tools.
Yet for many employees, using multiple applications for communication tasks can also be daunting and confusing. Employee dissatisfaction soon seeps into other areas of the business, harming everything from employee wellbeing to staff retention.
To combat these problems, companies need to adopt continuous, consistent employee communication tools designed to be user-friendly and responsive.
Why is an employee app a good investment?
The way we work has changed. Most of these changes can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the transformed workplaces it has left in its wake.
Workers are reassessing what they want from their jobs. They are calling upon their employers to help provide better, more flexible conditions and options for remote or hybrid work.
The once meaningful interpersonal bonds that used to tie workplaces together (company lunches, in-person meetings, and office chitchat) are now often replaced by something considerably more distant.
Communication is critical to business success, and amongst the most important factors for both sourcing and retaining the best employees. With the workforce choosing to stay at home some (or all) of the time, it’s easy for them to become disconnected and uninvested.
At Workvivo, we know it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, companies can implement a reliable, effective employee communications app that responds to the needs of your business.
The right employee app can help you to:
- Communicate more effectively with your workforce
- Maintain engagement levels and boost staff retention
- Cultivate an accountable and open company culture
A world away from the slow, rigid restrictions of a workplace intranet, this new type of employee communications app responds to the needs of modern workers, making it a worthy investment for your company.
How Employee Communication Can Help You Beat the Great Resignation
As a leader, you’ve no doubt heard about The Great Resignation. This trend is an offshoot of the COVID-19 pandemic and has led to vast swathes of the worldwide workforce leaving their former roles for greener pastures.
- A recent Workvivo survey found that 60% of employees plan to leave their jobs in the next twelve months
Microsoft found that 41% of employees were considering leaving their respective companies in 2021
- LinkedIn calls this shift ‘The Great Reshuffle’, in which growing numbers of workers are reconsidering not only where and how they work, but why
There are many factors influencing why employees have felt compelled to switch up their careers.
Key reasons your workforce may leave the company include:
New career paths
For some, the pandemic (and its associated lockdowns) has been a period of reflection and self-realisation, helping them find the courage to seize the day and pursue new paths that better suit their skills, interests, and aspirations.
Changing life/work goals
Long periods alone have also led much of the working population to consider whether their current job truly provides the opportunities they expected.
For those who decide the answer is a resounding no, the temptation to call it a day and move on to a different role is highly seductive.
Other employees feel unappreciated or burnt out. A lack of communication can leave them wondering whether their contributions are recognised, and lead to considerable stress. Resigning from their high-pressure job offers a route out of this destructive cycle.
Lack of personal investment
Some team members enjoy their work and get along well with their co-workers; but are simply disengaged. The remote work and confused messaging which has become so prevalent in the last two years could be a root cause of this, leading to less communication with their teammates and creeping feelings of isolation.
Poor employee communications have a knock-on effect in more ways than you might imagine. But prioritising this area can transform your staff retention levels:
- Employees who use their skills at work each day are 15% less likely to leave their jobs
- Trust and flexibility are integral to boosting staff retention
- A changing workplace calls for new communication solutions
Using Workvivo will help you keep your employees in the loop, and likewise ensure you are always aware of what’s happening within your business.
5 top tips to build successful internal communications
Employee communications can be a daunting challenge to tackle, but help is at hand!
By following these five top tips, you’ll be on your way to a more connected team, no matter how (or where) they work.
1. Focus on user experience
With so many workers now taking up hybrid or remote roles, a huge chunk of communication time between teams takes place in the digital realm. This means the digital tools you use need to be user-friendly for all skill levels.
An app like Workvivo uses a social media-style interface for instant familiarity, ensuring your team won’t have to learn any new tricks to get started on meaningfully communicating with one another.
Communication apps now need to work not only on desktop computers but on mobile devices both in and out of the centralised workplace.
2. Understand the goals of your organisation
Implementing any strategy, software, or app without clear goals in mind could lead to wasted time and money. Instead, focus on what you want to achieve with your internal communication strategy, and how these aspirations tie to your wider goals as a business.
What challenges do you face, and how will this strategy help to overcome them?
Knowing the answer to this question will help save you and your team plenty of headaches and help you to closely align your chosen communications strategy to the overarching business goals.
3. Know your workforce
There is no one size fits all approach to internal communications. Instead, your strategy should acknowledge your employees as individuals, and be flexible enough to match their job role and their capabilities. Yet it must also achieve this aim without being spread too thinly across different platforms, as this is likely to cause confusion and lead messages to become lost in translation.
The solution is a new, democratised style of employee app that facilitates different communication styles under the same umbrella.
4. Lead the way
A strong internal communications strategy is as important to leaders as it is for the wider workforce. When you decide on a course of action, think of whether it will positively impact all levels of the organisation, and how effective it will be when rolled out across the company.
Your chosen apps and tools should be as useful to management as they are to the rest of your team, so be sure to adopt adaptive options with plenty of functionality.
This is another great reason to ditch your intranet and move towards something more efficient.
5. Think of the future
Nobody knows what the future holds but having the right tools to handle whatever happens is a great start!
Instead of replacing your old intranet with a new one, now is the time to future-proof your organisation. Choose a dedicated employee app that provides all the communication tools you need right now and you will benefit as your company continues to grow.
Employee communications is one of the most widely overlooked aspects of a business. Yet alongside employee engagement, it is also one of the most critical for safeguarding the success of your company.
Shifting trends in remote and flexi-work don’t have to negatively impact your productivity or your communications strategy. Instead, they can offer a pathway to more contented and focused employees, unbound from an office or warehouse and free to work in a way that produces more favourable results.
By mastering your employee communications strategy – and adopting the right app to help – you’ll be able to communicate with your team more effectively, no matter its size, scale, or location.