Adapting to fast-changing markets is no longer an option for companies. They have to rethink their employee communication and embrace digital technologies to stay ahead of the competition. Since the start of the pandemic, new employee communications trends have emerged and organizations need to adapt to them in order to improve workplace communications.
What does growing a business in an ever-changing world mean?
Basically, it means that you need your employees to have a deep understanding of your business goals, stay on top of industry trends, and come up with cutting-edge strategies that will take your product to the next level.
In short, you need to help your employees adapt to the ever-changing business world we’re living in and to do so, you’ll have to provide them with the right communication technologies.
Enable your employees with the right IC tools to adapt to the ever-changing business world
How Does Employee Communication Impact Your Business Success?
Wait a Minute — What Is Employee Communication?
Essentially, employee communication involves the exchange of information, ideas, and feedback with and among employees to achieve the business goals originally set.
Employee communication is critical to your business’s success. It’s the glue that holds your business together. This has been particularly true during this pandemic.
However, according to research, only 46% of workers think the communication they hae received during the pandemic is open and honest. Yet, employees are 12x more likely to be engaged when it is.
Having an effective communication strategy in place helps you improve collaboration in the workplace, employee productivity, and employee engagement. It’s also a great way to motivate your employees and enhance innovation in the workplace!
Related: Top 15 Employee Motivation Tips and Benefits
That’s not surprising that improving communication in the workplace is a top priority for most businesses!
What’s more, employee communication is crucial when it comes to building a strong company culture. The way you communicate the company’s values, vision, and strategy will have a direct impact on how your employees feel about the company.
Related: Company Values: Definition, Importance and Examples
Employee Communication Plays a Critical Role in Times of Change and Crisis
Employee communication also plays a critical role in change management.
When your company is undergoing change that involves restructuring such as a merger or an acquisition, you need to explain to your employees the implications this change will have on the business and on their jobs as well.
2020 and 2021 have taught us about the importance of workplace communications during crisis. The current pandemic requires employers to be more transparent and communicate more frequently.
Harvard Business Review found that over 90% of people said they wanted weekly communication from their company with 29% wanting daily communication.
Your employees will have lots of questions and you can’t afford not to have the answers to their questions. Communication is the key to maintaining continuous productivity and building trust with your employees during a merger or acquisition.
Related: Change Management: Definition, Best Practices & Examples
The way you communicate with your employees will have a direct impact on how fast and well the organization recovers from a crisis.
Basically, if employee communication is not well handed during a crisis, the company may have to deal with five main issues:
- Employees may get confused and worried because of a lack of information.
- Productivity starts to slow down because employees are distracted and trying to find the information they need by themselves.
- Trust in the brand may decrease. Because of the lack of information, employees get frustrated and may feel that top management and managers don’t trust them. During a crisis, silence is the #1 mistake you should absolutely avoid!
- Because employees are not well-informed, they may spread misinformation outside the company without knowing it. This is how misinformation may turn into rumors or a scandal.
- Employees may start to look for another job because they don’t feel secure at the company anymore.
Related: Crisis Communication — How to Communicate with Employees During a Crisis?
Employee Communication Ensures Alignment With Your Business Goals
You may have a great business plan, but if your employees are not informed or aware of what’s going on in the company, they won’t be able to adapt to this fast-changing business environment.
By sharing the right information with the right employees at the right time, you make sure that everyone is aligned with your business goals and vision.
Also, you help your employees increase their productivity and work with their teammates in an effective way all while supporting their thought leadership.
Related: Asynchronous Communication: What It Is and How To Make It Work
Why Are Businesses Struggling with Employee Communication?
Businesses know that effective employee communication is critical to their success. This is exactly why organizations need to follow the latest employee communication trends.
These trends have changed dramaticaly since the start of remote and hybrid work environments. Today, workplace communication and collaboration are the biggest challenges for remote employees.
Let’s take a look into a few stats important fr IC professionals and the chaning world of employee communications:
- 61% of workers say they receive the right amount of information about what is happening in their organization.
- Gallup Panel Data reported 62% of all employed adults had engaged in work from home due to the virus
- Buffer.com asked remote workers to identify their biggest struggle with remote work: 22% reported problems in “unplugging” after work, 19% complained of loneliness, and 17% focused on diminished collaboration
- 74% of employees have the feeling they are missing out on company news
- Only 50% of managers agree that they have the tools and resources necessary to have tough conversations.
- Employee productivity increases by 20 to 25% in organizations where employees are connected
- 55% of workers think they are trusted with valuable and relevant information that they need or want.
- 28% of leaders report poor communication as the primary cause of failing to deliver a project within its original time frame
- Only 17% of employers think line managers are good communicators
The thing is, building great employee communication doesn’t come easy. This is especially true today when workplace communications trends have changed drastically.
Indeed, employees’ needs and expectations are changing, business environments are becoming more complex and unstable, and the war for talent is quite tough!
Communicators need to adapt their IC strategy to the employees’ new needs (remember, employees spend 2.5 hours on average looking for the information they need to do their job).
Organizations Struggle to Align With the Latest Communication Trends
To get a better understanding of why most organizations are struggling with employee communication, the Chicago Booth Review has organized a panel discussion where Hal Weitzman sits down with Chicago Booth faculty Ayelet Fishbach, Nicholas Epley, and Heather M. Caruso to share their thoughts on the current state and latest trends of communication in the workplace.
Take a look at their discussion below 👇
Now, the question is: how does the employee communication landscape may look like in the near future?
We’ve compiled 5 employee communication trends for 2023 and beyond:
5 Employee Communication Trends that Will Reshape the Workplace in 2023 and Beyond
Let’s now take a look into some of the emerging employee communication trends every organization should be aware of.
Employee communication trend #1: Instant access to information
The way we communicate has changed: we expect information to find us immediately rather than having to spend time looking for it.
How many times have you felt frustrated because you couldn’t find the information you were looking for right away (you had to browse several websites to find the stats or product reviews you were looking for), or because web pages you wanted to browse took too long to load?
We are living in a fast-changing world and not surprisingly, we are getting impatient when it comes to finding the information we need.
The same goes with internal communication in the workplace: employees don’t want to and can’t afford to spend time searching for the information they need.
And it’s pretty easy to understand why they’re feeling frustrated: employees spend on average 2.5 hours a day searching for the information they need.
The time wasted looking for information has a tremendous domino effect: not only do employees get frustrated, but they also have lower productivity and feel disconnected from the business.
Related: What Is the True Cost of Poor Employee Communication?
At the end of the day, if you’re not able to provide your employees with the information they need at the right time, you may end up with lower employee engagement.
The infographic below shows the importance of having effective internal communication in place when it comes to employee engagement:
Employee communication trend #2: adequate content distribution
Internal communications and external communications are usually perceived as two distinctive worlds.
In most businesses, HR and communication teams create materials for their employees such as newsletters, onboarding materials, or surveys while marketing teams produce educational and engaging content such as videos, infographics, success stories, quizzes, or eBooks to reach their target audience and increase brand awareness.
Many internal communication professionals have realized that this distinction between internal and external communications is not the best approach to keep employees engaged.
Instead of excluding marketing materials from the content they share with employees, they are merging internal and external communications.
In other words, they don’t build their content distribution based on their audiences (internal vs external stakeholders). Instead, they have a global, holistic approach where they distribute content based on their audiences’ needs.
As a consequence, they may share across the organization marketing materials that are informative, helpful, and most importantly relevant for employees, even though this content was created for external audiences in the first place.
In a nutshell, what matters is not to spread content across the organization – but to share the right information with your employees.
Employee communication trend #3: mobile-first communication
Millennials represent 50% of the workforce worldwide and they are projected to represent 75% of the workforce by 2025.
As we all know, millennials are tech-savvy and mobile-oriented. So, if you want them to engage with the content you share with them, you’ll need to adapt your internal communication to their news consumption habits.
In short, you’ll need to turn your internal communication into mobile-first employee communication!
Sending emails across the organization, or hosting meetings where the audience not paying attention or doing other work is not the best way to get your message through to your employees!
To improve employee communication, more and more businesses are launching communication apps where employees can find the latest company news and the materials they need in their news feed.
That way, they can communicate with their employees in a fast and engaging way!
Related: 5 ways Internal Communication Makes a Digital Workplace More Productive
Employee communication trend #4: personalized communications
Sharing instant information with employees doesn’t mean sending them hundreds of notifications a day!
The thing is, most employees feel that they’re dealing with too much information and information overload has negative impacts on their ability to focus on a task.
Instead of pushing standardized (and sometimes) irrelevant messages, make sure you share the right content with your employees. After all, employee communication is all about supporting employees in their jobs and inspiring them!
Related: Top 15 Employee Motivation Tips and Benefits
At the end of the day, it’s your employees’ well-being and productivity that may suffer from information overload.
But thankfully, internal communication and HR professionals have acknowledged the drawbacks of information overload in the workplace and they are launching communication apps that allow them to tailor content each employee receives based on their needs.
That way, employees don’t feel overwhelmed with too much or irrelevant information.
Simply put, each employee receives in their news feed any content that is relevant to their role in the company, their expertise, the language(s) they speak, their location, and so on.
That way, employees are up-to-date with their company news and have access to the right information, even in large organizations or companies with branch offices in several countries.
At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation: your employees are well-informed and enjoy a great employee experience. At the same time, they are able to do their job effectively all while feeling more connected and engaged.
Related: Employee Value Proposition: The Complete Guide to Building a Great EVP
Employee communication trend #5: visual storytelling
Welcome to the new world! The old days where you used to share company news through your weekly newsletter that no one would read are over!
Your employees are not that much interested in reading long emails or detailed activity reports (yes, long reports can be boring!).
Think about it: why do people browse their social media feeds several times a day?
The answer is pretty simple: they’re looking for entertainment! What’s more, content that drives the most engagement on social media includes videos, infographics, and pictures.
Related: Sara McGuire on Why Visual Storytelling Drives Higher Engagement
So, if you want your employees to interact with your content, make it fun and engaging!
And to do so, you’ll need to tell stories and to include visuals in the materials you share with your employees.
With visual storytelling, not only do your employees read your content, but they also interact with it more often.
The shift towards visual storytelling has already started: more and more businesses are sharing infographics, videos, interactive newsletters, and quizzes with their employees!
Employee Communication Becomes a Top Priority for Most Businesses in 2023
The exchange of information in the workplace has a direct impact on employees’ productivity, motivation, and well-being.
An employee culture survey by Gartner finds that employees who are moderately stressed underperform those who aren’t by 5% — reducing a $1 billion top line by $32.5 million at an average company. That’s a lot!
Simply put, you won’t be able to attract and retain top talent if you overlook communication at your workplace. That’s why more and more businesses are prioritizing employee communication and encouraging their leaders to develop top communication skills.
What are the most in-demand communication skills in the workplace?
According to Gartner, communication leaders are going to focus on:
- Strategic planning and IC measurement. Basically, you can’t effectively change/improve your internal comms if you don’t measure it or collect feedback from your employees.
- Content strategy and message management — are the messages shared with employees clear enough, are they the right ones?
- Employee engagement and alignment with the company’s vision. If you want to build a successful business, you have to make sure that everyone is on board and understands the company’s vision, strategic plan, and objectives!