Effective Internal Communication in The 21st Century

If your job entails communicating with field staff on your team or company-wide employees, there are many things that may be keeping you up at night. The challenges and issues facing leaders in charge of connecting employees vary based on a few things including where most of the staff is located, the company culture, technologies they are using and much more.

5 Key Employee Communication Challenges:

  • There is a major disconnect between headquarters and geographically distributed staff members.
  • Companies lack consistent work culture, it’s hard to implement work policies and inspiring employees is out of the question.
  • Improper or lack of communication leads to disengaged employees. 71% of employees are not fully engaged.
  • Employees fail to understand company goals and vision. They lack a connection to the brand, oftentimes leaving them uninspired.
  • Leaders struggle to communicate with staff in an engaging, impactful and motivating manner.


Trends That Impact Internal Communication Today:

  1. Geographically distributed field staff 

Many industries such as retail and hospitality have staff members who are in a variety of locations around the country and even world. Each location has a new set of employees working different shifts throughout the day (and night in the case of hospitality).

  1. Non-desk employees who do not have access to email

There are employees who aren’t required to have company email or aren’t in front of their computers checking email constantly. This means that if you are relying on email for communication, there is a percentage of the staff that is completely out of the loop.

Even, “Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk 50-60% of the time”, states GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com.

  1. Increase in remote hours or fully remote employees

There is a growing number of employees working from home either partially or full time. 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. There are programs such as Remote Year that facilitate not only working remotely but also traveling while doing so. 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Companies are increasingly supportive of work from home as they want to provide this perk to employees and see the benefits of opening up their talent pool nationally or even globally.

  1. Increasing popularity of video

A big trend we hear from enterprises is that they want to share videos to train and motivate their employees across the country. 72% of communicators plan to increase the use of video to communicate with employees.  

  1. Millennials and baby boomers are in the workforce together

They have different communication needs and work habits. Figuring out the right message and channels that resonate with all employees is going to take some trial and error to figure out. Explore new channels and try different angles for your messaging.

  1.  Employees are on mobile, specifically using mobile apps at work

With mobile penetration at 87% and 3+ hours a day spent using mobile apps, many companies are turning to mobile apps for internal communication. Even for the oldest cohort of 55-64 years of age, mobile penetration is at 63%. Employees of companies with mobile apps were 50% higher in employee satisfaction, operational efficiency and employee productivity.

  1. Employees want a social, fun way to engage with peers.  

Great colleagues and good relationship with peers is a key reason that employees love and stay at their jobs. Empower them to build these relationships, no matter where they are. 98% of all employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50 percent are already posting about their company. Why not bring these conversations into one tool where they can engage with the brand, each other and you can have better insight into these conversations?

“I love that the app is the forum to share with peers and especially see sneak peeks that our VP’s and Directors share. I really enjoy that it is work related which takes the pressure off feeling like you must connect with peers through other social media platforms.”
 Daniela Farco, Store Manager, Cole Haan – Houston


What Does This Mean for Your Internal Communication Strategy?

As you work on your strategy to reach retail field staff, distributed or non-desk workers or one strategy for all company employees, make a list of the key challenges that you are facing as well as which one of the above trends are most important for your team or company.

Key Takeaways for Improving Employee Communication

  1. Give employees an opportunity to connect with each other.
  2. Keep the employees in mind who aren’t at HQ.
  3. Ditch massive email chains and boring printouts that will be lost or ignored.
  4. Explore new content types such as video that is interesting and inspiring.
  5. Adapt mobile apps as a way to connect and engage employees in a fun and engaging way, no matter where they are.

See how Cole Haan is using a mobile app with Yapp to connect, inspire and engage their retail field staff across the country.

Did we miss any trends or recommendations for internal communication? Share your thoughts in comments below.