Oceanic Pharmachem Private Limited (OPPL) believes that effective internal communication can win hearts and minds and be a win-win for all stakeholders.
Getting employee attention for important matters through internal communication goes beyond good intentions or effort. Still, much of today’s internal communications are missing the mark, with employee engagement in a steady decline. This detachment of the staff is detrimental for the company’s bottom-line. Organizations need to reverse the trend, reunite their teams and embed a positive culture.
MAJOR CONTRIBUTING REASONS
A large number of dispersed workers
An increasing number of workers now work from home at least half of the time. It is estimated that by 2020, two out of three businesses will have adopted flexible working and mobile working. This new movement means those valuable “water cooler” chats are being lost, so too are the spontaneous team moments. Understandably, an employee’s psychological investment in the organization—which is the foundation for engagement – is tenuous. Managers are struggling to recreate a high performing ‘in house rapport’ if the static email is the inevitable method of reaching out to their team.
Email – an outdated and failing channel
Email has been the default channel of choice for almost three decades. Yet through the recent period of immense digital disruption, this tool’s functionality is stagnant. Videos, gifs, interactive visual content streaming has not reached fully in professional lives. Staff today expect and deserve better communication than dull, text-heavy ‘all staff’ email.
Unreliable email metrics
The biggest drawback of email is the lack of content interactivity measurement. Email’s ‘read receipt’ simply means the recipient opened the email for one second and is not an indication of the content being read. Most email-based platforms use a transparent pixel, known as ‘beacon’ to measure open rates. However, as internal emails are classified as being from a ‘trusted source’, all images (including the beacon) download automatically, even if the email has been viewed in a preview window. A more meaningful measure of readership is click rate, but even with claimed click rates of 25 to 35 percent, email readership appears to be low.
Inboxes continue to bloat
Email has become a victim of its own success. Ironically, more and more emails are sent internally in a failed attempt to improve low engagement. The average number of business emails is now a staggering 124 per day. Spam, marketing automation systems, and the all-staff email have ballooned inboxes, devaluing this channel and its effectiveness. Staff miss messages as their emails quickly descend into the inbox vortex, or are automatically filtered into subfolders, never to see the light of day. Unsurprisingly, email overload is a major factor in today’s broken communication.
A lack of ownership
Nobody likes change, but when “the pain of same is greater than the pain of change,” it’s time for action. However, the inertia linked with communication change stems from a blurring of the lines between stakeholders. The war among the actual players – human resources, IT, internal communications, and marketing – to take up the ownership causes the entire plan to fail.
A society of skimmers and scanners
The newest generation entering the workforce, Generation Z. are digital natives. They have grown up using social media, instant messaging, and texting. Only 6 percent of this group send emails and their media consumption habits do not stop once they’re at work. Bite-size content delivered via attention-grabbing formats gets the engagement needed, while gamification – a modern twist on good old-fashioned competitive rivalry – is another engagement technique that has high appeal, especially when used to reward employee participation.
A wide communication spectrum
Many new and exciting ways for organizations to build engagement with employees include high impact, readily seen formats, such as desktop alerts and chatty collaboration platforms, as well as more passive styles, such as screensavers, infographics and digital signage. The skill lies in knowing which channel is right for the task. Building engagement can be a slow-burn using channels from across the communication spectrum.
The top-down approach
As the C-suite feel the fallout from a disengaged workforce, employee engagement will become a priority. The directive to resolve it has to come from the top.
To summarize, a company’s financial performance usually correlates with the quality of its employee communication and engagement. Designated staff correct internal communication channels that exceed email, and a robust measurement program to monitor effectiveness provides a framework to engage and inspire staff. Communication tools that offer a richer, more engaging and interactive experience, that can help bring corporate culture and story-telling to life