COVID-19 has shaken up our business as usual and still keeps us busy. But it did not only have negative aspects - the virus also brought some opportunities. Look at some mega trends such as sustainability, the sharing economy or global digitalization that have been accelerated by the pandemic. All these ongoing changes have shown the importance of good internal communication.
Economic success usually means less need to innovate, but you can also look at it differently: economic recession is the time to innovate. After all, it is no coincidence one can see strond innovation and development in all sectors, including the government during the pandemic and economic recession it has caused. Especially the digital transformation has accelerated over the past months. With the whole world working from home, communicating solely online and consuming almost everything online (both private and work-related), it cannot be expected to change soon. In fact, the digital transformation has just started.
Pressure to Change
In times of a crisis, such as the pandemic that has changed everything within a few days, companies need to start innovating and going with the flow when it comes to digital transformation. But one big problem remains: The gap between the main work force and generation Z who is starting their careers at the moment. This generation who is now entering the labor market grew up with the internet, got to use smartphones very early in life and latest technologies are no news to them. Constant change when it comes to technology is normal to them. But they are mostly also more individualistic and orientated more broadly than older generations. Hierarchy is less important to them than to the generations before them, and they value independence highly. This causes the following question: How can a company communicate clearly to both target audiences internally about for example new strategies or upcoming projects?
The question is: How can companies engage both current and new generations of employees in digital transformation?
Focus on Quick, Personal and Purposeful Communication
When communicating with all kinds of employees, a simple powerpoint presentation, webinar or short message on the intranet won't be enough. Especially not in case you are trying to communicate a major change process, as for example a new strategy for the company or a new working method affecting the daily business of your employees. If you want your employees to stay motivated and change their behaviour accordingly, you need to reach them. This being said, it is important to recognize that different generations, especially generation Z, require personal and taylor-made communication. They are simply used to consume information in their own timeframe. You could for example consider simple tools such as Facebook@Work, Dropbox and Google G Suite or learn from the tools you use in your external communications. Tools such as programmatic advertising have been used to communicate to specific target groups individually for years, so why not use the same approach internally?
Good explanation of change projects, a new strategy or new way of working will have a huge impact on the success rate. Once employees understand why the change is necessary, the likeliness of them changing their behaviour accordingly increases. Setting up a thought-through internal communication plan focussing on the internal customer journey will also save you time. After all, it won't be necessary anymore to be present in different conference rooms and video calls to communicate your change project. Instead, you can communicate it via your new digital structure, in a personal way. Taylor-made for each target audience. To guarantee success when communicating a change process, you can always fall back on the proven and widely used means of external communication.
Why Internal Marketers are the New Heroes in Communication
Luckily, you don't have to do this all by yourself. After years of looking at their colleagues in external marketing and their smart tools, internal marketers finally become the new heroes of communication. Often, the budget for internal communication is limited leading to the fact that individual communication to different target audiences within a company was not possible. Internal communications has been a 'one size fits all' business for years. With other departments, such as HR, being responsible for some part of internal communications as well, internal communication departments got into a passive role. When wanting to communicate successfully internally, this desperately needs to change.
No Need to Start from Scratch
But even when setting up a new internal communication strategy, there is no need to start from scratch. Embrace what is already there, such as available digital tools and use them internally to reach your employees. Looking at and learning from external communication helps you to make internal communication just as successful and effective. This means: don't only put a short message on the intranet or design a poster that will be put on the wall next to the coffee machine. Get to know yout employees and their needs for information, get to know their 'customer journey' and define internal target audiences. You could for example work with personas and use them to communicate more individually. Help the internal communication department of your company become the new hero of communication and your employees will follow!
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