CEOs are often surprised that, even after their best efforts, more and more of their employees report they feel uninformed, disconnected, and disengaged. That’s despite all of their site visits, digital town halls, company-wide meetings, mass emails.
Leaders are confident they’ve increased the volume and depth of their communication versus even five years ago. And yet it’s still not enough. Employees aren’t satisfied.
It’s true that this emphasis on better communication has had some minimal impact. In 2018, Gallup determined that the percentage of engaged U.S. employees (those who are enthusiastic and committed to their work) had reached 34 percent – the highest number ever. But that still means a staggering 66 percent of American workers are not engaged – two-thirds.
That won’t make any CEO happy.
This is because more isn’t better.
So, what needs to be done to meet employee expectations for communication?
The answer, I believe, can be found in the revolutionary digital transformation that we’ve seen in marketing over the last two decades. Today, marketers have an unprecedented understanding of customer personas, buying journeys, digital touchpoints, and the orchestration of these elements to improve marketing efficiency and drive growth. Digital transformation is reinventing industries across every spectrum from retail to auto-manufacturing to distribution.
Any company that cannot reinvent itself is at risk of disruption and even extinction. For instance, the consumer mobile space is an “eat your young” innovative environment where algorithms generate insights on every swipe and touch to deliver the most compelling, personalized content to keep consumers engaged – and sell to them through direct commerce or digital advertising.
But what has happened to enterprise communications at most companies during this same period of remarkable digital change and innovation? Nothing revolutionary, that’s for sure.
Do these scenarios sound familiar at your organizations?
- Reliance on an Intranet that must be accessed with VPN or complex login logic
- Email newsletters that digest information – but only for people with email access
- Messaging channels that cater mainly to tech-oriented employees sitting at desks
- Town halls and company meetings streamed over video – but just to those with access and bandwidth
- Dependence on an annual employee engagement survey for insights
No analytics are comparable to what’s available in marketing with this type of traditional employee communications strategy. There’s no forcing factor to make messaging succinct (like limiting to 240 characters or two minutes of video), personalized, and entertaining to our employee-recipients. The user experiences are dull in comparison to what employees are experiencing on their phones an estimated four hours a day.
Meanwhile, the conventional annual survey doesn’t collect the kind of real-time feedback that leads to immediate change – which employees now expect. And “company-wide” town halls lose their impact in an era of enterprise globalization.
It’s no wonder that employees feel left in the dark – even at a time when companies think they’re doing more to communicate with them. This dissatisfaction with employee communication also can have an insidious impact on company culture and performance.
- Lower CEO approval rating and online company reviews
- Reduced brand reputation
- A decline in employee engagement and an increase in attrition
- Increased risk and compliance issues from lack of knowledge
- Slow response time to competitive threats and opportunities
Every CEO knows that employee expectations about what they want from their company have changed. Employee communications have not kept up.
The companies that thrive will reinvent employee communications as a foundational strategy – championed by the CEO. This is driving demand for a new category of technology – Employee Communications Applications.
Here are 10 benefits when enterprise Employee Communications Applications are incorporated into the company’s technology stack:
- Just as every company adopted CRM and marketing automation to better understand, serve, and attract customers, Employee Communications Applications will provide control and insight over interactions with our people.
- Employee Communications Applications will streamline communication so that executives and professional communicators no longer waste time replicating content in multiple systems for distribution through various channels, devices, browsers, and operating systems.
- Employee Communications Applications will seamlessly leverage existing systems – directories, HRIS, payroll, scheduling, Intranets, and portals for personalized targeting of content.
- Communication will be structured, top-down, and distributed so that senior leaders can reach everyone in their organization and managers can communicate with their specific teams.
- Communication will be “snackable” for the workforce with short videos, images, employee-generated content, links, and text on-demand – making the content more entertaining and compelling.
- Every employee will have access – with or without email – through their favorite company apps, purpose-built employee apps or SMS.
- Organizations will always know who was reached, who engaged with the content, and who was driven to take the appropriate action. This understanding will provide insights to company leaders, HR professionals, and communications teams to optimize messaging.
- The collaboration process will happen in a different “space” than top-down communication. Employees want to know where to turn for accurate, approved, and personally relevant information from leadership – something that gets lost in stream-of-consciousness collaboration tools.
- Employees will have the opportunity to provide real-time, structured feedback on topics as well as easily participate in internal research.
- Executives will have a continuous understanding of employee happiness and engagement, anywhere and anytime in the world, based on the visualization of data from their Employee Communications Applications.
There is a better way to connect, engage and activate employees – fueled by the lessons of digital transformation. Revolutionizing communications will lead to higher employee productivity, lower costs to hire and train, greater retention, higher CEO approval rates, faster time to market, and swifter response to competition.
Our communication expectations have irreversibly changed. Companies that take advantage of innovative ways to connect with their people will have a measurable edge over the competition. This is the future of employee communications.
But the reality is the future is already here, and the most successful companies are already living it.
Learn more about Employee Communications Applications here.