According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey, employee engagement and culture issues have become one of the biggest challenges companies face around the world. The research (which spanned 3,300 business and HR leaders from 106 countries) has shown that organisations are now recognising the need to step up their efforts and focus on improving employee engagement in order to improve culture and retention.

So, what are companies doing to keep their employees informed and engaged? Having moved on from the days of sterile top-down strategy messaging over email and intranet, what are the latest trends to hit the internal comms world?

Here we have identified some key internal communications trends:

Going Mobile

Mobile has become the top focus for many companies, and many are looking for new ways to make their internal communications mobile device friendly. It has become much more acceptable for employees to bring their own device into the workplace (termed ‘BYOD’). By allowing employees to connect to corporate resources and work on and access company related data such as emails on their own devices, organisations can increase efficiency, control costs and maintain a mobile workforce.

At Kimberly-Clark, BYOD is a global phenomenon allowing employees to bring their own iPhone and iPad devices to work. By signing up their devices to a bespoke corporate program, sales executives have seen valuable benefits, and iPhone and iPads have now become an essential part of doing business.

Visualising with Photos and Video

Concurrent with the rise in use of mobile devices, communicators are increasingly using the power of visual storytelling to engage staff in company updates. Traditionally used for employee training, videos are fast becoming a popular vehicle for communicating company culture, announcements, goals and success stories. In addition to videos, organisations are using images, infographics, data visualisation and images to tell stories. More information can be absorbed by employees who access company communications via their phone or tablet, and the content is more personable and memorable.

Embracing Employee use of Social Media

Many organisations are still restrictive on employee social media usage. In spite of this, the trend is towards empowering staff to post on social media and act as ambassadors. It has been proven that employee brand ambassadors who share their employer’s social media posts within their own communities can have a massive impact on the reach of those messages. In fact, the benefits of having employees spread the word on social media are far more likely to outweigh the risks. Many industries (such as banking) are attempting to educate their customers to engage in technology. Allowing employees to share company innovations online via social media can be an extremely valuable way of realising these strategic goals.
Social media also presents a huge opportunity for internal communication, collaboration, and innovation. Internal social networks can help employees innovate new ideas faster and share them across the organisation with ease.

Becoming More Human

Adding more “human” stories to internal publications can help build company culture and, more importantly, give employees a voice. Internal comms professionals are keen to move away from sterile top-down company strategy messaging towards a more vibrant and engaging mixture of content that focuses on the people actually doing the work. User generated content is on the rise (via the deployment of apps such as Snapchat), as ‘professional’ content declines.

HSBC have used video to reconnect employees, allowing them to gain a shared sense of responsibility and pride, and to drive an outspoken organisational culture. ‘HSBC Now’ is a weekly TV programme, featuring stories from people (ie employees), about people, covering all subjects, including darker topics such as financial crime. 85% of those that watch the programme are proud to work at HSBC and it has generated a new culture of openness and honesty.

It is clear that by adopting new technologies and tools such as video, mobile and social for internal communication purposes, companies have found more effective ways to collaborate, build organisational culture, and increase productivity. Engaging employees in this way allows them to play a bigger role in internal communication, and effectively builds brand ambassadors from within.

Some great trends to emerge this year… watch this space to see what 2016 will bring!!!