5 Trends in Employee Communicationsby Katy
The management of employee communication lies in a strange limbo between HR and PR; both struggling for clear, concise messaging but each with it's own set of tactics. Waves of hiring and downsizing, the globalization of business, corporate re-engineering, buyouts and mergers, the informality social media has brought to the workplace – all have dramatically modified the ways we communicate with our employees. Gone are the days when the role of an internal PR person was relegated to using InDesign to layout newsletters, dropping a few paragraphs to a stagnant PDF press release or spending hours prepping the company president for an on-air interview. Our work is centered on providing strategic counsel in support of overarching business goals, creating tools to disseminate information quickly without disrupting the confidential importance of human resourcing and designing training techniques to better engage employees, who have the ability to talk to thousands of people in under 140 characters, with the company's brand and it's messaging.
What will the future of the communications professional look like, especially one who is rooted in digital? I believe further evolution rests in the strength of adaptability; we must each keep a watchful eye on emerging platforms and the ways information is distributed. Accordingly, following are key trends that will influence the work of those who lead the branding and communications of organizations:
The further proliferation of technology – from Skyping to podcasting to mobile to microblogging – has already dramatically altered ways we communicate internally. Office gossip is spread via IM, not near a water cooler. Industry gossip is rampant on Twitter, while rival agencies can cherry pick from top talent just by connecting on LinkedIn. Communication is instantaneous, coming so quickly and in such volume that filtering what comes in and goes out is a task of gigantic proportion. We must learn to moderate without damaging the integrity of open discussion.
While specialization will continue to be of value, the rampant accessibility of learning new skills in a DIY digital era will force today's companies to seek out increasingly multi-disciplined communications professionals. Garnering the ability to write well for the web has become immensely important. Never has there been a time when we needed to hone their ability to be succinct and understand the importance of key words more than now. Twitter recently announced that more that 50 million tweets are sent per day; communications professionals need to learn to cut above the clutter and strive for originality.
True globalization was effectively achieved with the massive outreach of social media, digital campaigns and the global economy. In fact, as I write this, Robert Gaafar is on a Skype conference call with France. Thus, we need to ensure that brand messaging and key executives truly mirror the population. This is an area where HR and PR teams need to work hand-in-hand. Sometimes that snarky, in-your-face corporate attitude is a great motivator but other times, it is culturally offensive. Your communications strategy must show personality while being sensitive to world events.