5 ways digital experiences are re-shaping Internal Communications

6 June 2016 by

The IC profession has reshaped itself in response to business changes, new technology and social forces. What’s clear is that digital experiences will become VITAL within internal communications. Digital will shape how companies talk both to and with employees, and digital will shape how work happens.

While IC has traditionally been focused on professional outputs (corporate products such as town hall meetings, intranet news sections and employee newsletters), going forward, IC must be willing to become the information and collaboration strategists.

The workplace has changed and so has human communication. IC, being at the intersection of both, must change as well. In a recently released DWG briefing paper, “The changing role of Internal Communications”, I explore these changes and what they mean for IC.

This paper looks deeper into where IC is being asked to ante up and provide new competencies, such as:

  1. Designing digital experiences with openness, personality, personalization and transparency. Online interactions with employees can collectively support (or undermine) the emotional connection an employee has with the organization. Being human, consistent, genuine, “social” and reachable are key. Ultimately, people-, journey- and emotion-centric will become core objectives for IC in the future.
  2. Building forums that enable the employee voice and then learning how to harvest the value. We’ve just scraped the surface of learning how to do this and what our role should be. Measurement and new methods of data and sentiment collection will be a part of this.
  3. Providing leadership advice on how to approach, steer and manage sensitive or complicated business situations, especially those involving employees and digital situations. In the future, leaders will increasingly turn to IC for digital advice: such as what internal digital tools to consider, how these should be introduced and the vision for the digital workplace.
  4. Implementing and continuously adapting the right mix of employee channels. DWG goes into this more in the “Digital channel matrix: Creating employee-focused internal communications” report referenced below.
  5. Learning how people in the organization work and helping them to understand and improve how information, decisions and assets flow through their specific work streams. Today, too many ICs would say “No, that’s not my job”. IC, as we currently know it, generally doesn’t want to get too close to everyday business operations. This is a very big opportunity that too many ICs are passing up.

We’d love to hear about your experience as an IC and what you see in our future.

Related research and resources

Digital Channel Matrix: Creating employee-focused internal communications

front cover of the changing role of IC small version

Measuring Internal Communications:Targeted metrics that demonstrate impact

IC Report coverDownload free paper »

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What DWG members say about research

“It’s great to see intranet best practices from real-life examples. Also, DWG provides a lot of explanations to help support their recommendations. I’m constantly searching for tips and guidelines on the internet for ‘intranet best practices’, but what I find is that there’s no data to support those recommendations.” Tiffani Crawle, Digital Reporting & Analytics Consultant at The Coca-Cola Company.

“Our default position is always to check the research library first and if there’s something relevant to what we’re doing there, we start with that.” Matthew Beckett, Digital Specialist, Intranet at Schroders.

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Categorised in: Internal communications, Research reports

Beth Gleba

Beth is a senior internal information professional, specializing in intranets and internal digital channels. Beth works with DWG as an independent facilitator, researcher and consultant. Previously, Beth spent several years at one of the world’s most innovative companies, IKEA. There she started up the US Internal Information department, leading the team to receive several awards, including the prestigious NN/g “Top Ten Intranets”. Later, she joined the IKEA global team which implemented a digital workplace strategy and played key roles in launching both internal social collaboration and a global HR portal.

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