Employee communications is a hot topic right now. With hybrid work becoming the new normal and younger socially-savvy employees entering the workforce, companies are looking at new ways to improve employee communications, especially for front line workers.
Ahead of our webinar “Creating employee communications your staff will love”, we sat down with our expert Ruud Brok to talk all things employee communications – why they’re important and how to modernise them for the next generation of workers.
Here’s what he had to say:
Why are employee communications so important?
RB: Employee communications are important because you want to make employees feel part of something bigger. You want to show you do care about them and they are an important part of the company. You want them to know what’s going at a wider company level, but also share the fun kind of communication too.
The most successful transformations happen when everyone is communicating and collaborating, marching towards common goals.
Nowadays, working relationships are no longer just about the 9 – 5, they’re more than that. Friendships are there. People want to communicate with each other. And not only on a work-related level, but also on personal stuff.
It’s important to ensure co-workers and employees are engaged in communication with each other.
Doesn’t matter what it’s about, whether they’re sharing baby pictures or vacation stories, even if it’s on work time, because this kind of comms is needed to help them to build trust at work.
What are the current employee communication challenges?
RB: The biggest challenge is you want employee communications to be safe. Which means, as a company, you want to be able to control the platform where employee comms is happening for security reasons, without controlling the conversation.
Many employees are using WhatsApp for casual communications. And WhatsApp itself isn’t unsafe. But as a company, you can’t control it.
Take for example, when someone leaves, they can still be in those informal company WhatsApp groups, where sensitive information can be shared.
That’s why it’s important to use a proprietary channel, such as Microsoft Teams, where you can be in control over who has access to the communication.
Another challenge is people are less connected in office buildings because they work from home. Or they work from different countries.
However, people need to be connected and the only possibility to do that is through digital solutions.
How can internal comms modernise their employee communications?
RB: Take your intranet as an example, never think, once you’ve created version one that “it’s done”. You should immediately start working on the next iteration.
Measuring will help you to improve your employee communications strategy.
Because, once it’s launched, you’ll need to start measuring, investigating, and deciding which parts of the intranet or communication platform can be improved.
When you start measuring, you’ll learn what people like and what they use. And this will help you to improve your employee comms strategy.
How can employee communications be measured?
RB: The basic metrics are based on the number of reactions you have. So, look at the comments and likes on articles etc.
However, if you have a social intranet or platform, employee engagement is more than just reading, reacting and liking.
A truly social platform enables employees to create content themselves.
So, content isn’t just coming from the top down – about sales figures, the next year’s vision and the goals of the company.
Employee comms should also come from the bottom up, from the employees for other employees. If that is happening, you know you have a valuable social communication platform.
What channels, platforms or tools enable better employee communications?
RB: It all depends on the use case and on the number of users. Take for example Microsoft Teams. Teams will be really crowded in a bigger company. And there are also technical limitations in Teams, such as the number of users allowed in a team or the number of teams created. But Teams is a good starting point.
However, if you want to centralise employee comms, you should use an intranet, such as Valo Intranet, which enables employees to set up a personal blog space. Plus, using Valo Connect, employees can follow specific subjects or topics in their news feed incorporated inside Teams.
How can internal comms stay in control of employee communications?
RB: Governance is a really important part of employee communications. You need to keep track of what’s happening.
For example, using a solution such as Valo Teamwork, you can create your teams with approval workflows. So, when a colleague wants to set up a new team, it needs to be approved by someone else.
It is also helpful to use templates so that every project team, for example, has the same basic structure. When teams are created using the same template, they are recognisable. And it’s easier for people to find documents, etc., especially for colleagues involved in multiple projects.
Enabling or disabling internal and external sharing is also important. So is determining what is private and public in your Teams environment. A governance solution, like Valo Teamwork, helps users to create the right collaboration environment and enables platform owners to keep track of which teams are created and which teams need attention.
Last, it also helps to clean up the Teams environment, this is overlooked when first starting with Microsoft Teams but it’s really important to keep a nice and tidy Teams environment.
How can Valo Connect can improve employee communications?
RB: There are several ways Valo Connect can improve employee communications. Here are a few suggestions:
- Personal dashboard, in Teams or Valo Intranet: Employees can create a personal dashboard where all their personal needs for their working day can be found in one place. For example, third party apps, Power BI and other widgets alongside customised news.
- Enterprise search hubs: Departments can create their own ‘hub’ where employees can find the relevant information on policies, guides and rules. Using Valo Connect’s Enterprise search means employees can filter search results based on topic or tags. This way you take control over the search functionality inside Microsoft Teams.
- Intranet inside Microsoft Teams: Bringing your intranet inside Teams means employees no longer have to go to the browser to read the latest news items. Plus, Valo Intranet allows employees to comment on news inside Teams which is automatically and immediately shown on the SharePoint news page. This makes it much easier to engage employees with news items.
Want to know more about how to create employee communications your staff will love? Join us at our free webinar “Creating employee communications your staff will love” where you can put your questions to our experts Ruud Brok and Edyta Gorzon.