Rethinking digital internal communication 
5 min read

Rethinking digital internal communication 

Natalie Ediger By Natalie Ediger
Communication
Leadership
Management

digitale interne Kommunikation

The digital internal communication in the new normal 

Internal communication goes far beyond simply talking and writing to employees. It is the basis for employee leadership, employee commitment and ultimately the foundation for a strong corporate culture. What exactly does all this look like in the “new normal”? Suddenly, the personal meeting, the everyday coffee klatch, the ping-pong games during the break were missing. Only written communication was left, the meetings were ruined by zoom defiance, Corona turned the working world upside down. But actually the pandemic only expressed that in most companies digital internal communication was not properly established.

If you rely on employee engagement and long-term business success, your digital internal communication should go beyond just texting and mailing. A rethink is needed. In this article, you will learn which points have to be taken into account. 

Real time is the longest lasting 

We find ourselves in a fast-moving age with rapid changes. Today’s job market, which consists mainly of millennials and Generation Z, has grown up with technological tools in private everyday life. Everything has to happen quickly. We do not have time. We are impatient and want immediate results. Why should it be different at work? 

Real-time communication using instant messaging is indeed not a new phenomenon. However, especially in traditional companies, e-mail is still far too often the most important internal communication channel. Today, however, messages must be short and precise and updates must be made in real time. At least that is what the modern workforce expects, especially during a crisis. Therefore, switch to internal communication channels that enable exactly that. A small side note: Please do not use the (often) privately used WhatsApp. The team should also have targeted rest periods from company news. 

Integration of video content 

Videos are absolute power tools in external communication with customers. But how does it look internally? Video content should be used more often in the future to bring variety to internal communication. 

A variety of video formats are also suitable. For certain routine procedures, such as onboarding processes or staff training, it is ideally possible to create explainer videos (okay, maybe we are a little biased in this case ;)). But in fact, shorter explanatory clips are the ideal way to explain certain processes in an entertaining and easily understandable way. 

But also very simple company updates can be shared in a personally filmed video. This should become an integral part of internal communication, especially in a remote work culture. And yet many companies prefer to send an endlessly long internal newsletter. The problem? Long texts are often preferred to be skimmed over and important company details do not reach the employees. Don’t forget that in addition to your newsletter, employees also read other e-mails throughout the day. Video content looks more appealing and personal. Even for shorter updates. 

At Cleverclip, for example, we regularly film loom videos when we want to explain something to another employee. The videos are often only a minute long, but help to explain a certain process in a much more efficient and personalized way. So, for really efficient digital internal communication, videos should be the order of the day. 

Adaptation to the home office culture

Personally, I am almost disappointed that after such a year (and in which the remote culture has proven to be quite positive) there is still far too much resistance in this regard. Especially traditional companies promptly switched to normal office life as soon as the opportunity arose again. Why is that? Is it the fear of losing control? 

Home office works. Remote work works. Different time zones work (depending on the task of course). The fact is, now is the time to get involved with this change, to accept it and to align the internal communication as best as possible. Especially the younger generation, which is the future of the labor market, has learned to study and work digitally. More and more workers will require”work from anywhere” culture. You should also offer this opportunity to attract the best talents. 

Instead of looking to the home office culture with discomfort, you’d rather focus on finding ways to achieve maximum productivity. Move to apps and channels that allow communication independent of the location. If you need more tips and tricks for switching to a remote work culture, check out our remote work guide. 

Establishing a Company Culture 

The point may seem a bit confusing, since I wrote earlier that internal communication is the basis of corporate culture. In the end, these points go hand in hand. Without efficient internal communication, there will be no corporate culture. But without a corporate culture, no employee will be motivated to communicate effectively internally. The Millennials and Gen Z want companies that live up to their values and with which they can identify. Many companies have a very distinct corporate culture – at least on side. But what happens online?

The entire corporate culture should be integrated into the digital internal communication. This is about much more than just a few empty words. The company values, team spirit and sense of community must be transported through different channels. It is not acceptable that the absence of a table tennis table or a fruit basket should lead to a loss of corporate culture. Create chat rooms where employees can also exchange ideas on non-work related topics. 

And the most important thing: All employees are ambassadors of the brand and this should be communicated in this way. Motivate your employees to participate and share conversations, give them the opportunity to create content that they would like to share externally. Internal social media groups, for example, can often be effective because they offer a lot of room for engagement through “likes” and “shares”. 

Appreciation and feedback 

A big problem that I often see in digital communication is the lack of encouraging words and praise. Communicating digitally does not mean that we all become unfeeling robots. Yes, digital communication is faster, and often shorter because of it. But everyone also wants to hear positive words and know that the work is being appreciated. Unfortunately, this often falls away. I’m not necessarily referring to detailed feedback conversations right now (*ehm*, even these are often being forgotten)

It’s all about the little things like a positive comment on a post, a short thank you message, an emoji etc. Why is this so relevant? Praise and positive feedback are an important basis for motivation. But especially in digital internal communication, facial expressions and gestures are often omitted. As a result, the employee is uncertain about his or her own performance. Even in a video call, facial expressions and gestures are only partially transported. You know it yourself: Delay due to the wifi, then we look into the camera and are actually not really aware of which face the person at the other end of the interface is pulling. So, for a long-term successful internal communication, just find some nice words. 😉 

Focus on Employee Experience 

I have already mentioned the topic of employee experience in a previous blog post. Similar to external communication, which focuses on the customer experience, the employee experience plays a very important role within the company. It covers a variety of different areas – a smooth onboarding process, routine tasks, to-do’s, etc. Surveys show that the Employee Experience will continue to be one of the top priorities in the future.

Especially with the digital transformation, employees in this area have ever higher demands to work more productively, but also to feel digitally connected to the company. In order to continue to represent ourselves as an innovative and agile company, we must take advantage of the digital opportunities in this area. The integration of interactive content or employee portals, which offer a social experience in addition to the professional aspects, are some good examples. 

Conclusion 

I hope by now you have become aware that internal communication is not just some “blah-blah” 😉  Not a short tweet. Not a post-it. It involves the interaction of different channels and the integration and communication of the corporate culture. With the changing work environment and more and more technological possibilities, we have to rethink our internal communication. 

Designed correctly, digital internal communication strengthens the productivity, motivation and commitment of employees and ultimately the entire cooperation within the company. Internal communication is the cornerstone of your company. Try to think a bit outside the box, integrate new digital tools and be open to technological changes. 

For convenience purposes this post has been translated automatically.

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