By Chris Izquierdo on April 27, 2021



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We are living in unprecedented times. The global pandemic has been raging for over a year and while vaccines are becoming readily available, variants of the virus promise anything but a smooth transition back to the old normal.

We’ve been hearing this for the past 13+ months. Has the transition to a remote, or mixed environment, workforce affected your ability to communicate and engage with everyone? Is it a general struggle or are there particular groups that have been hard to reach? Do you even know if you’re being effective or not? In this article, we share statistics that will help you find your answer.

COVID-19 has precipitated a significant workplace disruption. Your employees are likely wearing masks, being socially distant, or working from home. Production may be at a fraction of what it was, or it yo-yos up and down depending on outbreaks and other issues. Business owners, directors, and managers have had to find new ways to communicate with their teams. According to Gallup, the percentage of remote workers in the US jumped from 31% to 62% in the first three weeks of March 2020.

Internal communicators had to develop new internal communication strategies to support a different work reality on the fly. The priority and importance of their communication shifted overnight from something we should do, to something we have to do well. Internal communicators had to ensure that employees got all the information they needed, including urgent COVID-19 updates and safety guidelines, in a timely manner.

So, we were all doing this, but was it effective?

Gallup: 74% of employees feel that they are missing out on company information and news.

Source Gallup.

It is a basic human need to be in the know. Our ancestors knew that information was key for survival as well as making sure that everyone was able to help the tribe. Not knowing could mean efforts that canceled out, or worse. Today in the corporate world, it’s the same.  Being the last one to find out about critical company news can be frustrating, demoralizing, and makes us feel like we’re on the outside.  Anyone feeling that way will disengage and become increasingly harder to reach. And they, knowingly or not, can start affecting how much others engage.

For internal communication to be effective, information needs to flow in a concerted, strategic manner. Your information needs to be targeted, timely and it needs to find your employees rather than having them look for it.

Your employees are used to having instant and personalized information from social media and expect it at work. This used to be hard but has become harder while your employees work from home and are geographically dispersed.

Is your communication platform able to deliver this type of experience?

Prescient Digital Media: Only 13% of employees use their intranets on a regular basis.

Source Prescient Digital Media.

According to a survey conducted by Prescient Digital Media, only 13 percent of employees report using their intranets on a daily basis. This stat is not new and has remained consistently low over the last decade. Interestingly, most companies continue to spend significant effort and money on their intranet in an ever-perpetuating cycle. The reason is simple and, honestly, sad. Many companies believe they need an Intranet, that the issue is because theirs is custom-built or because it’s a product, maybe they blame feature shortcomings without knowing if anything else could have possibly been more successful. At the end of the day, it actually is very much the same as the idea that a store should be successful no matter where it’s located, and we know that’s not true. You cannot force people to come.

Intranets do have a place in your communication ecosystem but relying too much or solely on them is a mistake. Communication relies on immediacy, and at 13%, that immediacy is lacking on your Intranet channel.

Do you really need ANOTHER corporate intranet? – Sparrow (sparrowapp.io)

Prescient Digital Media: 31% of employees admit that they have never used their Intranets.

Source Prescient Digital Media.

That same Prescient Digital Media survey gives us an even more eyepopping stat. 1/3 of your employees will never use your Intranet.

For the last 20 years, companies keep asking their employees to connect to the company intranet, but that option may not bring great results in terms of adoption and engagement.

Should we rethink our employee hubs? We believe so – Can we kill the Digital Workplace Hub already? – Sparrow (sparrowapp.io)

Sanebox: Less than half of emails received by your employees deserve their attention.

Source Sanebox.

This study found that 62% of the emails we receive are not important. Your employees are checking their email inboxes throughout the day. But most of the emails they receive are irrelevant to their role, their interests, and the interests of your organization.

It takes more than one minute to recover from an email. You want to interrupt your employees as little as possible and ensure the information they do receive is highly targeted to them.

Most companies are still using email as one of the main channels and in some cases as the only channel for their internal communications.

How do you avoid contributing to email overload? How do you ensure that important information you would like to share to your employees doesn’t go unread?

Most organizations use an email newsletter platform. Unfortunately, most organizations experience low engagement with these platforms. Email newsletters are one-way channels, they do not foster conversations and engagement. At best, you get ok open rates and poor clickthrough rates.

Your email newsletters usually gets lost among other emails. Just like your Intranet, email newsletters and an email channel have a place in your communication ecosystem, but they are channels bound together by a holistic strategic. One that considers omnichannel as the starting point – Why omnichannel is the only path forward – Sparrow (sparrowapp.io)

Email is great as a notification mechanism as long as it is highly targeted and takes me back to more engaging channels to be part of a conversation.

IBM: 72% of employees do not have a good understanding of your company’s strategy.

Source IBM.

For a company’s strategy to be effective, it needs to be communicated. That means not just opened and closed, but read and engaged with.

An earlier stat showed that 74% of your employees are missing out on company information and news. If you are employees are not aware of what is happening in the organization, how can they have a comprehensive understanding of your business?

The lack of understanding of the company’s strategy is a direct consequence of poor employee communications.

Inc.com: Connected Employees productivity increases by 20 to 25%. 

Source Inc.com.

Just as today’s consumers are constantly connected, so are today’s workers. What is more, your workforce is mobile and likely to be working remotely or in hybrid setting. Work is no longer tied to a desk or an office.

You need to make sure that your internal communications strategy takes this new reality into consideration. Your communication channels need to ensure information can flow in a timely manner to employees regardless of where they are working from.

Without a great internal communication in place, employees cannot coordinate their efforts in an effective way. At the end of the day, it’s your entire business that may suffer from low employee productivity.

Summary

Rachel Greenblatt of NBC reports the COVID lockdown had three big winners: The introverted, the productive, and Jeff Bezos. I would like to respectfully add a fourth – internal communications.

The last year has made organizations around the world realized the value of employee communications. Our profession has never been more important. We finally have the power to request a budget that aligns with the true needs of our workforce.

Now is the time to align our strategy, deploy an effective internal communication platform and demonstrate once and for all that internal communication belongs at the executive table.

Are you ready for a modern, vibrant communication platform? We’d love to introduce you to Sparrow.

Sparrow LogoIf you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, email and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for CommunicatorsBook a conversation with us today.  

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