There You Are…Four Digital Strategies for “Always-On” Employee Communications

From Messages to Conversations; From Awareness to Action

This pandemic has upended virtually every part of our work and personal lives. We immediately had to adjust and adapt to new and different ways to interact, connect, share, and collaborate to maintain and create relationships. Through all of this upheaval and change, we discovered a number of truths regarding our resilience and perseverance, including:

  • Technology is a Bridge – Moving voices, ideas, engagements, from one place to another
  • Silos are no Longer a Barrier – We’ve discovered working virtually has almost eliminated company silos
  • Empathy Transcends Medium – We are very aware of the tone, cadence, and frequency of our interactions to respect emotions
  • Information is Ubiquitous – There are virtually no time barriers or restrictions as the world works as one, and the thirst for information is never satisfied
  • It’s Personal – Communications have moved from segments and audiences to personal engagement

From an organizational standpoint, employee communications have become an on-going dialogue – pervasive, persistent, and personalized. There are no editorial calendars or predetermined topics, channels, or timing. It’s an intuitive effort driven by leadership and informed by employees focused on relevant information generated by a central theme. It is about ensuring people are informed, educated, intrigued, nourished, and comfortable in discussion and debate.

“Always On” employee communications is a myriad of passions, interests, data, perspectives against a corporate strategy and narrative that run fluidly across channels and platforms. In that regard, four distinct strategies buttressed by a data/analytics studio for ensuring an agile and inclusive engagement profile for employees in a digital age create a new method for employee communications.

Data/Analytics Studio: A centralized resource that engages in assessing the employee journey and its touchpoints looking for usage, sentiment, voice, frequency, tonality, and access to information to form insights that impact content, programming, channel, and timing. From this core center, four actions follow – all of them infused with data, analysis, and insight:

  1. Employee Communications Strategic Roadmap – Digital planning framework done on a weekly or even daily basis. Flexible. Iterative. Metric Driven. 
  2. Central Organizational Story (Themes, Conversation Streams) – Core narrative. Story cubes reflecting the entire business influenced by data and insight. 
  3. Multiple Platforms (Managers; Hub; Apps; Podcasts, Videos) – Synchronized system for omnichannel storytelling of messengers and channels easily accessible to all employees with feedback built-in. The Hub is a collection of all content found on the portal and updated frequently. 
  4. Action Not Awareness specific activities or programs reflecting key business milestones or efforts , highlighted throughout the year that drive action – behaviors, mindset, involvement, collaboration, ideation.

The style for employee communications in a social and digital environment is all about Discover vs. Sell. People must discover and engage on their terms vs. being sold and told. This dictates a different approach and tone (somewhat provocative) to gain interest.

Leaders have found this pandemic raised the importance and critical nature of an informed, confident, and smart workforce. As such, employee communications must be viewed as a strategic priority for the enterprise and be given the resources, attention, and commitment necessary to effectively reach, connect and motivate people in a challenging time and against a digital reality.

Organizational success is about performance. Efficient. Productive. Consistent. Sustainable. It is grounded in a workforce that is clear about the direction of the business. Knowledgeable about their roles and responsibilities. Confident in their understanding and perspectives. Open to ideas and different points of view. Smart about the future. Respectful of their colleagues and peers. 

Now is the time to get real about employee (internal) communications and ratchet up the sophistication and elegance expected and essential to your workforce to have the potential to succeed in a tumultuous and unpredictable environment.

Ask yourself: “How smart do you want your employees to be?” 


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Gary Grates
Gary Grates

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