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5 Tech Trends in Communications You Should Pay Attention To Now

Posted on May 08, 2015

Tech has more and more of an influence on every facet of business today, and employee engagement is no different. From enterprise social networks (ESNs) to internal communication tools, it seems like there’s another tool or platform to evaluate every day.

It’s not only prudent to monitor the specific tools themselves, but also to understand broader patterns and trends in society and technology when you consider bringing new technology into your company. What’s going through your employee’s minds? What’s going on in their lives that will make them more or less likely to adopt this new technology?

Because in reality, the biggest challenge for implementing new technologies within an enterprise isn’t how to use the technology itself; it’s how to garner user adoption to make the investment worthwhile

In this post, we’ll take a look at the trends you need to know to ensure your investments take hold.

1. Mobile

The BYOD (or bring your own device) movement is happening in your organization whether you like it or not. Employees use their personal devices for work for a number of reasons. 

First, with fanboys of every technology (Apple is better! Android rules!) letting people determine the devices that suits their needs ensures your workers are as efficient and engaged as they can be

Second, with changing corporate cultures, remote workers, and social media, the lines between personal and professional contacts are blurred more and more these days. Your employee’s phone contacts and address books are already synced to their personal phones. It’s just easier to stick with that device than to transfer that information to a new phone. 

Lastly, technology like iCloud or Dropbox synchronizes contacts and files across devices, making it easier than ever to get work done at home without the hassle of VPNs or outdated file-sharing. Cloud-based technology is such a popular workflow that it’s practically the expectation of employees these days. Anything that isn’t up to par with the user experience of these new tools is frustrating for your team members.

Keep this in mind when assessing purchasing new internal communication tools or building them in-house. Will that solution work across devices? Can employees access it from home or during their commute on their personal phone? If not, you may have trouble driving adoption. And adoption is critical.

2. Employee Suggestion Programs Go Digital

A recent study from Gallup shows that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Whether it comes from HR or internal communications -- or both -- better communication is a critical way for companies toboost employee engagement.

One idea: Improve the channels through which employee’s voices are heard. The creation of anemployee suggestion program, carried out through a digital platform like Vocoli, speaks loud and clear to your workers. It tells them you are serious about employee engagement and that you want to hear their ideas. Taking your program online will help you organize the ideas, shape them with feedback, and ultimately implement them. 

Way better than a suggestion box on the wall, right?

3. Activity Streams

Facebook and Twitter have indulged our voyeuristic tendencies with activity streams, and that impact is seen in the ways employees use internal communication software.

Seeing what people are working on and commenting on those topics in a wiki is a popular method of used by organizations to engage employees. Simply being in the loop and knowing what others are up to leads to more engagement and a stronger connection with the company. 

Remember that activity streams are popular when comparing the features of different internal communication tools.

4. Internal Chat

Slack and Hipchat are all the rage, especially among younger employees who are infamously email-phobic. More and more, rather than sending an email about a quick question, they’ll Hipchat you instead.

The importance of mobile is critical to the growth of these tools. Responding to a Hipchat message is as easy as sending a text message using the Hipchat app on your phone.

Keep this in mind for any new employee engagement tools you’re evaluating. Adoption for any tool depends on how you market it internally and what training you offer. It also depends on the user experience for the employee. Internal chat tools are simple to use and make employee’s lives easier in a tangible way. Participation is a no-brainer. Can you say the same thing about the new system you’re considering? 

5. Intranet Fatigue

To put it bluntly, many enterprise social networking tools are not living up to their hype

Just a few short years ago, enterprise social networks were celebrated as the next big thing in business and the solution to our employee engagement woes. While one can’t argue that the initial popularity of these tools is impressive, the novelty has worn off.  Many employees don’t even remember their company has a wiki or an intranet!

Our advice? Narrow down the goals of your internal communications program and what specific things you need to do better in order to engage employees. Then, find a specific tool for that initiative

If you need better newsletters, figure out a way to make better newsletters. If employees need to feel heard, get a digital employee suggestion platform and start listening. 

Employees are busy. If you want them to be engaged and participate in your internal communication program, you have to tell them very specifically what you want them to do, when to do it, and where. This is why selecting a specific tool your each initiative is ideal.

Over to you. Which of these trends are already part of your internal communications plan? Which caught you by surprise? Tweet us @_Vocoli and let us know in the comments.

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