Watch for these employee communication trends to take center stage in 2021. Make sure your internal communication strategy has them on the playbill.

Greater Focus on the Employee Experience

The trend toward a better employee experience began a few years ago and continues to gain momentum. It’s no wonder. Employees thrive in a culture that provides a positive experience at every stage of their career lifecycle. Each employee journey should be a reflection of your company culture and values.

At the center of the employee experience is effective internal communication. When well-planned, it makes employees feel good about your organization which drives their engagement. Internal communication plays a key role in their success and, ultimately, your bottom line.

More Use of Mobile Channels

On-the-go is on the rise. Organizations are realizing that employee communication improves when they increase their use of mobile channels. Apps, online tools, and digital platforms make it easier for employees to access company information when and where they need it — especially when there are more employees working remotely than ever before.

Don’t forget, the most tech-savvy mobile users — Millennials and Gen Z — make up about 38% of the workforce. Over the next decade, that number is expected to climb to 58%, making them a dominant force in the workplace.

Increased Demand for Visuals

All eyes are on visuals as a growing trend in employee communication. Research shows that 67% of people understand information better when it’s communicated visually.

Think about the consumer world we interact with daily. We’re treated to ads with eye-catching videos, gifs, and other interactive elements that help tell a story. We’ve come to expect this as the norm and look for it in every aspect of our lives.

Expectations at work are no exception. Employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read text. Viewers in surveys say they retain 95% of a message when it’s in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. Videos with real people delivering messages are considered more sincere, authentic, and trustworthy.

Emphasis on Employee Recognition

A trend in employee communication that some companies prioritize over long-term shareholder value is employee recognition. Organizations are realizing that when it comes to employee recognition, more is more. The more you celebrate your employees, the more inspired they are to do more for your company. In fact, employees expect recognition, especially the younger generations.

Employee recognition programs have a number of positive effects on employees including greater retention, increased engagement, and higher morale. Make sure your employee communication strategy includes recognizing employees on a regular basis and celebrating their achievements.

Strategic Focus on Data

The world of internal comms is becoming more data-driven. And why not? Certainly, every other aspect of your business relies on data for strategic decision-making.

Most likely, you have data on employee email open and click-through rates. You probably also have data about your employees’ communication preferences from the last company survey you sent. It’s time to use that data to improve employee’s experiences.

Take a look at your digital platforms and ask if they’re collecting data that serves you. They should be able to tell you at a glance when and how employees are using your internal communication channels. Look for metrics that answer questions like:

  • Which communication tools are working best?
  • What percentage of employees took action on a message?
  • What types of devices are employees using, mobile or desktop?
  • Are there popular days and times when employees access certain platforms?
  • How many employees open and respond to snap polls or surveys?

After you collect the data, use it! Review the metrics regularly and make changes based on your findings. For example, if your important company emails have poor open rates, it’s probably time to find a new communication channel.

Lateral Communication

Expect employee communication to include more peer-to-peer collaboration as companies move away from exclusively top-down communication. Lateral communication emphasizes the exchange of information and communication between individuals, departments, divisions, or units in your organization. It enhances knowledge, encourages innovation, fosters empowerment, and allows people to contribute with their unique skills.

Your employee communication should include strategies that reward teamwork, encourage sharing and push for collaboration. A digital game is one way to promote these qualities, foster a culture of unity, and provide a great employee experience.