It would be wrong to say that dynamic changes were not being heralded in the world of Internal Communications, without the phenomenon of COVID-19 – which first caught the world unawares and then forced it to find the best strategies to deal with it. Internal Communications was already on the fast track of technology, creativity and collaborations et al. COVID-19 only accelerated the digital and related transformations that were already underway in the realm of Internal Communications.
Traditional internal communication methods like bulletin boards, memos and Company newsletters, while potent tools of effective communication & employee engagement, unfortunately do not allow the organisations to listen to the employees, especially frontline workers. On its part, COVID-19 and lockdowns the world over brought out the need for a dynamic two way communication like never before.
Within organisations, Intranet and podcasts, which were always there suddenly assumed centre stage. Whatsapp and Telegram groups became mainstream. Pan organisation communication channels and applications like Slack and Monday.com assumed a robust vibrancy in numerous organisations. Videoconferencing – which was an occasional occurrence became an everyday (even every hour!) phenomenon. Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams and other virtual conferencing platforms replaced the boardrooms and meeting rooms overnight.
With the changing shift in the importance of technology and with digital becoming omnipotent, came the challenges of effectively leveraging and controlling all of these from a communication perspective. New rules needed to be made, new strategies needed to be chalked out, new content needed to be created. New discoveries were made on the way, some of which only highlighted how redundant the old ways of doing things were anyway! Industry events which used to take place in posh hotels soon realised that they can have participation from across the world at a fraction of the cost. So while all of these changes are still evolving and new patterns are emerging, one thing is for sure. The world is not going to go back to the Pre-COVID days and Communications, especially Internal Communications is being transformed forever.
One thing that came out loud and clear post the COVID phenomenon is that the world is looking for leaders who champion a digital organisation and everything that comes along with it. Increasingly leaders across sectors are focusing on digital transformations. On one side there is technology and on the other side the fast changing world of social media. Together they seem poised to shape the ways companies will communicate with their staff (and the Staff among themselves as well) moving forward.
Perhaps one of the most palpable fallout of the COVID phenomenon on internal communications is that increasingly internal communications and Human Resources (H.R) teams are combining their efforts given that often they are seeking to achieve similar or related outcomes. Both realise that the goal of any organisation must incorporate a holistic and positive experience for its employees, which ought to start at the on-boarding and include key touch points in an employee’s journey. Employee engagement, owing to its natural synergies calls for a seamless collaboration between H.R and Internal Communications team albeit bringing differing expertise and perspective to the table. Talking of collaborations, H.R, is not the only department with which Internal communication teams are increasingly engaging. Internal Communication is increasingly taking a leading role in areas which require trans- departmental collaborations, especially in a digital context.
One comprehensive and welcome fallout of the recent times have been that unlike yore, in internal communication, journey of a content is becoming freer from a top down approach only. It’s no longer only what a company wants to tell its employees. There has been a democratisation of content in many ways, thanks to technology and the dynamics of the present times. This includes employee to employee or cross departmental communications.
The bottom line: In more ways than one, Internal Communications has taken a big leap and the future can get only better, albeit pleasantly complicated!
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