One of the challenges of today’s corporate world is the need for effective internal communication and employee engagement. Management and communication teams are concerned that traditional channels used to distribute news (emails, paper or electronic newsletters) are not paid enough attention; they are either left unread, read too late, or lost between other unread mails. The consequences of this lack of readiness are affecting the relationship that the company hopes to have with all of its employees. But all is not lost…
What causes this and how can be resolved?
Communication is vital across all fields and especially in our global, interconnected society, where a decisive business leadership model has become the established way of contact for many seeking opportunities for growth and survival.
Through time, each new generation has experienced the use of different tools for communication with their friends, family and employers; from fire signals, cave paintings, paper, letters, TV, radio and, finally, to today’s internet and applications. While these tools can bring so many rewards to our day to day activities, they can also be useless if they are not used correctly. If a company wants to encourage readership of communications by its employees, it needs to acknowledge that it is it’s own responsibility to provide the right tools that enable those communications to reach staff in an effective and efficient way.
McFarlane, 2010, defined efficiency as ‘acting with speed; saying things fast, delivering a 20 minute speech in five minutes, using a PowerPoint presentation to present an extended essay to a class’, thus, ignoring some irrelevant details. A good corporate social media strategy should be able to claim its efficiency by minimising wasted time and effort needed to access important news. Furthermore the strategy must be effective by providing information that meets employees’ interests and that they would actually want to read.
Most traditional communication models are based on an inefficient and ineffective ‘paging’ model – users are typically unaware what will be on the next page and they are forced to scroll or read without a specific intent. In the UK, for example, ‘Metro’ prints thousands of newspapers and hand them out to people for free every day.
However, in a recent UK observation 1, 6 out of 10 train passengers on a train were holding a phone and reading materials from their device, scrolling through random contents but selecting which articles they actually want to read, and in what order. This is a very important difference with social media models compared to the newspaper model, and it’s all about ‘interest’.
This is not a challenge that ‘digital tactics’ alone can solve. A reader is more likely to read a story if it is either relevant (i.e. has a direct impact on his/her life) or it is interesting (the story does not impact him/her, but he/she is intrigued enough to know more about it anyway), so journalists and communications professionals still need to write a compelling story or post. In addition, while many companies have adopted the use of social media in the workplace through tools such as Yammer, Jive Engage, etc. they have experienced poor levels of engagement with them. That’s not because they are not great but that is because the intended information is hidden within these expansive, wrongly used tools and hard to find.
People value communication that is more efficient than effective; that is, speed is valued over quality points for the sake of instant impact and brevity. That means directing employees, instead of expecting them to sift through a large pool of information, along the right path of digital contents. Therefore, businesses need a new communication strategy to meet the needs of today’s employees – a fast, modern approach that is capable of tagging, filtering, or present the news based on individuals’ interests so that readership can increase.
PEW research centre declared that, during the last 10 years, usage rates of social networks have increased from 10% to 74%. The fast growth of technology has caught everyone’s attention regardless of their gender, age, and education. Another study declared that 85% of social networks are accessed via smart phones and via mobile applications. Here at Sogeti UK, we have listened to this research and built upon it, to tailor our own solution and design a social app that meet the requirements of our staff in this fast growing digital age.
What we’ve done
As of this week, Sogeti UK has designed and launched the second version of a mobile communication application in house. This application allows Communications teams to effectively and efficiently voice the organisation’s news updates. It showcases regular updates from each of the departments within our business, provides information on internal and external events, and within the My Sogeti section staff can find a handbook, staff directory, and access to frequently asked HR questions.
Version 1 of our app was released in May 2014 and within the first 4 months it was downloaded by 75% of Sogeti UK’s employees. We found that our staff felt more engaged with the organisation because the information they wanted to see was now at their fingertips.
Version 2 soon got the go ahead and we distributed it through HockeyApp – a private application distribution platform. The new version saw the introduction of new sections, an update to the look and feel of the user interface, and gave the Communications team the ability to send short push notification messages to staff.
We’re really happy with the feedback so far, and are already planning version 3!
Want an app like this?
We would love to design, develop and test an app for you! We can cover the whole application lifecycle and even ensure it’s completely secure, like ours.
Contact us today on: +44 (0)20 7014 8900, or email email@example.com.
Donovan A. McFarlane, 2010, Social Communication in a Technology-Driven Society: A Philosophical Exploration of Factor-Impacts and Consequences. American Communication Journal, Volume 12,winter 2010. Retrieved August 7th, 2015, from http://ac-journal.org/journal/pubs/2010/McFarlane.pdf
1. The statement is based on an experiment that was conducted in London underground between 8-9 am. During this experiment, 300 people were observed over 30 days.
Social Networking Fact Sheet, Retrieved August 5th August, 2015, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/