A new SocialChorus study finds organizations are spending more on employee engagement than they were two years ago, yet still struggle to measure effectiveness
SocialChorus, a global workforce communications platform, announced results from its 2019 Internal Communications Index, which examines how internal communicators are grappling with a multitude of changes in the workplace, from expectations of the C-suite to how they measure effectiveness and the technology they use. As companies place an increasing level of importance on employee engagement and alignment, the survey found internal communications is taking on an even more critical role within organizations, with three-fourths (75%) of respondents spending more on employee engagement than they were two years ago.
“Employees need consistent and comprehensive communications from their company to feel included in the overall company direction, build trust and buy into what the organization stands for,” said Sonia Fiorenza, vice president of communications and engagement strategies at SocialChorus. “Because of this, it is no surprise that organizations are investing in internal communications more so than ever before. As the ways in which companies engage employees continue to evolve, the role of the communicator will only grow as they look to keep up with the demands of the modern workforce.”
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Putting a stop to “fake news” a top expectation of the C-suite
In today’s sociopolitical climate, how an employee feels about their organization can change in an instant. One bad actor or poor press coverage can have a lasting impact on morale and employee retention. With anyone in an organization able to spread information on social and collaboration platforms, “digital water coolers” also run rampant and make it difficult for companies to tell a succinct story to employees. In fact, over half (51%) of communicators say prevention of misinformation and rumors is leadership’s top concern in communicating with employees.
It is no longer enough to disseminate information on HR enrollment, holiday reminders and compliance trainings. More than half of respondents (53%) said their CEO, executives or board expect the communications team to get employees on board with organizational or strategic changes. This is followed in importance by:
- Ensuring that employees know about good things happening in the business, not just bad news (41%)
- Getting the dispersed workforce the same information as employees in headquarters (34%)
- Effectively and quickly communicating to all stakeholders in a crisis (33%)
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Measurement and technology are still major challenges for internal communicators
While the importance of internal communications grows, changes to where and how people work, what channels they use to get information and the speed at which information is shared has made it harder and harder for organizations to keep employees informed, engaged and aligned with company goals. Further compounding this issue is the fact that internal communicators still struggle with determining what is and isn’t effective in reaching employees and not having the right technology in place to do their job effectively.
The survey found that:
- 85% of respondents say measuring the positive impact of internal communications on employee engagement is a challenge
- 64% say they don’t have a good way to know whether employees have seen or read content published
- When asked to rank the most important future elements of internal and employee communications, number one (57%) was measuring the impact on employee engagement
- Communicators spend most of their time creating and publishing content and then posting to multiple locations and managing a variety of platforms. The most common channels used to communicate to employees include:
- Company email and email newsletters (75%), yet 46% said only a small percentage of employees read email and engage with content
- Team manager-led meetings (67%)
- Corporate social media (56%)
- Mobile apps (51%); up from only 13% two years ago
“Much like the technology stacks that have changed how sales and marketing work, communicators need the same system of record to manage all of their workforce communications from one place,” Fiorenza said. “Only when companies start approaching employee communications in this way — with one place to create and publish content, reach any employee regardless of location in a personalized way, and measure the impact — will they truly be able to align the workforce.”
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