Monthly Archives: August 2017

Can your organization reach employee smartphones without investing in a mobile app?

From flyers on bulletin boards to digital signage in the lunch room to posters inside bathroom stalls, internal communicators have placed messages in all kinds of different places to try to get employees’ attention and keep them informed.

Within the last decade, employees have equipped themselves with convenient, versatile devices that are the perfect venue for direct communications. They’re small computers with a large screens that they carry around nearly all the time, and most people often glance at those screens throughout the workday.

The ubiquitous smartphone. And they’re easier to reach than many communicators think.

Yet many organizations haven’t tapped into their potential. According to PoliteMail’s 2016-2017 Internal Communications Survey, only 5 percent of communications professionals think of their own organizations’ mobile solutions as effective. Only 30 percent have intranets that are accessible via mobile devices, and just a little more than half send mobile responsive email messages.

Only about a third (35 percent) think of mobile as the best way to reach employees and deserving of research, even though 84 percent of respondents themselves check their work emails using their mobile devices.

According to research from Informate Mobile Intelligence conducted in 2015—so the numbers are likely even higher now—Americans spent 4.7 hours on their phones each day. That’s about a third of their waking time. It would seem that the mobile audience is a captive audience.

So why aren’t more organizations moving toward using mobile apps or other mobile communication tools? It could be budgetary. In the PoliteMail survey, a whopping 70 percent of communicators said they don’t expect their budgets to increase or barely have any budget for new technology at all.

Also, more than half (54 percent) of respondents said their communications departments are understaffed and can’t get everything done, let alone add a new channel.

Or it could also be a matter of training. A little more than a third of respondents said they simply don’t know how to implement a mobile strategy.

But you don’t necessarily need an app or a mobile-optimized intranet to communicate internally via mobile devices. Every mobile device comes with an email client built right in. All an organization needs is an effective email strategy.

Mobile hurdles, may not seem easy to clear, but Inc. spells out the need for mobile internal communication in this post by Jeremy Goldman, founder and CEO of brand engagement consultancy Firebrand Group.

“Mobile is not only the current medium of the choice, it’s the future,” Goldman writes. “Leaders should be proactive in establishing a mobile-friendly workplace by ensuring all assets are compatible with mobile.”

According to new research by PoliteMail, employees with company email addresses will check email on their smartphones 38 percent of the time.

Instead of yet another app, it would seem the easiest way to reach employees where they are, is just to make sure they all have a company email address.

consolidate internal comms channels

Should You Consolidate Your Internal Comms Channels?

Executives don’t always know what they want or need when it comes to internal communications.

In a PR Week column, Philips ASEAN Pacific’s head of communications, Elaine Ng, calls internal communicaitons “highly underrated” among executives, and made the argument that it’s widely misunderstood. That’s why the first reaction execs often have is to scale back, simplify and consolidate internal communications channels.

That’s not always the wrong decision, but it’s not always the right one, either.

In a sweeping 2015 post on his blog, Holtz Communication + Technology’s Shel Holtz makes the case that internal communications should always be a separate discipline from PR and other external communications. He also pushed back against the idea that internal communications is just about sending mass emails to employees.

“One distribution tactic…does not comprise the employee communications discipline as practiced by the best communicators and organizations,” Holtz writes.

If anything, Holtz seems to be arguing that expanding the number of channels—not consolidating—is the path to healthy, effective internal comms. This blog itself has laid out the benefits of a strategic communications approach targeting different audiences with different communication techniques.

Yet there’s a reality executives and communicators can’t deny: Sometimes, communications methodologies become outdated or simply don’t work to begin with. It’s a waste of time and resources to keep investing in that particular channel.

The problem is that communicators and executives often don’t know if communications channels are working or not, because they don’t have any mechanism by which to measure their effectiveness. They’re simply making decisions in darkness, by gut feeling or as a reaction to a handful of employee comments.

The answer to the question of whether you should consolidate your internal comms channels isn’t a blanket yes or no. It all depends on what’s working and what isn’t. If your analytics show that a channel is waning in effectiveness or never was effective, drop it or fold it into something else. But it’s also valuable to try new approaches and evaluate new channels to see if they catch on.

Either way, measurement is imperative. It’s the only way to know for sure that you’re making the right choices and connecting strongly with employees.

To learn more about how communicators are measuring their communications efforts—if they are at all– download PoliteMail’s 2016-2017 Internal Communications Survey Results.