5 predictions for internal communications in 2018

PoliteMail’s 2016-2017 Internal Communications Survey  made it fairly clear that the past few years have carried some uncertainty for communications professionals.

Nearly 40 percent of communications pros said they were only measuring a few communications efforts or weren’t measuring at all. Most (59 percent) were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the measurement their employers used. Lack of time, tools and budget were all major pain points.

What’s in store for 2018? Hopefully, some clarity. Here are five specific areas where change may very well be on the way:

1. Data will drive decisions.

Though not everyone who replied to our survey last year was satisfied with their measurement tools—or used any at all—data will increasingly become the key driver for communications decisions. What channels do employees use? What do they prefer? What types of emails do they open and read? The more concrete your answer to these questions, the better use you can make of your resources. Leaders are becoming more aware of that, especially when budgets aren’t growing. It’s why CEB offers this survey to help leaders use data to make budget choices.

2. Employees will step up.

Communication can’t just come from the top-down anymore. Research shows that people trust their colleagues more than their bosses. So colleagues will have to be the messengers. “Businesses will have ambassadors or advocates who will feedback key messages amongst their team,” UK-based agency Global Group suggests in a blog post. “An advantage of this form of communication—peer-to-peer content—is that it builds trust amongst your team.”

3. Employees will offer their feedback.

In a world where consumers are increasingly having their say, employees will (and already have) come to expect the same sort of attentiveness. At Business2Community, Mark Miller writes, “Fostering a workspace where employee engagement and feedback is encouraged allows employees to learn from each other and only benefit them and the company as a whole.”

4. New channels will emerge…

This year saw a big increase in the use of video for internal communications, as well as the rise of internal mobile apps and enterprise social networks. The year to come is sure to bring new channels and methods of communication to bear, and communicators will once again have to decide if these new channels work for them and their organizations or not.

5. …but they won’t replace what already works.

What’s become apparent over the years and will remain true in 2018 is that new channels and avenues for communication are supplemental to the communications tools that employees and communicators rely on. Nothing will replace targeted emails and newsletters, but those communication methods will work in tandem with whatever comes down the pipeline. Plus, analytics tools and tools for email distribution will continue to improve, providing communicators with the information they need.

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