At Tribe, we work closely with between 20 to 30 companies each year, which provides a useful perspective of internal communications trends. In fact, we see the same challenges over and over, across industries and cultures. Although the solutions are often similar, some companies have an easier time implementing them than others.
Our wish list of 2020 trends:
The list below includes the internal communications trends we’d very much like to see in 2020. They can help build engagement, acceptance of change and alignment with the company vision. But they can be difficult to pull off. If they were easy, everyone would be doing them.
1. Putting non-desk workers first, in channel considerations.
Those employees who aren’t sitting in front of a computer all day are harder to reach. But those people behind the register or the pushing the airline beverage cart or delivering the packages are the ones who create the customer experience. They deliver on the brand promise —or not. All those corporate employees are there to support that interaction. Yet still, many companies prioritize communications that reach only corporate and the few managers in the field who have company email addresses.
2. Weaving the purpose and values throughout the employee experience
It’s one thing to establish your values and purpose (or mission or vision or any other guiding language). But they only become useful and real to employees when you demonstrate how they inform what the company does day to day. We’d love to see an internal communications trend that includes purpose and values throughout the work experience — from hiring considerations to performance management, from guiding business decisions to influencing policy, and from recognition programs to employee publications. Some companies do a great job of this, and it pays off.
3. Making heroes of the people doing the work
Employees like hearing from leadership, but sometimes it’s nice to give the limelight to the people a few levels down. If a manufacturing plant has completed a continuous improvement initiative, let’s hear the engineers and the operations folks tell the story rather than the EVP of that division. When the company has landed a large new client, let’s hear from the sales team who built the relationships and developed the plan for addressing the client’s business issues, instead of the C-level officer in charge of marketing and sales. Investing in photography and video of employees is part of making them heroes as well. (For a great example of the New York Times making heroes of the employees in its printing facility, see this post.) Treating employees as celebrities goes far beyond recognition for those individuals. It amplifies the message that each individual is responsible for the company’s success.
4. Let employees create content.
This is one of those rare instances where easier equals better, which may be why it’s an internal communications trend that’s been getting some traction lately. Most communications teams are overstretched as it is. When you create opportunities for employees to contribute content, you can keep a fresh and robust stream of relevant content flowing — without a huge staff of communicators. It’s also a way to provide a sight line into areas of the business that the communications team may not otherwise be able to cover. Plus, you get authentic content that employees may pay more attention to.
Interested in establishing some new internal communications trends for your brand in 2020? Tribe can help.