The digital experience becomes even more important when employees are working remotely. When we don’t have the benefit of in-person interactions to build culture, demonstrate values and engage employees across silos, we depend largely on digital communications, from the intranet and digital publications to Teams and Zoom meetings.
If your organization includes a lot of younger generation talent, that raises the stakes on your digital experience even higher. When employees are accustomed to handling so much of their life online, from shopping to social interactions, they can be frustrated by limited technology at work. It might take them 30 seconds to order a lunch delivery on their phone and less than that to pay their rent online. If trying to find the information they need to do their job involves wading through layers of a clunky and outdated intranet, that’s not a great statement on the company’s ability to deliver a positive employee experience.
COVID WAS A CATALYST FOR IMPROVEMENT
The instant experiment of remote work in March 2020 meant companies were forced to respond quickly to the new reality of employees working from home. That sense of urgency helped us make a lot of progress quickly on improving the digital experience. By necessity, we shifted to video for meetings and platforms like Teams and Slack for collaboration and keeping each other in the loop. In the years since the onset of the pandemic, companies have had time to address more time consuming updates, like improving the intranet or developing digital publications.
NEW AND IMPROVED INTRANETS
Ideally, the intranet would be the hub of the employee digital experience. Over the past few years, many companies have made that a priority. In some benchmarking Tribe is currently fielding with communications professionals in large companies, the early results indicate that 64% have either improved their existing intranet or replaced it with a new one. Getting employees to check out a new or improved intranet is just the first step, however. We also have to keep fresh content flowing so that every time employees go there, they discover new, rewarding stories and information. (For thoughts on improving your intranet, you might like this Harvard Business Review article.)
Digital publications are one of Tribe’s favorite channels for communicating business strategies, making heroes of employees and offering concrete examples of what it means to apply the corporate values to specific roles. We develop monthly publications for several clients in very different industries, from technology to beauty to manufacturing, and each of these publications reflects the distinct culture of their organization. We include a range of articles featuring frontline employees, managers and top leadership. As much as possible, we use original photography to show the real faces and diverse backgrounds of the employee population. In our current benchmarking survey, early results indicate that 59% have added or made improvements to digital newsletters or magazines. (For 5 ways to make digital newsletters easy, see this Best Practices one-pager.)
Sometimes improving the digital experience means reducing the number of communications rather than adding to the deluge. Most employees will tell you they get too many emails, and younger employees tend to have less affection for that channel than their older colleagues. Limit those all-company emails that arrive intermittently in employee inboxes (and are often ignored) by creating a weekly digest of the news that would have been emailed. Create a visual template that organizes the information by department or brand, and include a one-sentence synopsis of each article on the front page. If employees are interested in that topic, they can click for the full article. Otherwise, they can quickly scan the headlines and blurbs and take away the key points with a minimal investment of time.
Interested in improving your employee digital experience? Tribe can help.