What is digital and how does it support internal communications?
There’s no mistaking it. Pretty much everyone wants to go digital, but what does the word digital actually mean?
For many, it’s simply about technology. For others, it’s a new and exciting way of engaging with customers. However, in our world of internal communications, it’s seen as another way of reaching out to those within the organisation, a way of creating efficiencies in our messaging, empowering people and simplifying processes.
We had a brilliant lunch and learn session at the beginning of September with Tony Stewart, a former colleague at VMAGROUP, who’s now the head of digital at Scarlett Abbott. Scarlett Abbott is a digital agency which supports its clients with digital solutions for internal communications and employee engagement.
Tony spoke passionately about the role that digital plays for internal communicators. How, if done with clear objectives, internal communications can power conversations that connect, engage and motivate people to deliver great business results.
So what are the key questions we should be asking ourselves to ensure we’re creating value when looking at digital solutions for internal communication?
- VISION - Ask yourself and the team what the vision is. What are you looking to achieve? What are the key objectives, what’s important, what does success look like and why are we doing this now? The direction needs to be made clear to everyone to be able to move forward successfully.
- CAPABILITY - How capable is your business when it comes to coping with digital advances? Capability is often overlooked and this can severly hinder the progess of a project if not considered at depth during the planning phase.
- GOVERNANCE – What are the rules of engagement? What’s appropriate and what’s considered not to be? Are legal and compliance connected to your project? If not, perhaps they should be.
- CHANNELS – Understanding your audience. What’s going to work best for your people? It sounds blindingly obvious but many systems/processes/ideas aren’t considered with audience in mind and it simply doesn’t work. Take time to understand what your people require to be able to engage effortlessly with the business and it’s messaging. Run focus groups and online forums and use that data to your advantage.
With these four pillars now under control it’s time to look at what digital can bring to your workplace, and how it can act as an enabler when it’s either business as usual, or if you’re looking to challenge the status quo.
For me, digital presents us with the opportunity, through data, to make better and faster decisions. It allows you to delegate decision making to the smaller teams within your organisation, which in turn develops much more rapid ways of doing things. Adopting this way of thinking shouldn’t, in my opinion, just be limited to a handful of functions as it’s a sure fire way of streamlining how companies operate whilst strengthening capability.
Having a digital mindset can empower cross-functional collaboration. It can flatten hierarchies breaking down the barriers to key decision makers, and more often than not, it builds an environment which encourages new ideas and innovation.
Companies will inevitably develop their own defintion of digital and the role it plays within internal communication. Having a clear understanding of what digital means enables business leaders and those who sponsor the internal communications function to develop a shared vision of how it can be used to create value.
So whether you need to engage colleagues in business strategy, evolve your culture, communicate change, audit your internal communications infrastructure or refresh your people and HR proposition, for me, explore all your digital options.
If you are interested in developing your career in digital internal communications and employee engagement, or are looking to find best the best talent in this area, please contact Sara Tehrani for permanent opportunities, or Andy Macleod for interim opportunities today.