By: Keith Kitani
As the modern workplace has grown and shifted over the last half-century, communication has continued to act as the foundation of business function and productivity. Every department, team, and individual needs tools and resources that enable communication and collaboration with others – in other words, communication is the key to getting work done. And, to keep up with the growing need for connection and connectivity, employee communications have evolved steadily alongside new priorities as well as modern advancements in technology.
What was once a series of memos and paper trails is now a complex, multi-faceted system of collaboration tools, intranet posts, and other cloud-based programs that enable as much connection and access to information as possible. The world of employee communications was effectively brought online and became digitized, and from there it’s only continued to shift and transform – and, as this move to digital communication has become the norm, GuideSpark’s product offering has grown and evolved to meet those needs as well. Our product began as a straightforward content and education-focused solution, serving the market need for modern, employee-friendly resources for core HR topics like health benefits and financial wellness. After a decade, the need for informational content is still there, but the bigger challenge facing companies is not content, but communications that effectively reach and engage employees. A huge driver of this shift in mindset is that companies are rethinking communications for key programs like onboarding, benefits communication, and performance management to be successful in this new environment – and they need the tools to do that.
This has driven the need for new digital systems to help enterprises manage, measure, and scale their internal communications. Features that were previously found in marketing automation systems – like campaign management, content experiences, and data analytics – are now increasingly being used to improve internal communications. GuideSpark’s solution, in response, has seen many changes over that time, and is now a well-rounded communications solution with features like campaign timelines, interactive experiences, an enterprise planning calendar, engagement analytics, and – as always – engaging, eye-catching content.
Here’s a brief look back at how far enterprise communications have come, where we are now, and how GuideSpark is anticipating the needs of the future market.
Phases of the Communications Evolution
Phase 1: Content
The first phase of modern employee communications had content at the center – postcards, documents, emails, and informational videos. These were designed with an aim to disperse a wide range of general education to the entire employee audience at one time, leaving the employee to read an entire benefits guide to find the answers they needed, scroll through a kitchen-sink email from HR, or watch a long orientation session full of information that may not have been entirely relevant to them. This content was certainly a crucial step in understanding how to educate our employees – and how to incorporate a company’s brand even for internal messaging. But, this approach was almost entirely focused on the delivery of those communications, rather than the ultimate outcomes or impact on program success.
Phase 2: Campaigns
As marketers have learned, it’s difficult to get through to your audience with a single “one-size-fits-all” message, so the industry started creating campaigns with targeted messages, delivered over time to reach and engage prospects. The same is true in employee communications – segmenting your audience and targeting certain groups with specific information is key to high engagement and relevance. The more your message rings personally true to your audience, the higher the chance they’ll open the message, or fully absorb the information you’ve conveyed. However, as digital communications have become increasingly the norm, the number of work-related communications that employees receive has reached staggering heights, and it’s only getting noisier and noisier. The employee communications strategies that target and personalize key information are much more successful than kitchen-sink style messaging, and this campaign strategy enables companies to reach the right person with the right information at the right time.
Phase 3: Communication Experiences
Finally, we’ve reached a moment in time where organizations now need to think more holistically about how to engage employees when more than one campaign launches – is the entire communication approach resonating with employees? Are they consistently reading, watching, and engaging with the communication experience? This presents a growing demand for messaging that doesn’t just center around the subject matter, but is also as employee-centric as possible. Orchestrating multiple communication streams and campaigns at the same time, with a certain level of consistency and flexible execution, is the next stage for program owners and business leaders to be able to coordinate communications across departments, across vendors, and across campaigns to deliver optimal, cohesive experiences that genuinely reach employees to drive engagement and action.
Many GuideSpark customers have recently expressed concern over multiple messages launching on the same day, or several campaigns fighting for inbox space in the same week – for example, if a Performance Management campaign operates independently from a Benefits campaign, there’s a risk that they overlap in timeline, and potentially overwhelm employees with information. This could lead to anything from a lack of engagement to a decrease in program participation. Our Communicate Planner tool helps you visualize your employee communications experience with a multi-functional calendar with analytics scheduling features. This functionality gives a complete, bird’s-eye view of upcoming scheduled employee communications, and allows any program owner to plan for the best engagement possible – and provides the resources and support you need to create cohesive and consistent enterprise messaging.
GuideSpark Communicate Cloud® also provides data and analytics to show a clear snapshot of what employee groups engage with most – you can track number of views, clicks, email opens, and more – so you know exactly what’s working and what’s not. Use this tracked engagement data to take your communications experience a step – or several steps – further; they can act as the foundation for minor tweaks and changes. Was your campaign targeting the right groups? Did you use the ideal delivery channels? Making changes to your approach, and watching the effects of your changes on the engagement data, begins a process of continuous iteration and improvement, building (and bettering) your complete communication experience with every launch.
As the need for more data, automation, and technology features has grown in recent years, GuideSpark’s product has worked to keep up and deliver an experience that will grow with – and cut through – the increasing amount of digital communication across the enterprise. These latest features are part of a larger goal to help companies orchestrate their communication experiences across multiple streams, campaigns, and programs. Ultimately, this functionality serves to not only make it simpler than ever before to reach and engage employees, but also drive them to action.
To learn more about GuideSpark’s newest features, read our recent press release.