Employee communications: 2023 trend watching

In this new blog series, Sefiani explores the key communications trends you need to be across for the coming year. Use these insights to inform and shape your communications strategy and create impact and influence with your audiences in 2023. In the first article of the series, Therese Raft, Employee Communications Lead at Sefiani, gives her take on what employers should do to tap into their communication experts to help boost engagement in this post-pandemic world.

The push to entice people back into the office will go into overdrive – and communications leaders need to take the wheel.

“Flexible working is here to stay, however there are undeniable benefits for culture, connection and collaboration when your people come together. That energy you get from bouncing ideas around a real-life table just can’t be replicated over Zoom,” Therese said. 

“So, employers will need to lift their game and offer not just a space to work in, but an experience worth commuting for. Depending on how far down the road your organisation is in finding its new flexible working groove, this could be a huge change management piece. At the very least, communications teams will need to be at the forefront with the leadership team to ensure every person in your organisation is enthused to come into the office.”

“To add to the fun, there is no ‘one’ experience that will resonate with all of your people. Catering for younger team members keen to connect and learn, working parents and carers that have to manage school drop offs and pick-ups and can’t hang around for after-work events, remote workers, part-time workers, team members on factory floors, in their cars and behind a desk. What does the experience look like for them, and how can employee communications help to bring these different parts of your organisation together?”

Collaborate with business units across your organisation

“Organisations are often already doing fantastic things to help support their people – but they don’t share it. It’s a little bit like ‘if a tree falls in the woods, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?’. If you attempt to create an experience and don’t engage people to participate and share, is it a good experience?”

“To leverage existing employee communications effectively, communications teams will need to become even more embedded within the organisation – with your HR and People and Culture teams, Committees, Steering Groups, IT (they usually have amazing untapped channels) and Marketing and Business Development teams tasked with upskilling the organisation.”

“Working together means your communications work harder. This year we will see more integrated communications strategies, and economies of scale as companies collectively test, measure and continually innovate to better connect with their people.”

Personalise, share, celebrate

“People will come to the office if there is a good reason to do so. You may not get all of your people to come in for every occasion (that would not be an achievable metric). But look at your organisation through the lens of your people as individuals, and directly address what they need and what they need to hear. 

“If you’re not sure what this is – ask your people. Host workshops with different parts of the business, conduct surveys, rapid fire polling, online forums and internal social networks. And pull out your old data. What were the most attended events and most read pieces of content? What does this tell you about your culture and what matters to your people? This is how you foster a community that your people want to be part of and contribute to regardless of whether they are in the office or working from home.”

Tap into your communications team

“There is a huge opportunity to align communications with people outcomes. The trick is to ensure companies don’t just measure occupancy or turnover rates, but also measure sentiment and cultural alignment, and dig deep into why people come in on a Wednesday but not a Thursday. There are patterns in the behavior that can be nurtured, altered or flipped on its head when you understand why and target your communications appropriately. Set a benchmark and a target and don’t be afraid to test new communications ideas. 

“The value of good, clever and consistent communications on culture cannot be understated. Increasingly communications teams will become arbiters of connection, ensuring that people don’t just know what a company stands for, but feel it as well.”

Top tips for enhancing your employee communications:

  • Recognise that there is no ‘one’ way to entice people back into the office – identify and understand what motivates different groups within your organisation and speak to those people directly.
  • Resist the temptation to reinvent the wheel – leverage the great work and channels that already exist in your organisation. 
  • Make your communications work harder by collaborating across the business – you’ll achieve better economies of scale and get better insights by working together.
  • Listen to your people and use data to better understand what resonates with your people.
  • Set your benchmark and target for change, and don’t be afraid to test new communications ideas.

Ready to learn how Sefiani can boost employee engagement for your business? Reach out today to arrange a discussion with our team of employee communications experts.

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