Internal communication is always changing. As organizations, teams, and the world of work evolves, the best way to manage internal communication evolves right along with it.
So, the question is—what, exactly, does that evolution look like in 2022?
We asked two internal communication experts—workplace communication strategist Nancy Burger and communications professional Aerik Radley, who directs internal communication for Firley, Moran, Freer & Eassa CPA, P.C., an accounting firm with a hybrid workforce—for their insights into some of the biggest internal communication trends emerging in 2022. Here’s what they had to say:
Incorporating health and wellness into internal communication
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way employees view wellness. For example, according to a survey from Aetna International, a staggering majority of employees reported that both their physical health (89 percent) and mental health (84 percent) are more important to them now than it was prior to the pandemic.
And because health and wellness is such a priority to their teams, employers are also starting to focus on wellness in their strategy and planning—including in internal communications.
“[In 2022], communication strategies are focusing on employee wellness more than ever—including physical, mental, social, and financial,” says Burger.
Also read: Deloitte Predicts 5 Key HR Trends for 2021
The trend of incorporating health and wellness into internal communication can take a variety of forms. For example, a company might use their communication platform to share information with employees on how to support their mental and physical health during times of stress. Others might have leadership talk about their own experiences with burnout to help normalize conversations around the topic in the workplace. And still others might use their communication platform to host webinars around financial health—and how to manage financial stress during increased inflation.
Other companies may also embrace the “right to disconnect” model, which creates clear boundaries around work-related communication, to give their employees the time they need to rest, recover, and recharge when they’re not at work.
“I think we will begin to see an increase in discussion of or adoption of ‘off hours,’” says Radley. In order to help employees avoid burnout, “employers are going to have to begin setting strict guidelines and expectations for internal communication with regard to time.”
Whatever the specific strategy, 2022 is already seeing—and will continue to see—more companies incorporate health and wellness topics into their internal communication strategy. And companies that embrace this trend will position themselves to retain top talent.
“As employees continue to suffer from burnout and stress from the events of the past two years, those employers who turn their attention toward a holistic approach to employee health stand a better chance of retaining talent and building bonds of loyalty and trust,” says Burger.
More tailored communication
Many companies used to have a one-size-fits-all approach to internal communication. But that approach no longer works; as the world of work has changed, companies have had to rethink how they communicate with their teams—and, as such, a more tailored approach to internal communication is becoming more the norm.
“Given that so many jobs have shifted to remote, it is critical that internal communication become more tailored to the individuals receiving it,” says Burger.
In 2022, many companies are seeing “internal communication teams shifting to utilize internal channels much like we marketers use social media channels; finding target audiences and catering the content to them,” says Radley. As a result, companies are embracing tools with features that allow them to better segment their audiences—like Talkspirit’s home portal, which allows users to customize home pages for different audiences (for example, marketing teams vs. sales teams).
Not only does this approach allow employers to tailor their communications more effectively (for example, leaders can tailor pertinent company information and data to better speak to specific teams, like sales or marketing), but it can also put companies in a better position to track employee sentiment across their organizations.
“Organizations should track the attitudes of their varied audiences and employee segments” says Burger—which more tailored internal communication allows them to do. (For example, employers can poll team members and monitor conversations across different channels to track engagement, sentiment, and other key markers.)
More transparency in internal communications
Prior to the pandemic, many companies approached internal communications from a “need to know” perspective. They withheld information from employees and only shared information when it was deemed absolutely necessary.
But that kind of communication doesn’t work for employees—and in 2022, transparency in internal communication is an absolute must. “Given the splintering of teams as a result of the pandemic, employees are demanding more transparency in communication,” says Burger. “Specifically, they want leadership to share thoughts, perspectives, and challenges clearly and frequently, with openness and honesty.”
More transparency offers a ton of benefits to employees. When employees trust their organizations are being honest and open in communication, it creates a sense of psychological safety, which empowers people to feel more secure in their roles.
It can also help employees feel more connected to their teams, colleagues, and organizations—which is particularly important as many employees continue to navigate remote or hybrid work environments.
“For contributors struggling to feel connected while working from home and balancing the demands of family and job responsibilities, transparent communication will serve to bolster team spirit and foster collaboration while building much-needed connective tissue among individual contributors,” says Burger.
But transparency in internal communication also offers major benefits to the organization. Research shows that more transparent communication leads to increased employee creativity, job satisfaction and happiness, and employee engagement—which can help drive employee performance and retention, which directly benefits the company.
Honing in on the right internal communication tools
In an effort to foster more effective communication at the start of the pandemic, companies invested in a host of internal communication tools. But now that the dust has settled, many organizations are starting to hone in on what tools actually support their team—and which are unnecessary. As such, another internal communication trend for 2022? Narrowing down internal comm tech stacks to be leaner and more efficient.
“Businesses are getting more strategic about which channels they use,” says Radley.
Instead of using a variety of tools to manage internal communication (which can lead to redundancies), companies are now honing in on what tools offer the most value—and how to make the most out of those tools.
“With time having passed since the wave of an unordinary adoption speed for this technology, businesses and employees alike are now engaging with channels to discover the full scope of what the tools can offer,” says Radley. “They finally have the time to be strategic, make changes, and even consolidate channels to become more efficient.”
Comprehensive tools offer companies the ability to manage all of their internal communication needs from one place, which increases efficiency. For example, Talkspirit offers on the same platform a host of features that foster better internal communication:
- the homepage, which allows companies to more effectively distribute important information across the company
- groups and publications, which allows for more tailored communication across different groups, departments, and projects
- shared agenda, which makes for easier, faster, and more efficient scheduling
Are you interested in learning more about Talkspirit? Schedule a demo with our team or contact one of our experts to know more about our communication platform:
Author: Deanna deBara