Effective Communication In A Digital World

Sonya Clark

As a company for the future, do you communicate effectively with your workforce?

Is your current communication engaging and targeted to your employees?

Recently, HR executives from across Queensland gathered to discuss these questions. With a full house, we collectively represented more than 160,000 employees globally, and we had the unique opportunity to discuss the challenges along with future strategies on how to effectively communicate in a digital workplace.

To broaden the conversation, we asked our client, Chris Purdy from Mantra Group, to speak about his organization’s digital journey:

“As a company with 5 x generations in the workforce, Mantra currently must communicate with employees aged from 15 to 84, across 70 countries. 50% of the workforce are in the millennial bracket.

“It’s a challenge, as the millennials will tell you they need to access their work info at home, anywhere and anytime…. they want to access their learning at home, they expect to be able to do what they can currently can as a consumer in their personal lives at work.

“But what about the other 40% of our workforce?

“With remote locations, consistent messaging is critical. So we went digital. We introduced platforms to manage our communication and execute on a strategy. This can actually also be a challenge, as digital can overcome some of your communication obstacles; however, keep in mind that if it’s not at their fingertips—one or two clicks away—then you will still have employees drop off.

This leads to another challenge: How do we engage an 84-year-old porter and ensure we are communicating effectively?” 

Chris and his HR team believe that it all comes back to a culture of communication.

“It’s about having a communication strategy which at its core relies on ongoing conversations. Empower your managers and support them with the right tools and systems to ensure they can not only communicate effectively, but constantly evolve and get better by improving how we talk to our employees.”

Consumer behaviour will flow, and is already flowing, to the corporate world. It’s a hyperconnected world we now live in, and that in itself brings about another challenge: How do we keep people present with the many devices at our fingertips?

Here are some solutions and outcomes that came from our roundtable discussions:

Technology is an enabler, but there needs to be a balance.

  • Ultimately, you need a communication strategy.
  • It must be driven from the top down – the CEO needs to own it!
  • Ongoing conversations must happen and be tracked so managers can improve, modify, and improve how effective they are.
  • HR should use “clickbaits” to hold employees’ attention and ensure that critical articles and information is read and not deleted.
  • Brands within your company can be color-coded so operations, sales, or other business units can identify what they need to read and understand.
  • HR teams are using augmented reality to show what a day in the life of their company is really like, and this results in increased retention and lower turnover.

If we don’t constantly engage and modify how we talk to employees, they will drop off… it’s a work in progress.

For more workplace communication strategies, see Is Employee Autonomy The Key To Successful Workplace Collaboration?

Sonya Clark

About Sonya Clark

Sonya Clark is a HR Specialist with SAP SuccessFactors. For close to 15 years, she has partnered with HR and Business leaders to align their people strategies to their business strategies, delivering people initiatives that increase employee engagement and productivity. Using a combination of both best practise, and leading edge technologies offering her clients a design approach to intelligent HR management to ensure a return on investment. Based in Brisbane, she is regularly hosting HR thought leadership events, whilst partnering with HR experts to deliver strategic solution advice.