Top 5 internal communications trends for the blue-collar workforce in 2018

Guess what? We’re going to like 2018, very much!

For this piece, we looked at the predictions made by the most-vocal practitioners/authorities in the field of internal communications (see below), and distilled it to make it applicable to the world of deskless workers. Here’s what came out of it:

  1. Mobile
    Predicted by: 6/8 practitioners
    As IC tools are capable of doing more than just communication (Ex: task management, scheduling, training and attendance), we see mobile becoming indispensable for the management of non-desk workers. Mobile was the standout trend for 2018, as reported by most of the practitioners we referred to earlier. The long and short of it is: You should be where your mobile workforce is. Else, you are not going to be visible. To your current, or future employees.
  2. Focus on deskless workers
    Predicted by: 3/8 practitioners
    Thanks to mobile phones, organisations are realizing that there are different ways to give a voice to the workers who’re mostly offline, without a desk and are remote. Jane Revell, a senior IC manager, at end-to-end real estate firm Kier Group, told that they are seeing more effective communication happen with these workers, and are beginning to understand how people want to receive information and how they want to share views, and ideas. Clients of Noticeboard have found a win-win formula with their workforce, by setting up structures that makes workers more inclusive. As a result, workers are more productive, better trained and motivated, while employers are able to manage them with ease and get a better insight of ground realities.
  3. Video
    Predicted by: 4/8 practitioners
    No matter how big/small your firm is, know that your employees can tell quality videos from dummy ones, thanks to Facebook and Instagram. With video consumption becoming second-nature, employees have largely begun to expect simple video explainers, for training or for general communications. If not done well, it could set a bad precedent. Organisations would do well to set aside resources and infrastructure for the same.
  4. Unified communications
    Predicted by: 3/8 practitioners
    Today’s internal communication is spread across dozen channels: social intranet, digital signages, papers/posters, whiteboards, snail-mail, email, chat, newsletters, podcasts and what have you. Additionally, for deskless workers, you need to be feeding just the right amount of information in the right doses. Too many channels contribute to clutter and spam, thereby reducing the quality and perception of your intended piece of content. Unifying all communications onto one single platform is what three of the eight practitioners recommend.
  5. Peer-to-peer conversations
    Predicted by: 2/8 practitioners
    So far, IC has been mostly for relaying information from the top down, be it for broadcasting process updates, company news, mission and values. With a mobile in everyone’s hands, the management has an opportunity to seed conversation amongst the dispersed workforce, help them collaborate, and watch out for ground-level insights. Conversations are set to become bidirectional, and peer-driven as opposed to the top-down structure that it has always been. This will have long-term impacts on how employee engagement has so far been thought of and delivered. As David Manning of BBC Radio told AllThingsIC: 2018 will see professionals ..“Moving from employee engagement to employee conversations”.

Our take

Internal comms has always been the boring child, when compared to its glitzy sibling: PR communications. But this year, with the emergence of new age IC tools, this perception is going to change.

Why’s that you ask? Nowadays, IC tools are have become the equivalent of a swiss army knife. These tools enable not just communication, but also everyday work. They are now becoming the nerve center that regulates the daily operations. In such a case, neither managers nor employees can afford to put it down the priority ladder. So, IC practitioners everywhere, be prepared to have hectic, but fulfilling 2018.

With the emergence of such tools in the market and continued efforts of the practitioners mentioned below, internal communications is going to have a very interesting 2018.

Thanks to everyone who we sourced data from:

AllThingsIC
Poppulo
Snapcomms
Discover Global
Staff Connect
Beekeeper
Textmarks
Deskalerts

PS: If you want to brainstorm on how you can stay with the times with regards to internal communication for your deskless workforce, write to me (krithika@noticeboard.tech). The two of us can put on our thinking hats and devise something truly rewarding for you as well as your staff.