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Blog: Internal communication needs human touch more than ever

Internal communication 'needs human touch more than ever'

April 23, 2015

Digital. Social. Enterprise. Internal communication seems awash with trendy buzzwords.

Yet one seems to be regularly forgotten but, in my humble opinion, remains the most important: People.

Simple but easily overlooked.

Operating in an online-based position like mine, much of my time is inevitably spent submerged in the digital challenge of helping companies connect with workforces.

IC professionals have never had such an array of tools at their disposal to help engage with employees – regardless of position, location or age. The window of opportunity has never been so open.

So it was interesting to read an interview with CTO of messaging company Slack Cal Henderson, who is adamant that we’re only at the tip of the technological iceberg for apps and other digital innovations.

“We’ll see more and more people starting things, and most of them will fail,” Henderson told Tech Republic. “But, we’re going to see a ton more interesting new stuff that we wouldn’t have seen five years ago.”

Exciting times undoubtedly.

But with so much emphasis being placed on digital communication and social, the old-fashioned “human touch” within internal communication has never been so vital.

Why?

Human interaction generates trust on a level that digital is yet to match.

And once that bond of trust has been established, a workforce will be far more open to new ideas and innovation than those left without that personal connection.

As think-tank Engage 4 Success is so keen to highlight, the personal element is fundamental to building engagement in a workforce.

Face-to-face interaction may be a time-consuming process but it will pay dividends in the longer term.

It remains a tried-and-trusted element of a successful internal comms mix, yet can be often overlooked these days in favour of digital alternatives, particularly email.

I’m not suggesting your IC team begins scheduling individual appointments for a good ol’ natter with every single member of the company.

But ensuring key messaging – regardless of content – are relayed via a personal method is a sensible approach.

Line managers are a fundamental part of the internal communication process and their role is pivotal to building this trust.

It is not rocket science but it is important.

Channels – whether it is print or digital – require colleagues to invest their precious time to engage fully.

Achieve buy-in early and you give a fledgling comms channel a fighting chance of making the grade.

One article I read last week suggested IC teams should ditch stuffy corporate messaging from their in-house magazines and replace them with staff-related content if they wanted to increase engagement.

People, people, people.

As the famous misquote from Field of Dreams states: “Build it and they will come.”

Perhaps. But only they trust you enough in the first instance.