About time

As the clocks go back, magically giving us an extra hour, and excited ‘Whovians’ celebrate the latest incarnation of Dr Who, we wonder: are internal communication professionals time lords or behind the times?

Have you heard the old jest ‘you are now entering the corporate workplace, please set your watch back 20 years’? But is it still true or have IC teams moved with the times?

 

Ideas that seemed like science fiction a few decades ago are now here. Who thought in the 1960s that we’d really have small devices in our pockets that could connect us to each other, and the world, all the time?

Digital technologies such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat have revolutionised the way we keep in touch and at work it’s no different. Office 365 and enterprise social networks like Facebook’s Workplace, and Slack give internal communicators plenty of ways to encourage company-wide communication.

The perception is that IC has traditionally been slow off the mark to embrace shiny new technology and the digital workplace; it can feel that we get to grips with one new technology then another pops up to supersede it. But times really are a-changing and many of us are getting excited about the possibilities of the latest technologies. OK, we may not really understand how they work (let’s leave that to the IT crowd) but that could have been said of early computers too and they became indispensable.


What we do know is that they are new tools, giving us new ways of doing our job more effectively. Using digital tools and mobile technology to give employees the latest information is good for us and for them because sharing knowledge is vital for building a cohesive, healthy organisation.

The scope, flexibility and downright speed of new communication technologies mean we can reach our audience in ways we never dreamed of when the printed newsletter was the standard (not that we’re knocking the good old printed mag – it still has its place and its fans).

A recent Gartner (formerly CEB) summit suggested that companies will increasingly use mobile workplace tools that give employees instant access to company news, communication channels, work systems and media sharing.

IC professionals are already recommending that these mobile tools – coupled with Bring Your Own Device programmes – should be used to make internal comms messages more relevant and timely.

Sequel’s app:IC is a good example. The app is a multi-user, multi-events, multi-purpose app that delivers content, videos, polls, employee generated content, a live feed and news articles straight from your intranet or other news platforms to the app. In effect, app:IC takes your internal communication stories further and makes them work harder. And it’s flexible on design too – you can customise it to reflect your brand’s look and feel. Once it’s set up, any stories you post to your news platform will move automatically – with no extra effort – to your app, or you can select what news to share. With a built in content management system (CMS) it syncs events to your Outlook calendar to complement your existing platforms.

Digital workplace apps such as app:IC can reach employees wherever they are, in their own time. Of course there are pitfalls to avoid, such as expecting people to be plugged into company news 24/7, and making sure that apps work on many devices.

The latest products have been developed to be simple to use and effective. They build on generations of (not always successful) tools, learning from mistakes.  And as we’re thinking about time as we wind our clocks back, the latest digital tools save plenty of it – for IC professionals and for their audiences.

Corporate news all the time, wherever and whenever you want it has to be an IC dream. Now if only we had Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver too we’d be invincible.

If you’d like to find out how we could help shape your digital employee experience, or if you have any questions about app:IC – please contact Nick.Andrews@sequelgroup.co.uk or explore our digital case studies.