Employee comms and engagement finally land on the tech map

by | Jan 11, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

When we first launched theEMPLOYEEapp back in 2014, the employee communications technology market was focused on a new breed of solution. Slack was the Silicon Valley darling of the moment and so too were collaboration and peer-to-peer, chat and messaging technologies with many of the behemoths vying for a piece of the action.

Intentional or not, the focus of these solutions was on desk-bound or knowledge workers—those sitting in office settings with access to commonplace technologies like corporate email and intranets; not the deskless (i.e. the 2.4 billion workers worldwide who don’t use computers as part of their day-to-day work). Research covering the technology industry landscape followed this lead.

In developing theEMPLOYEEapp, we noticed a glaring void

While all organizations have some sort of communications function, there was lack of attention and prioritization of resources when it came to internal/employee communications and engagement. This was magnified with the deskless demographic. Since 2014, we’ve been beating the drum on the need for this to change. While messaging and collaboration platforms are an important part of the digital workplace, they aren’t the answer for companies whose workforces serve the front line, drive trucks or work in factories, warehouses and manufacturing lines. However, this is starting to change.

As validation to our claim, Gartner recently released a report that takes a deep dive into the role that employee communications and engagement plays in the success of an organization’s digital workplace efforts. Rather than focusing on a particular type of communication technology (like chat, messaging or collaboration), this report, titled “Eight Steps for Modernizing Employee Communications in the Digital Workplace,” focuses on the importance of communications as a business discipline that is important to a company’s overall business.

A few key points the report drives home:

  • “Ignoring or not investing in internal communication programs can have a subtle but long-lasting negative impact on the transformation efforts needed for digital business and digital workplace efforts.”
  • Gartner findings “reflect a consensus that some workforce segments, such as deskless workers, feel marginalized, in part because of a lack of communication.”
  • “Opportunities for feedback and confusing technology options are causing incompatible or conflicting options, which can derail efforts to modernize the employee experience around internal communications.”

Finally, the communications industry is on the tech map!

Now is not the time to be complacent and as we enter 2019, the hard work begins. Goals should be set with regard to which communications challenges should be prioritized and technology solutions selected to address specific problems (i.e. the difficulty in communicating, getting information into the hands of and engaging with deskless workers). Given the Gartner report, now is the time and opportunity to make sure that C-suite executives understand the value of the work that communications offers their organizations, and to make the case to obtain the resources necessary to further this.

Innovative companies will be those that implement the right solutions and recognize that employee communications and engagement professionals directly correlate to employee retention, productivity and ultimately increased profitability.  Communications professionals are empowered to make this happen.

To learn more, download the Gartner report here.

Jeff Corbin
As a corporate communications consultant for the past 20 years, Jeff Corbin is the founder of APPrise Mobile, a business-to-business/enterprise native app platform that includes theEMPLOYEEapp®, for internal communications; theIRapp®, for public companies; theCOMMSapp™, for external communications; and theCONFERENCEapp™, for investor, analyst and other conference and event communications.