September 26, 2017

It’s almost cliché to say companies face unprecedented challenges brought on by technology disruption, globalization, changing regulations, competition from unexpected industries, and so on. The speed of change is growing exponentially. In this environment, only swift and agile businesses will survive.

To adapt, companies are making strategic investments for the future. Many are betting big on automation to increase efficiency. Some are collecting and analyzing mountains of data to better understand their customers. And others are radically transforming customer experiences, making it easier to do business with them in the digital world. All of these are important steps in modernization, but too often we neglect one of the most important drivers of change: the people inside our companies.

Let’s face it, communication inside most organizations isn’t structured to support the culture of speed and change required today. Legacy collaboration systems and processes are built around aging infrastructures and designed primarily for top-down information delivery—not better, faster dialogue and communication.

Both employees and leaders are looking for something better.

By 2020, millennials will make up the majority of the workforce, but many remain frustrated in the office or on the factory floor, stuck with communication and collaboration processes and platforms created for a previous generation of workers. Workers want the same kind of frictionless communication at work that they enjoy in their personal lives to understand the vision of leaders, make decisions faster and connect with other colleagues who can help them succeed.

Leaders know their companies can do better, too, and a growing number recognize that investments in progressive employee engagement and work-ready technology can drive innovation, increase efficiency and build culture.

Welcome to the new world of work.

Today, some of the same forces spurring companies to transform their business models are also taking the chains off of employee communications. In the past, giving employees the information and communications tools they need to succeed was either woefully complicated or cost-prohibitive. Not anymore.

With cloud-based technology, the prevalence of Wi-Fi and wireless devices, and social media, employees can operate with agility, hear and respond to the same messages and collaborate globally like never before.

Workplace by Facebook, for example, offers businesses a private and secure environment to share, built upon the familiar Facebook experience used by 2 billion people outside of work. Workplace and platforms like it are intuitive to use and require a lot less infrastructure to manage inside because the network is managed largely by the employees who use it.

Advances in workplace technology aren’t changing employee communications strategies—they’re enabling them.

  • Want to broadcast a global town hall to every employee’s mobile device? Do it. Workers and leaders can interact from wherever they are.
  • Want everyone’s opinion on a new product idea? No problem. Send a request, share pictures and schematics, and ask for the same in return.
  • Trying to reach the operations team about a new safety policy? Send a two-minute video directly to the plant leaders.
  • Need to have a discussion about something that must be done today? Great—video chat with colleagues wherever they are and walk them through requirements.

There is enormous potential for companies willing to adapt. That’s why, at Golin, we’ve launched Relevance@Work. By combining progressive employee communications and digital marketing know-how and work-ready technology, we’re taking a holistic approach to driving employees of forward-looking businesses into the future.

And starting within just makes sense. For a fraction of the investment that companies spend on external changes, they can transform their teams and how they do business in ways that will deliver immediate and substantive value today and for the long-term.

As strategists and communicators we have spent decades promising we could do more, if only we had the ability to connect, hear from employees and deliver content that was interactive, engaging and actionable. Now we can—and we’re excited to help clients adapt for the new world of work.