Recently, AVNetwork wrote an article addressing 5 major trends worth watching in the field of corporate communications. In the post, author Greg Lennox covers a number of important factors that define effective corporate communication, from a good user interface for apps and intranet sites to authentic attitudes and engaging content. In his words, Lennox lists the trends as:
- Employees are consumers too.
- Communication goes both all ways.
- Attention must be earned–and rewarded.
- Authenticity trumps ostentation.
- Nothing beats a good story.
Throughout the piece, Lennox speaks to the importance of inter-employee communication, something I’ve written about previously. Using the field of user experience as an example, he explains the concept that “employees are consumers too” by saying:
It can be tempting for companies to invest heavily in the consumer experience, while shortchanging the members of their own workforce. Your employees are accustomed to getting their news, entertainment, and shopping with the swipe of a finger at their convenience. If browsing your intranet or reading your newsletter feels like a 15-year step back in time for them, don’t be surprised when they’re less informed or engaged than you’d like.
Read the entire article.
What I like about this point specifically is that it addresses the fact that even with an effective and engaging message, you need a way to get that message to employees, using a delivery method to which they will pay attention. This generally requires some sort of technology.
Of course, there are a lot of different technologies to choose from, all with different strengths and weaknesses, which is why choosing (and then properly leveraging) the right technology is so important. It’s also important to be sure that the different information delivery methods all play well together, because otherwise, the resulting solution either breaks or doesn’t work well (thus looking unprofessional) or is complicated for HR staff and others to operate (meaning it doesn’t get used).
For example, one way corporations are looking beyond basic emails and intranet sites to communicate with employees is by using digital signage displays in reception areas, hallways, cafeterias and break rooms, and even office areas. Because these signage displays are passively-viewable (meaning you don’t need to do something intentional like open up your email to see them), they can be a great way to reinforce email communications about upcoming events, benefits enrollment, and other information. However, if the signage system is hard to operate and doesn’t integrate well with other company systems, the signage will often go without being updated for extended periods, causing employees to ignore the signs and defeating the purpose of implementing them in the first place.
If, however, the digital signage system is designed to gather data from existing systems, the digital signage can stay up to date automatically. Employers can share constantly-updating information (such as client visits, lunch menus, etc.) without touching signage software by leveraging internal databases. This also allows employers to use digital signage to display important metrics to improve how their business functions, showing information such as energy usage, operational statistics or upcoming orders to the employees that need them.
All of this is made possible by considering all of AV technology as a single system, rather than a group of related and interconnected systems. When you integrate your technology solutions and address AV holistically, you are presented with a range of interesting possibilities, from globally-broadcast town hall events to area-specific warnings and alerts. The possibilities are endless, but the potential for the approach to succeed is directly related to the operator’s ability to create the message once and then share through many outlets. That is, ultimately, what an integrated corporate communication system provides.
Do you have experience with using integrated AV in corporate communications? Let us know what trends you’ve seen in the comments.