What will the internal communications landscape look like in 2014? Here are 10 trends to watch.
1. BYOD will continue to scale
The advent of the iPhone in 2007 forever transformed the way people communicate. The device gave new meaning to the term “smartphone” and even changed how we access the Internet – through apps instead of direct mobile browser-based connectivity.
Such mobile device usage is no longer relegated to personal habits. Through the growing Bring Your Device to Work (BYOD) phenomena, employees are using their devices for work-related purposes, either because they are better than what the company provides (in those cases where the company provides such devices) or because they are familiar with the device and have customized it to meet their needs.
A study of employees in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, China and India carried out by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group found a number of benefits associated the trend:
• BYOD employees gain a global average of 37 minutes of productive time per week.
• The time savings averaged 81 minutes per week for employees in the United States.
• The current median level of BYOD implementation generates $350 of value each year per mobile employee.
• The number of BYOD devices in the countries surveyed expected to grow by more than double, from 198 million in 2013 to 405 million by 2016.
2. Strengthened emphasis on improving employee engagement
A survey conducted by Dale Carnegie Training revealed that, among the 1,500 employees who responded, only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are fully disengaged. Nearly half (45%) are only partially engaged. With numbers like these, corporate HR departments and the C-suite will have to concentrate on ways to keep employees better engaged.
According to research from PR Academy (PDF), one way to accomplish this is through good internal communication, which is a topic Bizzuka has covered a number of times in our blog. Two posts worthy of note are:
• 6 Keys to Drive Employee Engagement
• The High Cost of Employee Disengagement
3. Gamification will surface as employee engagement tool
Gamification, the process of using game thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage users, will find its place as an employee engagement tool.
For example, Socialcast, an enterprise social network platform, uses badging as a way to recognize employee achievement. Companies such as Badgeville and Bunchball offer a variety of products aimed at integrating recognition and achievement systems into internal corporate websites.
PCWorld, reporting on a June 2013 study of gamification in the enterprise conducted by Michael Fauscette, research leader for IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group, said there was overwhelming evidence that the use of gamification drives engagement.
Citing an example from Deliotte Learning Academy, which used gamification techniques to boost participation in its professional development programs, Fauscette found that return rates increased to greater than 46% daily and 36% weekly. “Active users unlocked an average of 3 achievements and some of the top users exceeded 30 achievements,” he said.
4. Growth in virtual workforce
The trend in globalization means that, unlike Yahoo!, which earlier this year ordered all its employees to work from the office, companies large and small will rely on virtual teams to accomplish tasks once managed by in-house staff.
For instance, Bizzuka utilizes the skills of software developers in different locations within the US, as well as other countries.
Thanks to Obamacare, many employers are faced with mounting healthcare costs, forcing them to cut employee hours. That, in and of itself, could serve as a catalyst to shift employment practices to include more contractors, freelancers, consultants and part-time workers.
5. Enterprise social network adoption will increase
The use of social software within the workplace – known as “enterprise social networks” (ESN) – continues to rise thanks to platforms such as Yammer, Chatter, Socialcast and Newsgator, which are specifically designed to facilitate internal communication collaboration.
“Given the focus on engagement and some other key internal communications trends, communicators will take a more active role in promoting the adoption of internal social media, which will require a strategic pivot away from the vice-like grip email has on most employees’ communication practices,” said PR consultant Shel Holtz in an article on internet communications trends.
IT research company LNS, said businesses that use ESNs have been able to differentiate themselves from those that do not. “The intuitiveness and prevalence of social media platforms have already improved the way businesses share information and collaborate internally,” stated LNS.
6. Increased use of social media for recruitment
A white paper (PDF) from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed that more than one-half of HR professionals think that retaining and rewarding the best employees, and developing the next generation of corporate leaders will be the greatest challenges in 2014 and beyond.
“Just as the first wave of Baby Boomers is beginning to retire, organizations are experiencing the impact of the first cohorts of the even bigger Millennial generation entering the workforce. Individuals in the U.S.born between 1978 and 2000 add up to approximately 95 million people compared with only 78 million Baby Boomers, making the Millennials the largest generation in U.S. history,” said the white paper.
According to Payscale.com, a 2013 Recruiting Channels Survey from Software Advice revealed that social media recruiting is on the rise, and growing quickly. “Not only did Software Advice find that social media is the number three source for candidates, but it was delivering the highest quality candidates – particularly Twitter,” said Payscale.
This very scenario was scripted in the Bizzuka white paper, The Big Crew Change (PDF), which focused on oil & gas industry recruitment. We concluded that the use of social media will have
to become more prevalent in order to attract younger workers into the industry.
With older workers moving out of the workforce and younger, digitally-savvy employees moving in – the use of social media for recruiting is bound to increase.
7. Greater adoption of cloud-based SaaS services
Though some barriers to its adoption exist, companies will continue to move into the cloud in 2014 and incorporate the use of SaaS services. The chief benefits heralding this shift include lower infrastructure acquisition and maintenance costs.
Salesforce, which has evolved into a complete SaaS platform that serves many types of business communication functions, has led the way, but formerly desktop-based software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite now also offer SaaS solutions.
8. Focus on big data moving behind the corporate firewall
“Big data” has become a marketing buzzword, but the overwhelming amount of data coming into corporate environments signals a trend toward its adoption internally.
Research shows that the amount of data IT departments are forced to keep up with doubles every few days. And, with the line of demarcation between Internet and intranet connectivity being erased, software vendors and companies alike are seeking ways to make data collection, analysis, storage and security easier and more seamless.
9. Applification of business
Visited an app store lately? In 2014, companies will create their own in-house apps, which will be designed to perform traditional business functions.
IT research firm Gartner believes that many organizations will deliver these mobile apps to workers through private application stores. With enterprise app stores, the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support app developers.
10. Use of video to escalate
Based on a 2013 study from Ragan Communications, 72% of internal communications teams will increase their use of video as a means of communicating with employees.
90% rate the use of video as “important” or “somewhat important” to their organization and say its greatest benefit is improved communication with remote employees.
Based on our research, these are the trends we expect will surface in 2014, but that’s not to suggest others won’t, as well.
With that in mind, what internal communications trends do you think are on the horizon?
Originally published in http://www.bizzuka.com/