Internal Communications: How good tech can improve company culture
How many times have we heard people emphasising the importance of building and maintaining a good company culture? We intuitively know that it impacts employee engagement and retention rates, but establishing the right culture isn't easy.
So just how can technology help to create and sustain a culture which works for everyone within the business? Here are three of the many ways in which it is has become indispensable.
1. Creating and maintaining a shared, unified vision
Markets are fast-paced and competitive. This means that organisations must respond promptly to any changes required in strategic direction. Communication is essential if teams in different locations and disciplines are to understand the firm's focus. This becomes critical when prompt adjustments (either major or subtle) are required.
Keeping a strong grasp on the core values of the firm during the natural ups and downs that inevitably occur along the journey is crucial. However, this isn't a one-way process. Whilst strategic direction may come from senior management, the business must constantly evolve its culture to meet the ever-changing needs of employees and other stakeholders.
This requires two-way communication, with technology playing a crucial role. You simply cannot build an effective culture by communicating values alone. The introduction of new processes and structures requires that teams are equipped with tools which will empower them to achieve their potential and to drive solid, tangible results for the business.
2. Facilitating information sharing and collaboration
As technology has improved over the decades, we have all become accustomed to fingertip access to a wealth of knowledge. The ability to obtain important information quickly and efficiently is hugely important in the workplace, but many businesses have a history of reserving it for the eyes of a select few; a problem which persists today.
New technologies and apps mean that crucial information can be easily shared among teams and across departments with ease. Collaborative apps such as Slack, Evernote, Trello and Workplace by Facebook help teams to work efficiently on projects and to break down hierarchical barriers, with senior managers conversing with and providing direct feedback to junior colleagues.
HR departments have clearly benefited from a range of technologies and robust intranet systems. This means that teams spend less time providing managers with consistent updates on headcounts or job openings because those managers can access that data themselves. HR can spend more time recruiting, nurturing and mobilising talent.
This evolution of tech has seen the increasing popularity of the ‘Social Intranet’, a digital product that puts employees at the centre of the solution to enable effective communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing across organisations within a single platform.
As with client-facing online technology, the internal user journey and experiential factors of a social intranet must be correctly designed from the outset, with numerous different paths possible. If everyone is to buy into and fully exploit the technologies at their disposal, interfaces, access levels and system integration must deliver a consistent and relevant experience at all levels of the organisation.
3. Highlighting opportunity and realising staff potential
Ultimately, all of us need to feel valued and that we are being provided with the opportunity and the tools we need to realise our potential. Technology can be an effective way to open and maintain the dialogue at all levels, demonstrating that our wellbeing and career goals actually matter to the senior team.
Collaborative technology means that making an appointment to discuss an issue, viewing potential future career paths throughout the organisation, and firing a quick question over to a colleague is now only a tap away.
A truly effective workplace culture will deliver a clear understanding as to what teams and the individuals within those teams hope to achieve in the next 1, 3, and 5 years. Adopting an employee-focused, transparent, and consistent check-in style approach is far better than continuing to rely on annual reviews when things can change so quickly.
The right culture builds a resilient and united workforce, with the skills required to overcome challenges and achieve tangible results. Technology is no longer merely an enabler in achieving this; it's a prerequisite.