WEBINAR: INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS AND THE DIGITAL WORKPLACE
Communicate’s online conference discussed communications in the digital workplace and how internal comms teams can use technology to build a richer corporate culture.
Hosted in partnership with video platform Panopto, speakers from Biffa, Virgin Media and GSK shared insight into the evolution of internal communications and the digital workplace over the past year. Tom Leather, enterprise account executive at Panopto, discussed how businesses could practically enable more effective ways of digital working, raise employee engagement and exploit consumer-orientated technologies. Leather referenced a Business Insider study that showed 43% of employees’ expected higher expenditure on communications and collaborations technology. As a facilitator of internal comms, Leather discussed the ways businesses can implement digital communications. First, using synchronous communications, which happen in real time with no delay to replicate traditional face-to-face communication. But, there has recently been a rise in asynchronous communications, which is more flexible and provides pre-recorded information to be consumed when is convenient to the employee.
Looking at the use of video internal communications, Helen Kemp, head of communications at Biffa, discussed the uptake in their employee app Biffa Beat. The app launched in June 2019 and saw a surge in usage after the pandemic. 70% employees now use the app, confirming the rise in employee desire for communications. CEO of Biffa began vlogging content for employees, Kemp says “we refer to it as being virtually visible, for us it was really important that our CEO owned the situation through the pandemic and that even though he was working from home as he should have been, he was still visible virtually.” The vlog, created entirely by the internal coms team, saw a 200% increase in views.
Virgin Media’s internal communications manager, Brian Ranson, spoke on the company uptake in digital comms on a practical level as a necessary form of communication, he says, “With our digital agenda, it created this bit of a perfect storm and actually its forced our people to adapt to these new tools like teams”. Internal comms is now more valuable than ever before, says Ranson. Virgin Media became central to providing effective digital communications for businesses including the NHS. Virgin Media has focused on integrating its internal comms and is working to do a pilot of workplace by Facebook.
As business became exclusively digital for many industries last year, internal comms teams must maintain a relatable and human voice. Jennifer Thomas, independent communications director at GSK, says, “Technology doesn’t have to remove the emotive element of connection and when you’re pulling together content don’t lose sight of that.” Thomas discussed the ways in which companies have moved from a crisis situation at the beginning of Covid-19, to an adapted and creative means of communication. Internal communications teams could use Covid-19 as a real opportunity to redefine what we do as communicators, says Thomas.
An audience Q&A looked further into the specifics of internal communications, from platforms, subtitles and mobile comms. Register to watch the webinar recording here.