Popular culture hasn’t always cast the modern workplace in the best light – think of movies like “Office Space” and “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and the phrase “rat race” to describe the competitive struggle to get ahead in the corporate world.
However, many businesses are seeking to make work environments friendlier places through greater engagement of their employees, and one way to do that is through a digital corporate communications platform.
Communication via website and company newsletters no longer suffices; many employees don’t have time to go on a company’s intranet or read yet another email to learn about company news. Especially in light of growing numbers of millennials in today’s workforce, companies need to change the way they communicate information: Younger employees are fluent in technology and expect to see it used in the workplace to present information in real time.
U.S. companies spend about $720 million on employee engagement each year, according to a Bersin report by Deloitte, and the talent management firm expects that number to grow to $1.5 billion. But there is a less tangible long-term financial benefit that comes with any initial cash investment: Happier, more engaged employees are cheaper, because they are less likely to quit.
Digital media allows a company to use video, motion, animation and sound to create an emotional connection with employees, and give a company the ability to communicate on their employees’ level. Some companies engage their employees by encouraging them to submit personal photos for digital displays around the workplace – for example, holiday photos. Other workplaces share company success stories, such as promotions, new product launches or new accounts that were won, to build a sense of pride in their employees.
Employee retention is an important success factor for any business, and tools like digital communications media create stronger relationships between a company and its employees, and can be just as important as a good benefits or compensation package.
Digital corporate communications allow a company to disseminate information to employees, guests and partners via mediums such as kiosks, screens, tickers or other digital tools. The digital medium is not used to sell something, but instead keeps viewers informed and aware.
The type of content will dictate the specific application. Some companies may have just news, stock or weather tickers; others may have screens touting employee benefits or the status of production lines against quotas; still others may use employees’ smartphones or email to inform them of emergencies. A company that takes an omni-channel approach by incorporating displays, mobile and Web communications provides multiple options for its staff to receive information depending on employee preference.
When a company looks to implement a digital communications platform, first and foremost, there should be a clear plan outlining what the company’s goals are, what type of content it will be showcasing, any messages or themes it wants to incorporate, and what kinds of digital communications it will use.
For example, if a company plans to use digital displays, it needs to determine how many make sense for the environment and the best locations to place them for high visibility and readability. A location analysis may show that placing screens in a narrow hallway will create traffic bottlenecks when employees stop to read them, whereas installing screens in elevators allows many employees to view them when they ride to higher floors.
Figuring out what content will go where also is important. Digital signage in the lobby,
such as LCD/LED video walls or LCD screens might be more targeted to visitors or potential employees to serve as the “first handshake” as they come into the building, whereas signage within corridors, on manufacturing floors or in break rooms would be geared toward current staff.
Next, determine who will be managing and updating the content channels; as with any digital signage platform, there needs to be a central repository for information, as well as someone vetting and/or creating the content. In many companies, this gateway would be the human resources department, but marketing departments often also are involved.
In addition to controlling content, it’s also important to ensure the security of the actual equipment. Units that can be centrally monitored and managed from a remote location can provide this security – a key consideration for companies with many offices. Control features that can be managed remotely allow HR and IT to lock video inputs and buttons on the displays, so no one can alter or turn them off.
Finally, it’s important to remember that determining how much, and how, a company should communicate with its employees is a case-by-case scenario, and sometimes it may take a bit of trial and error to determine what’s too much and what’s not enough based on a particular company culture.
In today’s information-rich world, having a dynamic corporate communications platform is key to keeping employees engaged and informed, helping to create a healthier, happier workplace.
Richard Ventura, Vice President of Business Development and Solutions for NEC Display Solutions