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Posted on Fri 5th Feb, 2016 in: Advice, Internal Communications by Rebecca Armstrong

Yesterday we posted Part 1 of our research findings into how employers are communicating internally, and what employees really want from their company's internal communications this year. The first part was all about humanisation and the need for face-to-face comms in 2016. Here's Part 2 with some interesting insights on email and social media. 2. Email vs. social media After face-to-face communications, almost half (48%) selected email as their second choice of communications when it came to receiving messages impacting their role directly. Only 8% opted for intranet communication and, interestingly, not one person said they'd prefer to receive comms via an internal social media network or instant messenger. So while intranets are useful for IC teams and companies as a central point to place staff info and resources, they are less useful for their employees and less effective when it comes to communicating news. But why the lack of social media? By its 'social' nature, social networks are more informal so, when it comes to communications which directly impact people personally, it makes sense for people to opt for more formal, traditional methods such as email. But interestingly, when we asked the same question about wider, non-personal corporate communications, email came top again. 85% of people said they'd prefer to receive more general company comms via email, 35% said the intranet this time and 19% said some form of newsletter. But still, no one chose social media or instant messenger. So are people more traditional when it comes to corporate communications? Or is there a sense that social media networks, internal or not, still feel too personal and informal for the work place? Only a third of people who answered worked at companies that already communicate via social media, with 70% stating that their company doesn't have an enterprise social network and never uses social media to talk to staff. Of course, we can't prefer something if we've never tried it, but there are still a third who do use it and don't prefer it, which cannot be ignored. For us and IC teams, this highlights the need to conduct audience research to understand employees, before rolling out new channels because the industry thought-leaders say so. Social media plays a vital role in two-way communication and building a community online, but shouldn't be at the expense of other channels such as email and intranets which, as we've found, still have a place in the mix. 3. Inside out communications Employees might not want their company to communicate with them via social media, but people seem happier than ever to talk about their company on their own personal social networks. It was near enough a 50/50 split but almost half (48%) of people said they talk positively about their company on social media. Whether it's a post about a colleague, the brand or a project the person is working on, all of these things affect the external reputation of the company. And even more people talk about their company offline. 38% of people we surveyed said they always talk positively about the company they work for with other people and 50% said they do so fairly often. Bert and Ernie Image source: See-ming Lee - www.flickr.com/photos/seeminglee/   The large majority of people we surveyed said they like the company they work for, which obviously affects the answers because if people are happy, they are more likely to talk positively. But equally, if your people are unhappy, they are just as likely to talk negatively about their job. Either way, the extent of people talking on behalf of the company online shows the opportunity for companies to embrace their staff as social ambassadors - another big trend predicted for 2016. With the right social media guidelines in place, companies should be empowering employees to be able to communicate externally. It's by equipping people with the right, inspiring stories and providing engaging content that the internal messages can be shared externally in a genuine way, whether it's a video about the brand journey they're a part of, or engaging content about an internal staff initiative.

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