As I travel around to counsel clients, speak at industry conferences and meet with subject matter experts, I scout the trends that influence how business leaders engage employees, and how communicators support them in their efforts. Here are the top five trends I’ve spotted for 2015. Which ones will ring true for you in the New Year?
Staffers as strategists. As companies cope with a lackluster economy, they are cutting staff and combining departments to flatten functional areas. Corporate communications teams are narrowing their service level agreements, tightening their focus on supporting senior executives and managing enterprise-wide messaging and channels. In 2015, a greater number of communicators will serve as strategists only, overseeing, but not implementing, communication programs within the business lines. The audience known as “all employees” will grab most of the company’s attention and resources. Leaders deeper in the organization will have to seek communication support from external sources.
Engagement agencies. With corporate communications organizations stretched thin, and business leaders eager to capture employees’ attention, 2015 will see a rise of interest in agencies with expertise in employee engagement, particularly in the area of change management. Engagement agencies will contribute to strategy development and provide tactical implementation. In addition, there will be a surge in demand for the staff extender model, which will embed consultants working alongside lean communications teams and leaders with mission-critical communications needs, or provide remote-based resources to round out business-as-usual communications.
Content creation. Now that the content curation craze has subsided, there’s a renewed appreciation for actual content creation. Business writers know what it takes to identify news, extract knowledge from subject matter experts and weave a story that resonates with readers. Next year, these super-communicators will use their storytelling savvy to guide the creation of infographics, develop video scripts, and write concise, mobile-friendly content. In addition, they’ll build presentations and speeches on simple, familiar narrative arcs that are memorable and entertaining.
The intranet of everything. With the growing adoption of cloud-based computing, companies are building their intranets outside the corporate firewall. Startups like Igloo offer companies the ability to design intranets in the cloud without depending on the IT department. And platforms like Jive and Chatter provide content sharing and collaboration that feature a consumer-grade social media experience inside the enterprise.
Instant metrics. Our fascination with wearables like Fitbits, which give detailed, personal information in a flash, has translated into an insatiable desire for metrics at our fingertips. In 2015, leaders will incorporate tools such as Poll Everywhere into their PowerPoint presentations for immediate feedback from employee audiences. Leaders at all levels will seek input on a frequent basis, not just once a year in the employee opinion survey. In 2015, they will regularly visit community sites, adding content and commenting on employees’ posts.
In the spirit of our 2015 prognostications, we’d like to ask you one question: Was this blog helpful to you? Let us know.