In this time of rapidly changing technology and cultural shifts, how do you talk tech to the new generation and what is the most overlooked part of modern I.T strategy?
Communications executives pride themselves on taking a strategic approach when it comes to their clients. But how good is the technology at helping them to talk to each other, individually or as a group? And what about the changing nature of every workforce?
So what is the most overlooked part of modern I.T strategy?
…put simply, it is developing an internal communications strategy.
The changing nature of communication
Numerous studies have been conducted about how people are communicating at the moment. Technology and cultural shifts are changing the way that generations, especially millennials, communicate. This isn’t just a matter of slang words changing their meaning, ‘wicked’ though we think that is; it’s a matter of the technologies that these generations use.
A request for an email may flag you up as being outside of generation Y if you’re talking to a generation to whom even Facebook is a bit ‘last year’ and are having all their conversations in a WhatsApp group (if fact, even the British government was reportedly using Whatsapp to communicate over its Europe strategy). This emerging generation of workers would much rather communicate across a social network lookalike, instant messaging app or even a LinkedIn group hence the rise of Shadow I.T as consumer tech infiltrates any organisation, sometimes because it is much easier to use than ‘officially’ sanctioned apps.
One reason for this change is that there’s nobody in the office anymore. OK, this is a bit of an exaggeration but there is a lot more flexible working than there was a few years ago and this will increase over the next few years, already a third of the UK workforce alone want to work remotely. As a result, people need the technology more than they did previously to stay in touch. To complicate things further, your employees like their own consumer tech better than your antiquated systems, and who can blame them!
Talk to HR, understand what your people need
More important than interoperability is user adoption. There is no point in going out and just ‘developing’ an internal communications strategy if you don’t understand what it is your people want, how they wish to communicate, the various methods, devices and times that they wish to do so at. This understanding can’t just be based on generalisations but needs to be based on research, surveys, and data (in other words – ask your users!). This understanding can only come getting a true picture of your users can only come through I.T joining forces with HR, forming an I.T/HR power couple that will drive the transformation of your workplace.
Get everybody on board
Everyone, right from the top, has to buy into a new way of working – and that means change. The leaders and the foot soldiers need to understand why they’re communicating in this way and what’s in it for them. They’ll co-operate when they get it and not before – why would you install an app on your phone without appreciating its purpose?
You need to talk to them and understand their needs, then deploy technology that fills the gap. Creating a dynamic yet secure environment is a key for any I.T professional. An environment which encourages innovation but which ticks the right corporate boxes.
Developing an internal communications strategy and developing a digital workplace is a journey
A heroic journey that has pitfalls and will require allies and guides, but don’t focus on the negative stuff.
Consider the benefits – a multi-channel team, communicating across the business as they each want to and playing to the strengths of their generations. Isn’t that worth working towards? Isn’t that worth embarking on a journey for?
- Communications have changed – your I.T strategy needs to reflect this.
- Talk to HR. Together you can make your communications strategy a success.
- Transforming your communications strategy is a journey, a heroic one worth undertaking.