The last few years have transformed the way we work — and our relationship to work itself. If you’re an internal communications professional, your job will have changed drastically, too.

The rise of remote work is the most notable shift, but the changes go deeper. Many employees have reevaluated their workplace needs: more than ever, they’re prioritizing employers that share their values, put employee well-being first, and provide them with the learning opportunities they need to level up.

As an internal communications professional, you have a critical role to play in meeting these expectations.

In this article, you’ll learn about the latest, ‘human-first’ trends in internal communications. You’ll also discover how to leverage them to cultivate a stronger company culture in 2023, ensuring your employees feel engaged, supported, and satisfied.

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1. Nurture a strong company culture in a remote-friendly world

It’s official — in many industries, remote and hybrid working is here to stay. A remote-friendly workforce makes your role in internal communications more important than ever before.

Today, many employees only interact with colleagues, managers, and leadership through a screen. This means internal communications are the main medium through which some of us interact with our employers. Beyond giving people the information they need to get work done, internal communications are vital to establishing a strong company culture.

For remote teams, internal communications need to be clear, informative, and make full use of different digital formats. But not every workplace communication has to be about a specific task, goal, or policy — employees also need to feel positive, empowered, and supported.

Encourage culture-building and connecting through your existing channels, like instant messaging, Zoom calls, or Intranet.

2. Support employees to improve their experience

Creating positive employee experiences reduces turnover, boosts productivity, and helps you attract exceptional talent.

Strong internal communication gives workers, especially managers, the support they need to solve employee and customer problems. This makes it faster and easier to address situations like challenging customer interactions, or scheduling and payroll mixups.

Try using an instant-messaging app such as Slack to give people immediate access to support from leadership. If they run into challenges they don’t have the knowledge or resources to resolve, they can reach out and get help instantly.

Internal communications should also include employee recognition to show hard work is appreciated. Whenever an employee delivers a big project or reaches a sales goal, try using a company-wide Slack channel to celebrate their achievement and thank them for being part of the team.

These strategies will help you create an environment where people feel valued, supported, and able to focus on their jobs.

3. Communicate visually and integrate video

Your employees are busy doing their jobs and they don’t have time to digest a long, corporate memo. That’s why you should deliver internal communications in formats that make it easy for people to understand and retain the message.

Visual communication, especially video, is the answer. Employees are much more likely to grasp your messaging when it’s conveyed with appealing images, infographics, or video, instead of a wall of text. In fact, 67% of employees are better at completing tasks they learned about through video or a combination of text and images.

Experiment with different formats, and see what resonates with your audience. Take inspiration from YouTube- or TikTok-style video content. There’s no reason a new policy announcement, or even quarterly profit report, can’t be announced as a selfie video message!

Just look at social media. Visual content gets far more likes, comments, reach, and shares. Internal communications is all about sharing important information with your workforce and making sure they take notice. So you have to communicate these updates in the most effective way possible to engage employees.

Here’s how PlayPlay uses internal communications videos to introduce new recruits to the whole company! These introduction videos can also boost your employer branding on social media channels and attract more candidates.

4. Make internal communication mobile-first

Millennials and Gen Z already make up more than a third of the workforce, and they will soon be the majority. They’re used to easy, instant access to information — not dated communication methods like voicemail, paper memos, or even email.

On top of that, employees often need to be connected on the go in today’s mobile-first world. Equipped with a mobile messaging tool, you can send real-time news, updates, and alerts to your employees, wherever they might be. Sharing information has never been easier!

Make sure to adapt your content for a mobile context. For example, don’t send long paragraphs or PDF posters that can easily be overlooked on a mobile. Instead, keep communications short, digestible, and to the point (video is best for this!) Here are a few best practices on using instant messaging at work.

Overall, this internal communication trend is about giving employees easy access to internal communication tools that keep them updated on critical information in formats they’ll pay attention to.

5. Promote employee well-being

Most companies are doubling efforts to support their peoples’ wellbeing — including mental, physical, and emotional health. Your internal communication channels are ideal for sharing resources and offering support for workers dealing with mental health struggles, burnout, or stress.

Employee communications are also about listening, as well as sharing. Establish channels where employees can reach out for help and support, and make sure they feel comfortable using them.

You can build these into whatever communication tools you’re already using, like Slack, Teams, or even a dedicated email address. This is also an opportunity to invite feedback from employees about their well-being — Icahn School of Medicine’s video below is an excellent example (made with PlayPlay!)

In 2023, ensure that you’re communicating only when necessary, and when you can reasonably expect employees to pay attention and respond. Information overload can often make employees switch off from your messages altogether.

If you’re sending out an employee newsletter twice a month, are you sure you can’t deliver the same value — if not more — in a monthly sendout?

6. Use data to optimize how you share

Pay attention to data — it’s crucial to knowing whether your internal communication strategy is working or not.

Companies already use data to optimize their customer communications. For example, your marketing team probably evaluates the reach and engagement of their social media posts, and monitors the open- and click-through rates of email marketing.

Internal communications contain valuable information everyone at your company needs. Why wouldn’t you give this content the same level of attention? If you’re sharing details about a new policy but only 30% of employees are reading it, there’s a problem.

Regularly look at the metrics behind your internal communications and get employee feedback to assess how your well strategy is working. Are there any patterns to the messaging that performs best, such as channel, type of content, or time of day? Don’t just look at those results — use them to optimize and fine-tune how you communicate in the future.

7. Seek out and amplify internal influencers

Internal influencers speak for, and are deeply connected to, your company’s community. They’re highly motivated, committed to their work, and have developed strong networks across your organization and industry.

These leadership-minded individuals are usually highly respected and they command an audience. So get to know them — what topics do they care about? What do they find most exciting about the work you’re all doing together?

To jump on this trend, explore how you can work together, amplify each others’ messages, and give them space on your communication platforms. If you embrace their unique voices, you and your internal influencers can support each other in mutually beneficial ways.

8. Share internal content on demand

Today’s working world demands constant learning, but people are busier than ever. Fitting in professional development days or company-sponsored courses can feel daunting, if not impossible, for your workers.

Your team is hungry for learning and development. But they want to access it when it’s most convenient for them. The solution? On-demand content. Think Netflix-style education.

In 2023, build a knowledge base of on-demand, pre-recorded training and educational content as part of your internal communication strategy.

Rather than a rigid approach to learning, this gives workers autonomy and control over their professional growth. Make this on-demand content accessible on the channels your people are already using, whether that’s Slack, Teams, or your company intranet.

9. Get the C-Suite involved

Not every executive loves the spotlight. But if they embrace internal communication and speak directly with the people they lead, C-level executives have the potential to become a reassuring and inspiring presence.

In 2023, don’t let your executives’ brilliance stay on LinkedIn, or in high-level meetings. Make sure every member of your organization hears directly from your senior leaders, whether that’s through a dedicated Slack channel, video communications, or even company-wide Zoom calls. The goal is for every employee to feel personally connected to the person leading the organization.

Try helping CEOs brainstorm topics to talk about on an ongoing basis, and support them by editing (or even ghostwriting) their communications before they share them.

Video plays a key role in this internal communication trend: try recording AMAs sessions, welcome messages for new employees, policy announcements, quarterly business recaps… anything that helps to show senior staff are engaged with their employees.

10. Create virtual spaces for employees to connect with each other

In 2023, make it easier for employees to talk to each other. Feedback, collaboration, knowledge-sharing and mutual support are just a few ways that peer-to-peer communication can empower your people to do their best work. Not to mention, it can take some load off your managers!

This kind of cross-talk is already happening — it’s just smarter to keep it within your internal communications ecosystem.

For one thing, internal peer-to-peer chat spaces are much more secure compared to employees using their own tools, like group texts or personal emails. It also gives you more awareness of the information that’s flowing between your people, so you can monitor its accuracy and keep an eye out for any problematic messages.

Create dedicated channels for your employees to connect with each other. That could be channels on Slack and Teams, group Whatsapp chat rooms, or even a private company Facebook group. You could even enlist those internal influencers to get the conversation going, and make sure employees feel safe using these spaces to connect and share!

11. Use automation to make time for human interaction

In a remote-friendly workforce, effective and regular communication is everything. A 2023 internal communication trend will be the automation of recurring messages.

For example, internal communication teams can set up chatbots to answer common employee requests or questions, easily directing them to the information or resources they need. Notifications around policy or scheduling changes can also be automated, as can recurring communication flows around payroll and scheduling.

Automation can save time and make life easier for communications professionals. However, it should be used sparingly as it could appear impersonal if overused. Remember that warm, human-first communications are what your employees are expecting!

Internal communication that puts people first

In 2023, internal communications are about helping your employees connect with, learn from, and feel supported by your organization.

Effective communications must feel intuitive, useful, and enjoyable. Focus on content your people enjoy, like video, and offer it through the most convenient channels, like mobile and instant messaging tools. With PlayPlay’s easy-to-use video maker, you can create engaging video content your colleagues will love — in a matter of minutes.

In a remote-friendly world, internal communications are your best chance to create exceptional employee experiences. Take inspiration from these 11 internal communications best practices and trends to start building a company culture that’s authentic, supportive, and puts employees first.