I’ve always been part of a digital workplace, but over the past two years, we’ve seen some key players make their mark and grave in the marketplace. But employee engagement is hot on the agenda for HR and Internal Communication teams, so here are my predictions for 2018 and the future of digital workplace engagement.
1. Intranets are improving
In my early years, I used to work as a sales assistant for a digital first retailer. This was when social media marketing was the next big hype for businesses in order to reach their audiences and rally their employees around a common initiative. Though back then (5 years+) the Intranet was the only way for companies to share this information internally, and frankly you could see the tumbleweed roll across the screen – that’s how much traction the tools got.
The intranets – in retail at least – were a source of sharing area and store specific marketing initiatives and compliance paperwork. Intranets were dead.
Fast forward 5 years, and as we go into 2018 we can expect Intranets to improve vastly. So far, there are a handle of companies out there that specialise in the Inranet space. These companies do Intranet very well by providing customisable homepages, tailored content, and content targeting. Intranets are now in good health, but they may be about to hit a brick wall.
2. Leaders are in a dire need of distributing information
Leaders across the globe are in the spotlight constantly. As we transition into an age where transparency is what moves a business forward, leaders are under increasing pressure to keep employees informed and up to date with the business’ plans. More so, employees are also looking at their leaders for their views and insight in how to move the business forward collaboratively.
How do businesses achieve this goal? Usually with an internal communication team dedicated to distributing this information, but sharing this to a global workforce has many challenges.
Workplace by Facebook has been at the forefront of this requirement. Take Starbucks’ Howard Schultz as an example – typically business focus on their office workers, and struggle to target their shop or hard-labour staff – but Starbucks introduced Workplace by Facebook, which is essentially a Facebook for their employees, this enables their teams to distribute information to the very frontline, even messages or live videos from their CEO himself.
3. AI, Automation and the Intelligent Workforce
It goes without saying, that there is a huge focus on artificial intelligence right now. Take Siri from Apple, and Alexa from Amazon – these voice assistants absorb and take on the tasks we often find mundane or repetitive. Why turn on the Kettle when you can ask Alexa to do it for you? Or better yet, configure your lightbulbs to wake you up with Phillips Hue.
This age of automation and AI will be a large part of the digital workplace, enforcing what I like to call an intelligent workforce. I’m not saying voice assistants and bots will replace our jobs any time soon, but they will go far in assisting us in our daily duties and tasks.
4. Internal Comms want People Insights
Hold back! We’re not talking about viewing what our employees are saying to each other, because we all know that will introduce a distrust in any workplace tool. Instead, we need to acknowledge that our HR and Internal Comms teams care about their employees and want to know if they’ve read the latest bulletin, and re-send to those who haven’t. Similarly, if there is a huge marketing initiative such as Christmas (how timely) around the corner, its sometimes useful to know what’s trending in conversations internally just as much as it is with their customers.
Competition is stiff – but Blink throws down the gauntlet
Unlike Workplace, Slack, Microsoft Teams or other tools out there. None have really nailed the digital workplace on the head – unlike Blink of course.
Blink is the ultimate employee app, designed entirely with the frontline in mind and layered with tools that help the internal communication teams meet their goal.
How to build your own digital workplace?
Blink Home – the central hub all employees have access to. Personalised and targeted to the individual – you can integrate with your favourite tools and services that help you get your job done. This may be in several systems for employees, but instead, this aggregates into a single feed inside Blink. You don’t need to look anywhere else, to take action, acknowledge and view information. How does this get clever? Automation of course – set rules and reminders tailored to you and make Blink your intelligent system.
Internal Comms teams can use the feed to share company information to their employees, wherever they are in the world, and as many times as they want.
Unified Search – the all seeing, all finding tool every employee needs. With Blink’s unified search tool you can search literally anything within Blink and find it within the common tools/services you integrate with. Again, preventing you from leaving the app.
Messaging – collaboration cannot be achieved without communication. Blink’s messaging product removes the barriers between horizontals and verticals. If you know the name of the sales rep in Santa Monica but you’re in London – no bother, you can connect and start chatting. Get stuff done the right way, without restriction.