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3 reasons why internal communications will matter more than ever in 2021

Like for many sectors, 2020 was a peculiar and challenging year for internal communications. But while social distancing measurements will eventually fade out, some shifts originated from last year are likely here to stay – and heavily impact the importance of internal communications. Hence, here are 3 reasons why in 2021, internal communications matter for both your employees and business.

Mood management in unprecedented times

Lack of private and professional face-to-face interactions and long-term perspective caused mental health to – on top of physical health – quickly establish itself as one of the main trends in internal communication. Belgian research by the KU Leuven and IDEWE showed that just one month into the lockdown installed in March 2020, no less than almost half of the Belgian employees already struggled with anxiety and depressive feelings. 

That’s why opening up feedback channels has never been more important. Regardless of whether you send out an extensive internal communications survey or check on your employees via separate video calls, it’s vital to know how your employees are feeling. 
Our colleagues at ECHO like to practice what we preach and go the extra mile. Right before the end-of-year holiday period, several clients of ours like Partena and OZ – check out ECHO’s case (NL) – organised digital events like a Secret Santa or a quiz during an informal and digital afterwork drink. A virtual afterwork event like this can brighten everyone’s mood and give your employees something to look forward to.

Word of mouth leads to brand awareness and smooth recruitment

Last year, more people than usual were looking for a new job as the VDAB website showed an application increase of 15%. A couple of the main reasons employees mentioned for switching were dissatisfaction with the way their employers dealt with the corona crisis – potentially linked to the mood management mentioned above – and more consciousness regarding their job content and commute. 

It’s crucial to take in mind that besides employee retention, internal communications play a big role in attracting new talent as well. The only source people trust more than (public relations generated) media (60%)  are acquaintances, friends and colleagues (92%). Excellent internal communications are in a company’s own interest as the stories and recommendations from its own ambassadors can lead to a higher chance of attracting new colleagues – and new employees proactively reaching out to your company, too. Just let the word of mouth do its thing.

A paved way for efficient crisis communications channels

Belgian research conducted from March to September last year, revealed that 40% of our public institutions and social-profit organisations do not have a crisis communication plan. This could be problematic in times like these where enterprises rethink or reshuffle their core business, implement a working from home environment from the ground up and sometimes have to size down. 

It takes an open and transparent communication culture, where information can be freely shared within an organisation, to guarantee a strong and fluent internal communication flow when a crisis occurs. Companies that have their employees accustomed to a number of fixed internal communication channels, have a significant advantage when it comes to handling a crisis. 

Interested in finding out how, together with our colleagues from ECHO, we can help your company regarding internal PR, creative activations or ambassadorship? Please reach out to us via hello@weareecho.be, +32 (0)9 391 60 63 or this contact form. We don’t bite.