Internal Communication Trends for 2023

EPISODE 109 | Guest: Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager for Visix

In the post-pandemic world, organizations have not only changed their physical footprints and in-office policies, they’ve had to reevaluate their priorities and processes to attract and retain valuable talent. The stopgaps that emerged in 2020 have evolved into more permanent, human-centric forms that are leveraging new tech and trends to meet reimagined goals.

In this episode, we step through 12 internal communication trends taken from experts and surveys across the industry, with practical tips you can start using today.

  • Understand how collaboration tools and techniques have evolved
  • Hear how visual content is being prioritized across communication mediums
  • Explore the “Purpose Revolution” and the roll of frontline management and leadership
  • Discover how communicators are prioritizing mobile, personalization and alignment
  • Learn how AI, analytics and evidence-based communications are changing everything

Subscribe to this podcast: Podbean | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | YouTube | RSS

Get more advice in our free Masterclass Guide on Digital Signage Communications Planning


Derek DeWitt: We’re all still working through the post pandemic world (still!) and what it looks like, and there’s no place more so where that’s true than in the workplace. Internal communications teams are still at the forefront of this, let’s call it an evolution, and have been tasked with engaging a more distributed and more demanding workforce than ever before. To talk with me about that. I’m here with Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager for Visix, who’s going to go through the internal communication trends for the year 2023. Hi Deb. Thanks for coming!

Debbie DeWitt: Thanks, Derek. Thanks for having me.

Derek DeWitt: And thank you everybody out there for listening to this episode of Digital Signage Done Right. You can follow along with a transcript on the Visix websites. Just look under resources/podcasts, and find this particular episode, and there it is. Plus, you can also subscribe if you feel so inclined.

So, Deb, I read on the Beekeeper website, “In 2023, businesses will continue to operate through an unpredictable environment by staying laser focused on efficiencies, digital technologies and connected communications.”

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, that’s a great summary. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue; you can tell that’s a blog writer.

Derek DeWitt: They need to massage that.

Debbie DeWitt: Right, right. But it’s an excellent blog and a good site. But, yeah, basically the thing is we’re not settled down yet. There were a lot of changes that happened. It’s all kind of leveling out now. And when I went out there to look at what experts are saying, there’s some consensus about internal communication trends for this year, but people kind of disagree on what takes priority. So, I just went out and did sort of a bundled wrap up and put ’em in the order that I liked.

Derek DeWitt: Ah ha. So this pulling from multiple sources.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. It’s all trends that I thought stood out, and I combined a ton of top six, top eight, 10, 12 lists, you know, that everybody puts out there. But I think each of these things is worth talking about.

Derek DeWitt: Do you see a big difference between 2023 and 2021, which is when we did our last trends of the year episode?

Debbie DeWitt: I know, we got lazy in 2022; I don’t know what happened there.

Derek DeWitt: The trend was “no”.

Debbie DeWitt: Right. We were busy.

Derek DeWitt: That was the Big Quit.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. We were busy. There is certainly crossover between 2021 and now, but there are also several new ones. A lot of these emerged in 2020, 2021. But they’re, like you said in your intro, they’re evolving. We’re starting to get used to them. We’re starting to optimize them, figure out what works best.

Derek DeWitt: Okay. So, let’s get to it. So, the first item you have is continued collaboration and peer-to-peer communications.

Debbie DeWitt: Yes. Collaboration. The buzzword continues. It will live forever, I believe, but it is still very important. Especially with workplaces still morphing. You know, we’ve got some hybrid, some all in the office, some all on the front line (if it’s, obviously, healthcare, hotels, factories), we’ve got some that are fully remote. And then you’ve got these companies who change their minds every few weeks and say, now we’re half remote, now you have to come in. Things like that. So, keeping everyone on the same page and allowing teams to thrive is still top of the list. And collaboration, wherever you’re working from, is still top of that list.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And the fact is, people are gonna talk amongst themselves. Colleagues will always talk. If they’re in the office, they’re gonna chit chat at each other’s desks, cubicles, office doors, the proverbial water cooler. And they’re gonna do that whether the company is providing a means for them to do so or not. It’s only a problem when a) there’s something toxic going on in the office atmosphere, or they’re using public forums to have these conversations, which is not good. Don’t air your dirty laundry; nobody wants to see that. Or they’re communicating with each other using apps that are themselves insecure, and so therefore opening the door for, you know, badness.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. That’s why collaboration tools, collaboration platforms have become so important. Because, I mean, I think years ago, companies realized our people are gonna form their own groups on Facebook or wherever, whether we give them a platform or not. So having those collaboration tools in place, getting them more streamlined, a lot of what we’re seeing is combining things or scrapping some of them. Instead of having six different tools, let’s land on one that everybody likes, everybody will use. Like you said, security’s an issue.

Modern intranets, you know, are really becoming more like a social media platform in a way. They’re allowing a lot more social posts from employees. They’re allowing commenting, things like that. ‘Cause, like you said, we want you on our platform, so that we can stay abreast of what’s going on and what people are talking about.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And there’s no reason an intranet needs to be stuffy.

Debbie DeWitt: No.

Derek DeWitt: I mean, it can be, like you say, almost like a social media thing. It’s just we are the only people who see it.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I saw somebody refer to them as digital culture hubs, which I really liked. And you know, we’ve talked for a long time about democratizing communications. You know, that’s what intranets, social sites are doing, collaboration tools. You can also do it with digital signage. You know, let people at the team level add their own messaging, since they know what their group cares about.

But I will say a big priority now is setting boundaries for these collaborations and peer-to-peer communications. Everybody needs work life and home life to be separated. The more we’re going online, the more people are intruding into home life. So, a lot of companies, another big thing that goes with this topic is setting those boundaries between home and work life, so that you don’t get digital fatigue or burnout or collab fatigue, whatever you want to call it.

Derek DeWitt: When I’m off the clock, I’m off the clock, pal.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah.

Derek DeWitt: Now having said that, number two on your list is more authority for frontline managers. Hmm. What do you mean by that?

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, we’re staying focused on employees, and staffing is a big issue. Understaffing has been a real challenge the past couple of years, and it remains so today. Managers need more autonomy to build up that staff and keep them happy. So, they need to have the tools and authority to tackle issues really quickly right then and there without having to go up the chain, you know?

Derek DeWitt: Right. I’d say agility is very important in a fast-moving world.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. And, you know, agency. They need to be able to do what they need to do. And one of the things they’re doing, employee listening is a big topic, which to me seems funny ’cause you’d think that’s a constant, right? Listen to your employees.

Derek DeWitt: Ha ha ha!

Debbie DeWitt: But this is, yeah, but this is a very specific thing. Employee listening is really keeping a close eye on how employees are feeling to spot new trends while they’re still emerging.

Derek DeWitt: And you’re not just talking about just surveys. And I say that because we did a previous episode on the do’s and don’ts of surveys, but also because it pops into my head; more than just surveys.

Debbie DeWitt: Absolutely. This isn’t about surveys. Surveys are top level, big, wide, broad things. But when you want deep insights, you need to conduct regular focused listening activities, so you get more accurate information.

Derek DeWitt: The next item is, people want to see leadership more often. Do they?

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, yeah. Not only those frontline managers, but a lot of people wanna see the C-suite. They expect them to be more involved. And obviously the big word, transparency. They wanna see them, they want to hear what they have to say, and they want them to be more transparent about the mission, the values, the purpose, what the company’s doing, what they stand for. I saw a couple of sites that called this the Purpose Revolution.

Derek DeWitt: Mm.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I thought that was pretty cool. It’s people wanting clarity. They want certainty about how they fit into that purpose or fit into that mission.

Derek DeWitt: It needs to be more than just, our job is to make money, you know? I think specifically when it comes to environmental issues and also some of the societal changes that we’re seeing today. A lot of people, and yes, I know I sound like an old person when I say this, but yes, younger people, Gen Z especially, like, they don’t really wanna work for a company that’s not doing what they think they should be doing in these realms.

Debbie DeWitt: Absolutely. I hate to say surveys, but surveys have shown that over and over, especially like you said, the younger workforce. And it’s only gonna continue in that vein, I think.

But when it comes to internal communications, I read a great statement that said, “by putting organizational values front and center, internal comms moves beyond messaging toward collective action”. Because, you know, communicators have to not only tell you what that mission or purpose is, but what they’re doing toward it. So, you’re actually sort of gathering people together and building momentum toward that purpose.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And speaking of transparency, I think we see now, even in just the last few years, more and more companies are being much more transparent on what they’re doing for sustainability. Whether it’s, you know, net zero carbon initiatives or carbon replacement, or, you know, hey, turn off that light. D&I initiatives, which is diversity and inclusion, and how that’s all kind of working into the overall mission and goals of the company. We’re seeing this more and more.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, yeah. And we did actually a whole episode on authenticity and transparency, where we get into this in more detail. The basic is people need to know you’re really working toward your stated mission or purpose. And if you don’t show that to them, they’re gonna lose trust in management. And so, this is why they wanna see the C-Suite more often, they wanna see those frontline managers. And, you know, this may be virtual, this may be a town hall, it may be an online meeting, but they want connection more often, so that they can check in on how we’re doing.

Derek DeWitt: You know, it’s funny, recently I’ve been coming across, you know, the term employee engagement…

Debbie DeWitt: Hmm, I do know it. I am familiar with it.

Derek DeWitt: One of the buzz terms of the past, let’s say five years. Some places are now changing that up and referring to “employee alignment”, which I think is kind of nice because it doesn’t feel as subordinate as engagement or, like with engagement, it feels like the employees are customers or fish that need to be caught. Whereas with alignment, there’s this kind of idea of they’re independent, autonomous entities, and you’re trying to just match things up. Which I think is kind of nice.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I mean, employee alignment is actually, you know, engagement is, like you said, it’s sort of hooking them, getting their attention, you know, get them to look. Whereas alignment is get them to look at what, get them to do what? And what that is, is aligning them with that mission, with that purpose, making sure that at every level they’re aligned with whatever you’ve set as your goals. Recently, I read something, Gartner says, 24% of hybrid and remote workers report feeling connected to their organization’s culture.

Derek DeWitt: Only!

Debbie DeWitt: That’s only 24% connected to culture. And then Gallup found employee engagement (they’re using that term still) declined from 2021 to 2022. And they’re seeing it continue to go down this year so far. And I thought it was very interesting, the different elements that declined the most. Because apparently engagement was at like this high.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Just before the pandemic. It was like, all right, we’re all in it together!

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, yeah!

Derek DeWitt: And then, stay home!

Debbie DeWitt: Well, I mean, that makes sense. People like to be around other people. They were used to doing things a certain way. So, we all had to shift. We had a big hiccup. Everybody had to relearn how to do their jobs, how to talk to each other.

It’s interesting, the things that did go down though are clarity of expectations (so we’re back to purpose; we’re back to leadership), connection to the mission or purpose of the company, opportunities to learn and grow, opportunities to do what employees do best (meaning don’t just give me the task you want me to do; let me do what I’m best at), and feeling cared about at work. You know, those are all the places that people said, hey, I’m just not feeling it as much as I used to.

Derek DeWitt: Well, I think that transitions quite nicely into the next thing here, which is more human-centric communications. Finally! We’ve been talking about this…

Debbie DeWitt: They’re talking about it!

Derek DeWitt: We’ve been talking about this for years. And finally, 2023, is this when it’s finally gonna happen?

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I think everybody’s been going toward it. It takes a while for the experts and the writers to start writing about it after it’s been being done. Been being done?

Derek DeWitt: Been being done.

Debbie DeWitt: Been being done.

Derek DeWitt: That’s correct.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. So again, as we’re seeing more of the leadership, we’re also seeing less hierarchy in companies, but also more informal communications. People are being a little less stiff as they come out and talk to their employees, certainly. And that makes sense because those workers want more authenticity. You know, they don’t want the boiler plate statements, they don’t want formal decrees being handed down from on high.

Derek DeWitt: And you know, the fact is that employees are people. And I know that they’re there for, you know, a job or particular set of tasks or to leverage certain skills that they have or knowledge that they have, but they’re also people, and they have opinions about the world that we all live in.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah.

Derek DeWitt: And that the company exists in. And yes, sometimes that’s politics. Sometimes that’s gonna be social issues. Sometimes it’s gonna be whether cats are better than dogs. You know, all of this kind of stuff.

Debbie DeWitt: Controversial.

Derek DeWitt: We’re starting to also see now some companies are, I mean, they’re trying to stay away from the dicier stuff, but some companies are taking a stand on these real-world issues that we all deal with all the time anyway.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, and I don’t know that they are staying away from the dicier stuff. You have companies who, you know, you’ve always had companies that endorse political candidates, things like that. But I think it is more common now that companies, they used to feel it was taboo. You don’t want to offend anyone, certainly, you know, not on the employee side, but certainly on the client side. We are seeing that change. It’s part of the human-centric. We all understand humans have opinions and a corporation, even though a legal entity, is people. And so, they’re starting to say, this corporation, this entity feels this way about this issue.

Derek DeWitt: Another thing I’ve noticed that’s shifting a little bit in the language is we’ve talked about localization a lot, where, you know, you want to have the people in the Houston office need to have information, for example, in emails, in the newsletter and on their digital signs, that is relevant to people in Houston. They don’t need to know that it’s snowing in Boston. But now we’re starting to see talk of personalization.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. Internal comms is definitely trying to use personalization where it’s possible. You know, you wanna speak to an individual, or at least the team versus the company as a whole. And that’s definitely figuring into how they’re crafting their communications, but also how they deliver them.

Derek DeWitt: So, I see the next item here is make your content more visual to spark that kind of engagement. Which is, you know, I mean that’s great for a digital signage company, ’cause it’s a visual communications platform.

Debbie DeWitt: That’s true. And it’s not just making things visual, but more visual content. Just quantity as well as quality. We’ve always talked about the effectiveness of visual communications, so I guess the world is catching up. Yay! But a recent study revealed that 67% of employees are better at completing tasks when communicated by video or text with an image along with it. So, and they also said a business can save $1,200 or more in productivity per employee just by using more visuals. So that’s, you know, that just makes sense.

Derek DeWitt: Right. I think as a number of studies showed pre-pandemic, engagement equals productivity. And so, if visual content gets more engagement, therefore visual content equals productivity, I think that’s pretty easy math.

Debbie DeWitt: It is. Yeah. Try and turn every communication into a visual if you can. We’ve always said this ’cause, of course, like as you said, we sell a visual product. But it’s true; people just do better with visuals. So try and turn it into a visual if you can. If you have to use text, at least have some kind of really eye-catching visual with it.

Derek DeWitt: Mobile first is really the trend in communications. It’s a crazy thing. But I guess people are just…I don’t use my mobile device like this, but I guess most people do, mobile’s their go-to device. And so, a lot of communications, especially visual ones, are now getting tailored with mobile in mind. And then, oh, and by the way, here’s also what it might look like on a desktop, you know. I think I saw this referred to as “location independent communication”, which you might think sounds, that’s, I mean that ties right into personalization over localization.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, I think it does. We’re still dealing with a fluid workforce and people working from home. You know, you said you don’t use it that way, but I think most people go to their phones first. Obviously we’re all stuck on our desktops a lot, but mobile’s better because then you can reach them wherever they are. You don’t have to do it during a set time period when you have some people who are working, you know, I work at my desk for a couple of hours, but then I do work on my tablet, or I go to a cafe and work on a smaller screen. So you need to design those communications for mobiles. They don’t have to be, you know, they are saying mobile first, but there are a lot of things that crossover. You can make one thing…

Derek DeWitt: Right. it’s not mobile-only.

Debbie DeWitt: Exactly. You can make designs that work on your digital signs, that also work on social media, that also work on a mobile, if you’re delivering it via a Teams playlist, something like that. But it’s keeping that focus on mobile, so that you don’t forget about the people who are out there looking at it on a very small screen.

Derek DeWitt: I mean, this has always been the question for me, for a digital signage company like Visix though, isn’t this kind of a problem?

Debbie DeWitt: Well, it’s fine for us ’cause we can deliver to mobiles. So it’s not a problem. We have either a little app you can put in Teams that’ll throw up your visual messages, or you can just deliver it to a website; people can look at it there.

Derek DeWitt: There’s also, and you know, this has been every year for the past few years, but continued focus on both safety and wellbeing.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. People are still dealing with stressors of the last few years, and we have our normal stress that we would be having anyway. So as we’ve said, we’re still in a period of uncertainty and really, I mean, we’re always in a period of uncertainty.

Derek DeWitt: Right. Every, every moment, until clairvoyance becomes a real thing. Uh, yeah. Uncertainty is kind of the human condition.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. The world’s always changing. So there’s always gonna be stress, and employees expect more attention to wellness from their employer. You know, ’cause we all saw it, everybody got on board with wellness during the pandemic and everybody went, that’s really nice, you showing me desk stretches and you know, uh, stress relief tips.

Derek DeWitt: And you have hand sanitizer around, and this is how to, you know, clean off your desk effectively and all that. And yeah, now that the pandemic’s over, it’s like if all that messaging goes away, it’s kind of saying, so now we don’t really care anymore. Which is not true.

Debbie DeWitt: And it hasn’t gone away. I don’t know of anyone who yanked it. It’s actually been a great, I would say opportunity for employers to go, oh wow, you know, we have a benefits package, we have this and that; what else can we do for our employees? Well, we can absolutely focus on their wellness and their safety. Obviously in, you know, manufacturing environments, things like that, you have to have safety messaging.

And I will say HR is very focused right now on relationship management. We talked about staffing is an issue, and that means also retention of employees. You know, you wanna make a good employee experience, so that you can keep those employees. You know, they’re doing wellness programs, they’re doing benefits reinforcement on a regular basis.

Pay transparency is also something becoming more common now, which several states I guess have made it a law. So that, like, you have to post a fair salary, like a realistic salary that you’re gonna pay somebody when you do job postings. You know, internally people see those job postings, too. So, people are starting to get pay transparency and, I don’t know, I think focusing on wellbeing is a priority that should have always been here, and I’m thrilled that it is here now.

Derek DeWitt: The next item you have here, the eighth, is that scheduling is more important than ever. What does that mean? I don’t know what that means.

Debbie DeWitt: Well, we get to work where we want, so people are also saying, hey, I wanna work when I want.

Derek DeWitt: Ah!

Debbie DeWitt: They, you know, they want more say over their schedules, and they want advanced notice if those shifts are changing. They want more flexibility, and they also want the power to exchange shifts or swap with someone else. And, you know, we talked about those frontline managers, they wanna be able to get instant approval for those changes right away.

So, you know, with more flexibility in work hours, the focus is shifting to outcome versus hours. So, you used to have managers going, hey, I need you to work, you know, 40 hours exactly or more this week. Now they’re going, I need you to get these things done. And if you got those things done, do them when and where you like.

Derek DeWitt: And you’ll be paid for it.

Debbie DeWitt: Of course. And paid well because right now people really need to keep those employees happy.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s for sure. Obviously, AI is very much the talk, even though it’s not, it’s not true AI (I’m gonna be niggly about that)…

Debbie DeWitt: Nerd.

Derek DeWitt: There is what we call artificial intelligence, machine learning stuff out there being used more and more by organizations for all kinds of things and more automation is coming around. Now this is the part for the more conspiratorially-minded people out there to start chewing their fingernails and muttering in the corner about Skynet.

Debbie DeWitt: I can’t wait. I want it to come right now.

Derek DeWitt: Not Skynet! Skynet tries to get us!

Debbie DeWitt: Well not Skynet, not Skynet, but automation and AI, I’m all for. But remember, our focus here is internal communication trends. So, we’re not talking about robots, we’re not talking about Terminator or Skynet. But it means more automation of messaging and of communications practices.

So, you know, repetitive messaging, HR announcements, schedules can be automated, especially on digital signs where you can pull stuff in. You can automate surveys when you’re doing those top level surveys. People are using chatbots. And this is for employees. This is not for the public website. They’re using chatbots for, you know, benefits questions, hey, I need my current PTO hours, things like that. And they’re offering on-demand learning tools for professional development. You know, that helps automate onboarding and training.

Derek DeWitt: I read something recently about how AI is also being used to map employee personas and experiences, meaning that it can kind of take all of the interactions with Employee F and kind of come up with a profile, oh, Employee F is this kind of a person; here are some of that person’s characteristics; they fit into this cohort of people who have these things in common or are similar. So then they can kind of use that to work out new communication strategies.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. Yeah. And like you said, it’s not just personas, it’s also experiences. And those are like little microjourneys. What’s the onboarding experience like? What’s the training experience like? What’s their, you know, if you happen to be, I don’t know, a customer service agent, what is the little experience of the whole system of taking a client call, helping them, logging that in your system? You know, these little micro journeys, they’re looking at those. And you know, social media is doing this. We’ve all been packaged and sold as personas.

So, some of this AI is coming into the corporate world, but it’s, you know, being used for good; it’s not being used for evil. This is so that we can understand people and hopefully be able to talk to them, to communicate with them, give them the internal communications they need and want. And companies can use these profiles to create those little microjourneys and optimize those microjourneys. Especially for like common tasks or FAQs or little campaigns that they wanna put out.

Derek DeWitt: Sure. I mean, it is essentially the same tech that, say, Facebook uses or other social media uses. They’re using this stuff to go, okay, these are the kinds of ads we should be serving this particular user.

Debbie DeWitt: Right.

Derek DeWitt: In this instance, it’s not ads that are being served up, it’s opportunities, it’s programs, it’s initiatives, it’s options.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I mean, advertising is one kind of communications. You know, we call it marketing instead of communications. But internal communications, you could say, are advertising to your employees, and advertising is communications to external people. It’s the same thing, but done for different purposes.

Derek DeWitt: You know, your next item here says workers want still more training and knowledge sharing, which is very, very true. I recently saw a study by Axonify that uncovered some pretty interesting stats about frontline training. So, half of frontline employee respondents have taken on new tasks since the beginning of the pandemic, which I think is probably no surprise.

Debbie DeWitt: Right, but that’s in many cases on top of what they were already doing.

Derek DeWitt: Right. And 52% of them say they were not provided with the training that they needed in order to take on these new responsibilities. And 84% said they would prefer to access their training from a personal mobile device. So, then we come back to that mobile first communications thing.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. Yeah. And internal communications needs to focus on training topics, on professional development and make employees aware of certification or training opportunities. As we talked about, more visual content. So, if you’ve got little video snippets of how to, or you’ve got training online, you need to point them that way.

The other thing that was mentioned was knowledge sharing, in addition to training. So you can promote knowledge sharing by sending out updates and putting it on digital signs. But also, it’s really important to hold get-togethers, meetings, brainstorming sessions, you know, in-person knowledge sharing. And some of that is documenting it as SOP, standard operating procedure, things like that. But a lot of it is person-to-person, because the goal is to make sure everybody is actively engaged in sharing the knowledge they have.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah. And I mean, I personally, I love me a good brainstorming session. Like, that’s my meat and potatoes.

Debbie DeWitt: A whiteboard is your friend.

Derek DeWitt: Oh boy. I love a whiteboard. I love the… I even like the smell of the markers.

Debbie DeWitt: Okay.

Derek DeWitt: Well, one thing you might wanna put on a whiteboard would be, for example, a workflow. And your next item says that workflows need to be streamlined and simplified, which I think the word we can use really is optimized.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, yeah. Definitely. It’s especially important because everybody’s talking about change management right now in these uncertain times, in the “new normal”. You know, everything’s changing. We’re still getting our feet; we’re still working out those systems. It’s a great opportunity to go back and look at your workflows and go, hey, as we just said, our workers took on a lot more work, we have to train them on everything. Why don’t we take this opportunity to have them take a look at this workflow and see if it’s the best it can be?

So, internal communication professionals can be involved in change management, you know, at every step really – the planning, the execution, but mainly communicating that change. And with teams more spread out, and turnover is more common, unfortunately; you know, that’s the old “in case I’m hit by a bus” scenario. You need to have workflows documented, you need to have that SOP written down. That’s true for your internal comms team, you know, just like every other department.

Derek DeWitt: And don’t just do it once. I’m a firm believer in continuous improvement systems.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah.

Derek DeWitt: Streamline it, fix it up, make it better, and then revisit it again in six months and, and do it again. ‘Cause things are changing all the time and there’s no reason to ever stop being better.

Debbie DeWitt: That’s very true. That’s the goal, isn’t it? The goal is when every single person doing a task or a job looks at the procedure, the workflow, and goes, nope, nothing could be done better.

Derek DeWitt: Right. That would be, that would be the best. Of course, one way to do that is by analyzing things. And we find that more formalized analytics are driving more decisions these days. I don’t know if that’s because we have so much more sort of communication at all levels of the organization, if it’s because we have AI, because we have better data sharing technologies. But analytics is really coming into its own this year.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. It’s on every list. There was no list without analytics or data-driven decision making. And I think it’s a combination of all those things you talked about. You know, it is AI but it’s not even AI. Just as we are able to collect more data, we’re getting more sophisticated in how we can parse and filter and analyze that data. So, we have more data and we’re better at using it.

For internal communications, you know, it’s not only determining where, when, what you communicate, it’s looking at the ROI for those. We’ve talked about this a lot for digital signage and communications in general. But you know, one of the things I saw that I really liked is people are calling this evidence-based communications, which I like. It’s like there’s proof behind it.

Derek DeWitt: That’s forensic.

Debbie DeWitt: It is, but it’s like, instead of saying, oh, what’s your ROI? Which has just become a throwaway term almost, you know, what’s your return, what’s your success, all that. It’s evidence-based. Because we are talking about making decisions. So, make those decisions based on evidence. It’s not just, hey, we have these numbers. It’s, we’ve looked at these numbers, we’ve analyzed the data and we’ve come to this decision based on the evidence.

So, the one thing is there will be a lot more work for internal communications teams to turn those analytics and that data into visuals, as we talked about visual content, video snippets.

Derek DeWitt: And stories. Whenever you can turn ’em into some kind of a, I mean it’s, you’re not writing War and Peace here, but some kind of short form narrative. It just sticks in the mind better. It’s the easiest way to remember things, is narratively.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. I think people absorb stories or data, you know, given to you as a visual or a story much easier than they do [if] you’re gonna send out a spreadsheet or. I mean, if anybody’s ever read like an end of year financial report from a company, you know, the executive summary is what everyone reads.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah.

Debbie DeWitt: Because it’s a story. It’s putting it into text, with meaning and context, as opposed to here’s the data.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s exactly. So, or anybody who looks out on the web at academic papers, the abstract is available, and then if you wanna read the paper, you have to sign up and download it and sometimes pay for it.

Debbie DeWitt: I’ve never downloaded one. I just read the abstract.

Derek DeWitt: I haven’t either. I read the abstract and go, huh, I bet they probably proved their point.

Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, yeah. And then I read the articles that say whether it was verified by peers or not.

Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s for sure.

So, that is a lot for communicators to consider in the internal communications realm. We’re moving away from that old fashioned, one-size-fits-all approach. We’re using more tech, but we’re also at the same time becoming more human in our messaging. And, so those are the, I think we had a dozen, even dozen internal communications trends for the year 2023 and beyond.

Debbie DeWitt: And beyond!

Derek DeWitt: Thanks to Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager at Visix for talking to me today about these internal communication trends for 2023. Thanks, Deb.

Debbie DeWitt: Thanks, Derek. Always great to be on.

Derek DeWitt: And it’s always good to know that you out there are listening to this podcast, Digital Signage Done Right. Again, you can follow along with a transcript on the Visix website under resources, find the webpage for this podcast episode.