Organizations are trimming travel and expense budgets. At the same time, however, those same organizations are growing via acquisition and supporting flexible work arrangements. I know of several large corporations for which entire teams have never met each other in face-to-face.
As a result, it’s more important than ever to keep employees informed, engaged and motivated. If you “miss” on any one of these three key elements, your organization could suffer. While I’m a firm believer in the value of face-to-face interactions, I believe that online platforms provide numerous benefits for internal communications.
Let’s consider five benefits.
1) Global Reach
Calling a colleague for your weekly staff meeting? It’s more likely that she’s in Bangalore than Bangor. Online platforms remind us that today, “the world is flat.” And while we haven’t yet solved the “timezone issue,” I (and my executives) can communicate with my colleague in Bangalore via a digital platform. We can stream live video to remote branch offices, allowing them to feel “connected” to the rest of the organization.
2) More Effective Q&A
Imagine a CEO speaking to a gathering of 1,000 employees. She finishes her presentation then asks, “any questions?” 20 hands are raised and the CEO needs to select a few employees to ask their questions.
Now, imagine the CEO presenting online. As she’s speaking, questions are submitted (in real-time) via the webcast console. Communications staffers prioritize the queue of questions, marking them as “high”, “medium” or “low.” When it’s time to do Q&A, the CEO can pick from the top of the “high priority” list and begin to address the very questions that her staff hand-picked for her.
No wasted time addressing off-topic questions.
3) More Effective Audience-to-Audience Engagement
In a physical gathering, it would be quite rude for audience members to speak to one another. Online, however, there’s an entirely new dimension. Imagine a “chat area” adjacent to the live video player. Audience members can comment and collaborate as the CEO is speaking.
You may wonder, isn’t this still rude? In my opinion, if the comments are directly related to the content (the CEO presentation), then they add to value of the program – and, they provide real-time feedback to the CEO and the rest of the executive team.
One of our clients did an online sales kick-off meeting and observed the real-time chat unfold as the CEO spoke. He remarked that watching his sales team comment was the most direct and most effective feedback mechanism he’s seen.
4) Higher Productivity
When your global organization can participate in your CEO presentation online, they can move on to other tasks immediately after the session. There’s no productivity loss due to travel or “out of office time.”
5) Cost Savings
While I’d rather focus on things like “communications effectiveness”, “employee engagement” and “employee morale,” the fact of the matter is that doing internal communications online has associated cost savings. And for the CEO who’s presenting (and, the CFO reporting to her), I call that a win-win scenario.
- Case Study: Iron Mountain Virtual Senior Leadership Meeting
- Case Study: Cisco Services Summit, produced Online
Post contributed by Dennis Shiao