Since the majority of internal communication is digital, technology is critical—a fact only further compounded by the pandemic. Specifically, tools like Zoom and Teams have transformed how colleagues work together since March 2020 when work-from-home arrangements replaced the office.
From routine team meetings to virtual town halls, technology has served an even more essential role amid COVID-19. It seems obvious that one way to improve employee communications is to improve collaboration with your IT teams?
How IT Benefits from a Stronger Relationship with IC
If you want to work more closely with IT, first you need to gain their buy-in. IT needs to understand the value of IC and how your goals and objectives actually align with theirs—in terms of communication tools and software. When your IT team sees IC functioning as an IT advocate and ally (not another demanding internal customer), you become partners.
Since IT isn’t known for having the best communications programs, start by offering to assist them. By offering your storytelling services—to highlight IT’s successes rather than issues or outages—you can reframe the narrative and build a better partnership. Here are two ways IT benefits from a stronger relationship with IC.
- Employee understanding of communications tech will improve. Research shows that effective organizational and managerial communications are linked to improved employee comprehension. Since this is the case, when IT and IC collaborate, employee comprehension of the technology tools also improves.
When many companies struggled with the sudden Teams and Zoom roll-outs, with little training or advice, best practices were left largely unknown and useful features were often ignored. As these remain the tools of choice for most organizations, an IC-led education program will reap rewards for both IT and IC. Effective training will minimize redundant questions and repeat troubleshooting, saving IT time and frustration, and improving employee communication overall.
- Employees will adopt new tools more quickly. Getting employees on board with new technology is a challenge for IT. In fact, HBR reports that a majority of managers believe the digital transformation of their workplace is slow because of “poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools.” Often, IT selects and implements a tool, and leaves it there. When employees understand more about the technology tools they’re given—the why’s, how’s and the benefits of using it (along with some functional examples)—they’re far more likely to adopt it.
When IC partners with IT, together, they can communicate a compelling vision for technology and tools. This collaboration makes it possible to share the stories of how employees use digital tools to perform and succeed.
How IC Benefits from a Stronger Relationship with IT
On the flipside, IC will benefit from having a stable communications technology platform, smoother rollouts of new communications tools, and advanced planning to take advantage of new technology. When IC is seen as a partner to IT, IC can assist with technology decisions, not only for new platforms, but also to help direct tool consolidation (instead of proliferation).
IC can help evaluate options, provide user testing, and suggest changes and functional integrations, leaving them well-positioned to take full advantage of collaboration platforms, emergency notification solutions, mixed reality tools, and intranet software.
As HBR warns, “Too many companies rely on their IT teams to build and organize their intranets”—a practice that originated when engineers were designing intranets by scratch. When IC better understands communications tech, they can take the burden off the IT department and more effectively manage the intranet as a useful, accessible one-stop-shop for employees (what it’s supposed to be).
Aligning IT with IC Benefits the Organization
While IC and IT will both experience benefits unique to their departments, the company as a whole with benefit from higher employee satisfaction and improved engagement. There’s nothing to lose from a stronger relationship between IC and IT. It’s mutually beneficial to each department, all employees, and the organization overall.