Since effective organizational communication is so essential for employee engagement, smart companies work hard to figure out the best ways to reach their people. So it would be great to have a crystal ball so you could tell which approaches are not only effective today, but will position your organization for future success.

Well, here's something better than a crystal ball--the informed thinking of nearly 300 internal communication professionals who gathered recently for the Connect 18 Conference, sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America's (PRSA) Employee Communication Section.

These savvy prognosticators developed 18 predictions for what to expect from employee communication seven years from now:

Biggest challenges

1. Technology's continued growth will require better ways to manage different platforms and tools.

2. A diverse workforce--people working remotely, contractors, a variety of job categories--will mean that one solution won't work for everyone.

3. As employees increasing job-hop, moving from company to company, we'll need to develop better ways to quickly bring new hires on board.

How leaders will communicate

4. Virtual meetings will become much more effective, so leaders can connect with employees in different locations and time zones with greater impact.

5. Organizations will take advantage of cutting-edge technology like virtual reality to give employees access to leaders.

6. Authenticity will be paramount. That means no more scripted talking points or corporate slides; leaders will be candid and personal.

Significant advancements

7. The role of video will grow dramatically, including Netflix-style, on-demand video sites that employees can access whenever and wherever they want.

8. Personalization will allow employees to choose the content they want in the format(s) they prefer.

9. We'll conquer email so that it's no longer the dominant method of communicating, but instead just one choice employees can make.

10. Communication will reduce the amount of words people have to read; instead, the emphasis will be on visuals.

11. Face-to-face communication will become revitalized so leaders, managers, and employees will build relationships and address big challenges.

12. Apps will move from early-stage pilots to mainstream tools.

13. The focus will move from top-down messages to encouraging employees to share their stories.

14. Communication will become less about talking and more about creating opportunities for listening--so everyone can offer suggestions and perspectives.

How success will be measured

15. There will be more opportunities for conversation and collaboration.

16. Organizations will become more innovative, as we create more ways to elicit employees' ideas.

17. Employee retention rates will rise, since people will feel more appreciated.

18. Improved employee engagement will lead to increased revenue and profits.

Want more? Here's an infographic summarizing these predictions.

Published on: May 30, 2018