How can we meet the needs of two diverse audiences in our employee communities: the younger “millennials” with their reliance on interactive mobile technology, and baby boomers whose preferences are often founded in traditional media? The challenges impact on every aspect of corporate communication, and reward communication is no exception.

Augmented reality is one solution that is already well used in the advertising world. It builds interactivity into traditional materials and so appeals to both audiences. Print communication such as brochures, packaging and posters have additional digital content built into them so users can scan them with their smart phones and see extra content on their screens. In the retail world, this could be a video, a game or even the ability to show how a piece of furniture might look in your home.

It’s different from QR codes as the scan-able image can be any text or imagery on any printed or digital material, and the content will immediately appear on a smartphone screen rather than linking to a web page to view the content.

Augmented reality offers the opportunity to embed additional content in reward and benefit leaflets, reports, brochures and posters, allowing employees – especially millennials – to use their phones in a quick and fun way.

The technology is especially useful for companies with remote workers who are unable to access computers. Retail, manufacturing and catering organisations may find it particularly helpful for engaging employees. A simple credit card or pocket-sized leaflet could be distributed, giving them access to essential information in a visually appealing way.

National Grid is an example of one of the earliest employers to make use of this technology. Their aim was to attract potential apprentices and graduates by letting them know about their wide range of company benefits and rewards. We worked with them to develop a solution that would provide something tangible for potential recruits to take away from graduate recruitment fairs in particular – but something more than just a standard leaflet. And of course it needed to appeal to the younger generation.

What they produced was a small, conveniently sized fold-out leaflet that gave an overview of their reward and benefits package. Once scanned by a smartphone, it also revealed an animation presenting all the benefits in a fun, easily accessible and innovative way that has been well received.

Increasingly, I believe we will see this technology applied to a range of communication materials in the workplace. It has the benefit of bringing traditional communication to life at small expense and allowing employees to experience the best of both worlds – digital and print.

Danielle Ingram is a communication consultant at like minds.

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.