By John Bonoff
Crafting communications that effectively drive program adoption or change management would be a victory for any internal communications team. Creating campaigns that do this while also fostering a positive employee experience? That’s a triumph. The key to accomplishing both lies in the ability to do more with less, and produce messaging that clarifies, rather than adding to the noise.
For internal communicators, clarity and efficiency can be generated in several ways. It’s more efficient to put communications where employees are already looking than it is to try to get their attention in a new way. It’s more efficient to leverage existing data and platforms to personalize messaging than it is to launch a new round of employee surveys and polls. It’s more effective to convey messages with the aid of content than it is to rely solely on emails to get the point across. Through the savvy use of your existing systems and tools, you can create internal communications that reach employees, and serve both company goals and the shared employee experience.
The first thing to think about when trying to create efficient communications that support the employee experience are inputs, or the existing tools and services that you can integrate into your messaging.
Promoting communications through content, for example, will help to package and deliver key concepts that employees might gloss over in a message. Content can also be calibrated for different parts of the program adoption process, such as inspiration, education, and reinforcement. Relying on content for the heavy lifting during extended campaigns can go a long way in helping employees adapt to changes, while avoiding oversaturation of messaging that can muddy the employee experience.
Another key input is existing employee profile data, like demographic information taken from an HRIS or directory service. Leveraging employee data to personalize messaging or content by location, department, job level, or a similar data point will help you avoid redundant campaigns and increase engagement. For example, if you are communicating around an upcoming round of performance management conversations, sending the same set of messages to executives, managers, and employees may not be the most effective communications strategy, since each group is likely to play a different role in the conversation. By personalizing communications for specific employee groups, you can help messages cut through the noise while taking advantage of existing data.
Another thing to consider integrating into communications are the resources and information hubs that employees are already familiar with. Whether it’s an intranet site, documents on Box, information about HR programs, or FAQs, try to incorporate a variety of familiar inputs into communication campaigns, so employees are encouraged to follow their curiosity and further their experience. Adding in these resources also takes the pressure off of standalone messages to drive comprehensive concepts, so you can avoid costly communication overload.
On the flipside of communication inputs are the outputs through which communication can be delivered. These are the channels, systems, and virtual experiences that allow you to meet employees where they are, and ensure that messages are received and acted upon. By mastering outputs, you can connect with employees in stream, which will produce massive efficiency gains and a smoother experience all around.
To optimize communication outputs, start by evaluating existing communication channels. Will email be more effective than messaging applications for a given campaign? Does it vary between teams or departments? For frontline or deskless workers, a different strategy or combination of channels may be best.
Next, think about the ways you will be able to measure the success of communication campaigns using engagement data and employee feedback. You can leverage employee communications software to account for message opens as well as content engagement and analytics that allow you to gauge the effectiveness of campaigns in real time, and adjust along the way to make improvements. This is a crucial step in achieving long-term communication and program goals.
Finally, one of the easiest and most effective ways to drive employee engagement through communication is to call for it directly. Incorporating external action channels, such as an outlet to enter goals in a performance management platform or enroll in benefits helps streamline campaigns and produce the outcomes that push your organization forward. Making these steps clear to employees will lighten the load on internal teams, and reduce the need for additional messages.
Getting through to employees is less about volume and more about precision. Fine-tune your communications by establishing your audience, leveraging content, and integrating the systems and information that reinforce key messaging. Then, optimize delivery channels, establish the ways you’ll evaluate success, and encourage employees to complete key tasks or take an action. By doing the work to integrate your communications systems before your first message launches, you respect your employees’ time and attention, while creating a more efficient type of campaign that promotes a better experience for employees.