EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATIONS: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
By Pam Goncalves
Today’s employee makes their way through each day on information overload – @home, @work, @anywhere. As digital consumers, employees have learned to filter the massive amount of content they receive, ignoring some types of information and readily consuming others. Where do your employee communications land within this filtering process? In a recent study by IDG Research, only 27% of employees indicated that they find their company’s employee communications engaging. So, chances are, a good deal is ending up in the “ignore” side of the equation.
A company can have the latest equipment and services, but if that last mile—the final piece that connects all of that modern technology to the individual user—doesn’t get delivered, it’s all for nothing. Likewise, companies can have top-notch HR programs, market-leading total rewards packages, and a killer employer value proposition; however, if employees do not connect with them, HR never realizes the true ROI of their efforts.
Is it a hopeless situation? Not at all. But it does require HR to think differently and borrow techniques from their marketing colleagues to deliver compelling communications that engage employees. We’ve all heard that employees are our customers; research shows that the more targeted, personalized, timely, and consumable the communications, the greater the response. To capture employee attention, it’s critical to create a variety of short-form content across multiple formats and media types. Employees – especially millennial members of the team – will appreciate rich visual content that mirrors what they receive as consumers. Just as critical as creating content is delivering that content over time, in a campaign format, using a variety of channels to reach employees with differing preferences, habits, and worksites. Finally, communication can no longer focus entirely on the nuts-and-bolts of how programs work. Campaigns must also include content that focuses on the “why” behind the message, inspiring employees to learn more about a new program, performance management guidelines, or open enrollment.
Marketers have been extremely successful with campaigns in recent years because they get help from marketing automation tools. Marketers today have a full range of automation platforms at their fingertips—Eloqua, Marketo and HubSpot are a few—that facilitate effective campaigns, complete with meaningful metrics. By leveraging similar tools designed specifically for workforce campaigns, HR can add employee communications as a distinct line item in the next project plan with clarity and confidence.
Thinking like a marketer puts HR in a new role, which can seem daunting. It’s worth the effort, however, and with the right tools, it doesn’t have to lead to an increased workload. Other HR leaders like you have already taken this step and have seen not only engagement scores and retention stats go higher but have also realized huge time and cost savings by getting employees to the right information faster and enabling better decision making. By taking this new approach, you’ll also be creating a culture of communication for which your workforce will thank you.