The internal communications role is unlike most functions within an organization. These professionals are often tasked with making sure that multiple (ok…maybe even hundreds) of messages are disseminated and consumed by an organization’s most importance audience – its workforce. The messages delivered and initiatives employed to make sure they are received can have a real impact on productivity, employee engagement and the overall health and success of a company. And it is for this reason that they should not be taken lightly.
Poor internal communications have been linked to increased employee turnover, a rise in errors, lower employee engagement, decreased customer service, reduced innovation and productivity and more. For internal communications specialists, the pressure is on to deliver results. Given the importance of this, here are a few common problems as well as “hacks” to address them:
The saying when it rains it pours couldn’t be more true for internal communications executives. How many times have different lines of business, HR departments and the C-suite had critical items to communicate to your workforce “as soon as possible”?
Hack: Stick to your editorial calendar! Your editorial calendar is quite possibly your most important business tool for effective communication. Calendar out when critical announcements are coming down the pike and be transparent with your internal stakeholders about when they will occur. Use a Google Doc or other similar shared calendar. Remind your employees that they need to make sure their internal announcements line up to the calendar. Of course, calendars of this sort should be flexible and dynamic, especially when crises occur — but hopefully these events are few and far between.
Employees should never be the last to know, but unfortunately, sometimes news travels so fast that it’s difficult to give them a heads up.
Hack: Use a mobile communications tool that allows you to send quick push notifications to employees alerting them that news is being released externally in a few minutes. This can also be done simultaneously with the news release if the news is sensitive and material, especially with regard to public companies.
Email is, and will continue to be, a vital internal communications tool. However, far too often employees ignore company emails due to “email overload.” In fact, did you know that studies have found that employees only read approximately one out of every five emails sent from the company?
Hack 1: Refresh your email content. Don’t rely on long prose and heavy blocks of text. Use video, audio, and images to inform.
Hack 2: Consider a mobile app solution. Given the unique functionality of mobile technology, push notifications (which require an opt-in), can appear instantaneously on your employees’ mobile device, even when it is sleeping. Research shows that viewership and responsiveness to these alerts are significantly higher than that of emails.
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