As a leader of an internal communications team, I spent a good part of my early career trying to lock down and limit the amount of communication going to employees. This wasn’t because I didn’t believe in transparency or want employees to be “in the know” but because I wanted them to be able to focus on the important communication and take action. But once my team became the funnel through which all communication flowed, I quickly learned that in order to create the best content, we had to empower others to tell some of the stories and we had to give employees the ability to share feedback with us to ensure we were creating content that mattered.
To create true engagement, employees need to feel like they are part of the communications process, so here are a few tips to help you begin empowering others to tell the stories of your organization.
1. Seek out employees to share the “why” and the “what’s in it for me” and keep the tactical comms in-house. You have likely mastered a format for tactical communication that gives your employees clear and simple direction – so keep that up. But when it comes to making employees care about why they should take the action, a personalized experience from an impacted employee can be a very powerful engagement driver.
2. Find the writers! Talk to employees in other creative departments such as marketing and training and invite them to write guest blogs for your intranet, newsletter, or newsfeed. They will create content that aligns with your organizational values while giving it a new voice and perspective.
3. Use video and podcasting as a means of getting and sharing content. For some employees, especially younger generations, it will be easier for them to record a vlog or call in for an audio recording in a podcast than it will be to write an article, and you should embrace this. If you keep interviews short and pointed, the editing process can be greatly reduced as well, giving you the ability to turn content around quickly, keeping it relevant.
Involving employees in creating content will not only drive engagement but it allows you to stretch your budget (check out ICTV Episode 5: Budget for tips on stretching your budget). Many internal comms teams are small in size and tight on budget so outsourcing the creation of content to third parties (graphic designers, copywriters, etc.) or bringing on additional writers is just not an option.
I know it’s hard to let go of some of that control that you’ve worked so hard to gain, but I promise the results will be worth it. And your employees will appreciate hearing from the people who are walking in their shoes. A good internal comms team knows that employees want to hear from other employees and local leaders to enhance and make relevant communication coming from the c-suite and corporate teams. A great internal communications team sets the cadence and flow of communication and empowers others to create meaningful content that reflects the culture of the organization.