It’s a hard truth that more and more organizations are finally beginning to realize: Before you can sell your potential customers on the value of your products and services, you must first sell your employees on your organization’s vision, mission, and values. Without employees’ buy-in and attendant enthusiasm, the sales process is far less productive than it could be.
That’s what makes a robust, well-coordinated internal communications (IC) plan so critical. Getting your messages effectively to your employees – and acting on their feedback – is the most direct path to a happier, more productive workforce and an improved bottom line.
To that end, here are 4 Top Dos and Don’ts to include in an effective internal communications program.
4 DOs FOR A SUCCESSFUL IC PROGRAM
1. Do Strategize
Your very first step toward creating an effective IC program is to carefully plan what you want to communicate1. What are you trying to do and why? Once you’ve identified all that you hope to accomplish, you then choose the channels that will best support those goals.
Different channels support different goals. For example, if your message is designed to teach employees about a product or service, your best bet is to choose a channel that allows you to make learning a fun experience, such as the use of online games or quizzes.
2. Do encourage interaction and feedback
Employees who can interact and comment on messages feel a part of their larger organization. Encourage such interaction, whether you’re discussing the workplace, a current product, potential future products, or the company as a whole.2
You can gather feedback in a number of ways, such as a company forum, a designated channel within your company chat software, a whiteboard in the office, or even the use of a cloud-based service. These channels capture brilliant ideas and helpful criticisms that otherwise would be missed.
3. Do have a way to analyze efforts
Having a means of measuring the impact of messaging is invaluable. Sure, measuring effectiveness through digital channels saves time and money. But it also tracks employee satisfaction and engagement, giving you hard numbers to guide your choices in messages, channels, and more in future campaigns.
As noted on Granicus.com, you can make sure your communications are as strong as possible by testing your campaigns and messages. As with external communications, A/B testing can help provide data on what works and what doesn’t. Similarly, metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and form completions can help your organization understand what strategies you should pursue in the future.
4. Do recognize and reward
You can rarely go wrong by recognizing exceptional performance or providing a tangible reward for it. Often this reward is a cash bonus. But not always. Methods of recognizing and rewarding can take on smaller, less expensive forms. It could be points on a leaderboard, a gift certificate, lunch with your manager, or an extra day off.
Have a system for regularly recognizing and rewarding efforts. Remember, every organization has a competitor, and if your competitor is perceived to treat their employees better, you’re going to lose talent to them.
4 DON’TS FOR A SUCCESSFUL IC PROGRAM
1. Don’t commit communications overload
The human mind can absorb only so much information. As an IC pro, it’s best to operate on the assumption that less is more. Keep things simple, brief, and to the point. Share information in bite-sized pieces, particularly if you have a younger workforce. Millennials don’t want to sit through traditional training. They want information in small doses.
2. Don’t lose sight of the big picture
Communicating specific, targeted information is fantastic, but it can come at the expense of circulating your company’s overarching goals, mission, and other cultural components. Be sure to communicate these things in addition to day-to-day matters so employees are always reminded of them.
Internal communicators rarely struggle for information to share with employees. This is especially true of larger companies, with different stakeholders, executives, and departments each with their own business plans, competing for attention. A strong IC program fits these competing interests into a cascading sequence of messages – each of which ties back to the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
3. Don’t be the corporate publicist
Information shared by IC cannot always be about positivity and wonderfulness. It’s also about discussing and accepting that there are shared difficulties and drawing lessons from them for everybody to learn.
By tackling some of the more pressing concerns publicly and encouraging feedback, you’re building a common bond. Employees want to know their company is empathetic to fears or concerns about the future of the business, and that it is moving to address them.
4. Don’t just inform, inspire action
It’s easy for apathy to settle into an organization, particularly among those with decentralized workforces. People lose sight of their role in the big picture. Storytelling breaks down that apathy. Effective internal communicators set up ways for companies to work together to develop ideas such as best practices, innovation, and health and safety measures, and then share these stories across the organization. By hearing these stories and interacting about them, employees learn from each other, strengthening the sense of belonging and cutting back a sense of apathy. Your IC practices ultimately should lead to action, inspiring your team to go above and beyond.
How do you deliver on these Dos and Don’ts in a comprehensive, coordinated way? If your internal communications program lacks a robust custom employee engagement app, it’s time to consider a tool like HubEngage.
With its comprehensive analytics capabilities, the platform helps you to coordinate – and tailor – employee engagement communications like never before.
Most importantly, the analytics tools help you to speak your leadership’s language, providing you with data detailed enough to persuade even the most ardent skeptic.
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