Employees within your organisation — no matter where they rank in the org chart — are a lot like the customer of today. Rather than being interested in communications that are all about telling the company story (i.e., “Look at what we did/are doing as a company!”), they’re much more interested in what’s in it for them.
In a study from June of this year, Gallup found that the percentage of employees who are “psychologically unattached to their work and their company” hit a new all-time high of 47 percent.
Another research study showed that information overload was affecting employees health as well as limiting their ability to carry out their roles – 36 percent of managers reported poor health due to excessive information they were required to process in their workplace.
A typical day can include email blasts, briefs, meetings, messages, video calls and many other things that tend to make people switch off if it gets too much.
What does that mean for your Internal Communication? In order to help foster a psychological attachment for employees and dull the noise of information overload, organisations must change to a model that elevates the personal and increasingly demonstrates the value of the individual to the organisation. Internal Communications must feel personal, relevant and add value to the individual.
Here’s what that might look like.
Remove the word “broadcast” from your Internal Communication vocabulary.
Employees, just like customers, are inundated with information from every direction and every device. Naturally, they’re looking for ways to weed out and cut through the noise. If at first glance they perceive an email or other corporate message doesn’t relate to them, they’re less likely to give it a second look.
The first step in providing relevant information that your employees will consume, vs. instantly delete or ignore, is to eliminate (or at least greatly minimise) your reliance on batch-and-blast communication.
Think: Right message, right time, right employee.
In the world of marketing, there’s been a massive shift in recent years away from a single, company-centric message to more personalised communication. This shift is key inside your organisation, as well.
Employees want to feel valued first, and informed second. Without those two things, they won’t be successful in their roles — and won’t be as able to contribute to the wider success of the organisation. This involves changing the way your internal communications come together and gets distributed at the most basic level, from strategy to operations.
Here are some actions you can take that will enable you to deliver the right message to the right employee at the right time. It starts with gathering information that will allow you to create better, more relevant content, and involves bringing in additional tools that will allow for the personalised distribution of content.
1. Get to know employees.
Before you can create content people within your organisation care about, you have to understand who they are: What are their pain points? What is cause for celebration? What goals are they trying to achieve?
One way to reach this new level of understanding is to create personas. A persona is a fictionalised, highly detailed representation of a certain employee. While the persona itself is fiction, the information included is based on real interviews, and includes demographics, psycho-graphics, responsibilities, preferences, problems they need to solve, and so on. You could create personas for every type of employee, from C-suite to management, sales to accounting, front line to field employees.
2. Create a content plan.
Once you have personas in place, use them to create a brand-new content plan that features topics important to those personas, that relates to their specific objectives and problems they’re tasked with solving, and helps them connect the dots to the wider company objectives.
For example, you could create a plan specifically for field employees that covers topics related to safety, how to remotely access important company information and schedules, and training modules that will boost their success. You can also highlight their achievements and show how through their efforts, they’re supporting the entire organisation.
3. Distribute content in a personalised way.
Many digital tools, like employee communications apps, specialise in the dissemination of messages in targeted, individual ways. Look for ways you can build flexibility into your distribution model and even allow employees to interact with or generate content:
- Does the tool or platform you select allow employees to opt in to certain topics that are relevant to them and their role?
- Does it offer distribution via the channels that employees want to engage with (and that they can easily engage with anywhere, anytime)?
- Does it offer ways that employees can create their own content, respond or share content?
When it comes to reaching new levels of organisational engagement, the people within your organisation — not just the business objectives or latest company news — are the “why.” The method or tool you select for content distribution is the “how.” Put together, you can deliver the relevant “what” where and when your employees need it most.