Communications professionals regularly need to focus employees’ attention on critical information and important tasks for the business. Due to email fatigue and information overload, this is harder and hard to do. Most struggle to get employees to notice – let alone read – critical announcements.
Good content is not enough anymore. Here are four aspects of employee communications – besides good copy – that communicators must master to ensure key employee communications actually reach their intended audience and have an impact.
If employees complain that they were never told about an important initiative, are you able to track the communications you sent and find out where they derailed? Are you able to gauge immediately whether a communications campaign is working or not? Set up some regular benchmarks and establish a system that regularly measures them.
Begin to answer questions like these:
- What percentage of employees are reading your employee messages now?
- What constitutes a good or poor response rate?
- What kind of click-through rates are we getting and what do we want them to be?
- How long does it take (and should it take) for all employees to get a mission-critical announcement: a day, a week, a month?
Make sure you are regularly measuring and benchmarking activity resulting from your broadcast communications such as readership, click-throughs, surveys responses, etc. Then you will be able to determine which methods work best for a particular type of message and also adjust quickly if your communications are not hitting their mark.
Be aware and accommodate the wider environment and context that your messages enter. Rather than scheduling employee communications for a time convenient for you, find out what time and place are most convenient for your audience and schedule accordingly. You will need to consider:
- Your Competition. What other messages are scheduled to go out at the same time or on the same day as yours? Are there any events or major industry developments that could overshadow your important message? Evaluate your communications plan and adjust dates/delivery if necessary.
- Normal Workflow. What does an employee’s day look like, and when are they the most receptive? It may be better to send a message at 12:30pm when many will be taking a breather, instead of 9am, when they’ll be focused on planning their day and getting started with their daily tasks. Different groups may have different workflows – you may need to target your message differently to reach them.
- Cyclical Activity. Are there weekly/monthly/quarterly cycles that could impact employees’ attention? Salesforces with monthly targets are apt to be extremely busy on the last working days of the month, so this would be a terrible time to send them the employee survey or launch an initiative that requires their action.
- Preferences. Does your workforce live on their computers all day, or are they working in a factory environment? Do they prefer hearing news from their direct manager? Do they regularly visit the intranet homepage or congregate in the lunchroom? Profile your audience to find out which communications methods are easiest for them and which ones they prefer. Know more about Target view schedule
While the majority of official employee communications are delivered by email, there are many alternatives available now. Consider using a combination of channels appropriate to the degree of urgency, importance and complexity of your message. Establish criteria for each to determine what type of message belongs where, both to maximize overall impact and to maintain consistency.