Sometimes, as internal communicators, we can get excited by the next new thing. And while we should, of course, take advantage of new channels and how they can enable us to reach our people in creative and efficient ways, we need to always understand what role they are playing in our overall internal communications success.
There can also be a tendency to add new communications channels without critically reviewing if existing ones should be replaced or removed. This can lead to employee fatigue – respondents of our recent survey spoke about how they were getting conflicting messages from too many sources.
To ensure all of your communications channels add value we recommend going back to your strategic fundamentals – identifying your objectives, analysing your target audience and planning your content.
Identify your objectives
Before adopting a new channel, you need to be clear on the objectives for your internal communications strategy. What are you trying to achieve with your communications?
Are you trying to activate employee generated content, facilitate two-way communication or deliver critical business updates? Do you need a more impactful information delivery system or are you trying to create a virtual social space?
By clearly outlining what success looks like to you, you can then begin to map out how to achieve it.
Segment your audience
Like with any communications campaign, we need to understand who we are targeting, their pain points and their behaviours. Spend time understanding the employees in your organisation, looking at the demographics, how they work and interact with each other and how to address their pain points.
You may want to carry out a quick survey or mini focus group. Ask them what ways they prefer to communicate and receive communication, what devices and social platforms they currently use, and what they want to hear about. Listen to understand what new channels are they most comfortable with and what content are they likely to engage with or create?
A useful exercise at this stage is also to map out your predicted user journey to identify any barriers that may affect uptake and engagement.
Develop a content strategy
Before you decide what channels to use, plan out your content so you can see what functionality you need to build in, from video and podcasts to live Q&As. Consider how often you will be posting and the resources you have available to you.
You may also want to develop tailored messaging and content based on your audience segmentation to ensure what you’re sharing is relevant.
Choose your channels
The first step is to analyse your existing channels – are they fit for purpose? Perhaps they can just be refreshed or repurposed without adding more to the pile. A study from Pega found the average employee switches between 35 job-critical applications more than 1,100 times every day.
If you are looking for a new channel, it should suit the needs and behaviour patterns of the user and support the organisation in delivering the overall business objectives.
Training and education
If you introduce new channels, employees need to brought on the journey with you not just at launch but right from concept development. This must be an ongoing process to maximise usage and engagement.
As well as an initial briefing on your chosen channels (both new and existing), playbooks, video guides and regular training sessions on everything from living values to capturing video clips will be invaluable in ensuring your employees feel empowered to contribute.
If you would like to learn more about activating your internal communications, contact Senior Client Manager Ciara Flaherty at email@example.com.