How to Avoid Message Wear-Out in the Public Sector

Posted 26 June, 2018 in Internal Communications

message wear out

The public sector is one of the largest areas of employment in the world. It employs 21.5% of the total UK workforce, and 17.6% in the US.

Because of this size, internal communication can be difficult, even for seasoned managers.

Effectively engaging this diverse group is a challenge for internal comms professionals. So, we’ve listed six handy hints below, designed to help you avoid message wear-out and get your message through.

1. Use communication tools sparingly

Don’t be the boy who cried wolf. The surest way to make your audience switch off is to overload them with messages.

Only send internal communications to staff when you have something to say. If you don’t send comms sparingly, staff will soon start to question whether what you’re saying really is worth their time to read.

2. Segment your audience

Personal relevance is one of the biggest indicators of whether a message will be read or ignored. Where possible, avoid sending ‘all staff’ messages. These only make employees feel like the content is for “someone else”, and they’ll give it less of their attention.

Segment your employees into distinct groups so you can send them only targeted, relevant communications.

3. The right tool for the right message

Not all communication tools are created equal. Each of them bring their own benefits, but they may not be right for the message you’re sending.

For example, desktop alerts are perfect for announcements where time is of the essence – emails considerably less so.

Collaboration tools can be useful for encouraging a dialogue amongst teams – though important decisions can often be lost amidst conversation threads.

4. Take the pulse of the office

In large government departments with so many employees, it’s particularly difficult to accurately measure morale. Identifying issues which can set off staff unrest or dissatisfaction is difficult when you’re working in a centralized head office.

Make use of staff survey tools to regularly check in with employees and gauge their feelings. Ask direct questions on specific areas that concern you. Allow open comments to discover issues you may not have been aware of.

Employee Feedback Survey

5. Use visual hooks for engagement

Visual content is remembered four times more than text. If you want your messages to be memorable, include a visual hook alongside the text.

This is effective whether your comms are serious or light-hearted. A vibrant icon or image can call attention to alerts or important messages. Memes or gifs can add humor to event invitations or reminder messages.

6. Don’t write like a robot

Even if your corporate tone of voice is formal, or your brand guidelines are quite traditional, that doesn’t mean your writing needs to be cold or impersonal.

Include some personality in your writing. You’re the human face of the public sector, so bring the human element into your comms.


Mastering internal comms in the unique environment of the public sector is undoubtedly a challenge. But following the above tips will help avoid message wear-out and ensure what you say really gets read.

Read the full version of this article at The IC Space.

Internal Communications

Michael Hartland

More blogs by Michael Hartland

Michael Hartland is Content Marketing Manager at SnapComms - the market-leading provider of digital employee engagement solutions. Michael's most happy when writing. The beauty of language and the power of communication are his passions.