Information overload is a modern day killer of productivity. The volume and speed of information streaming at us is endless. So how do you get employees’ attention, and ensure your workforce never misses an important message? What’s best practice when it comes to mastering internal communication in the era of excessive information? Read on for the answers and more.
In her role as Internal Communications Manager for a leading healthcare provider, Sally is responsible for keeping all 3,000+ workforce up to speed with important company news. Staff training, compliance, risk management and project updates are just some of the areas Sally’s tasked with communicating.
There’s been lots of change in the company recently, and ensuring staff are fully up to speed with these changes is critical.
Many of the staff work shifts. Some move around, working at different company premises during the week. All are very busy people and don’t take kindly to unnecessary interruptions.
Keeping this multi-generational and geographically-diverse team informed of what’s happening has been a nightmare for Sally.
Her biggest challenge is get employee attention. She knows her emails get missed. Staff complain of email overload, and don’t have time to read lengthy emails. Even worse, Sally has no way of knowing who’s received, read - and more importantly - understood the communication.
There’s increasing pressure from senior management to ensure all staff are properly informed. Sally needs to find a better way to communicate.
Here are some tips to help anyone like Sally get employee attention, and improve internal communication:
1. Use the right tools
These days the ‘all staff email’ simply gets buried amongst all the noise. Look for better ways to issue important company news. Effective techniques to get cut through now include alerts, desktop wallpapers, RSS feeds and more.
2. Tailor to your audience
If you have a multi-generational workforce, think about creating your message in a variety of formats. For example, instant messaging might work best for millennials whereas an explainer video may work best for baby boomers.
3. Short is sweet
Keep your message on point. Make it clear what action needs to be taken and by when. Latest research implies any text more than 100 words is only read by 20%.
4. Write right
A good tip is to write for a 12 year old. Ditch the corporate jargon. Tone of voice is a subtle but incredibly powerful communication element that’s worth spending time to get right. Before you send anything, read your communication out loud first; you’ll know instinctively which words aren’t right.
5. Get visual
A short video can get so much more across than a lengthy email – and in less time. You don’t need to hire a film crew either. These days, the recording facility on a smartphone is more than adequate for internal comms purposes (but it does pay to invest in lapel mic, to ensure good sound).
6. Be creative
Humans are emotional creatures. Tell stories, use cartoons, add humour. Look to your own colleagues who can often be a great resource for creating the kind of content to get employee attention.
7. Time to track
There’s no excuse nowadays for not measuring internal comms’ effectiveness. Affordable software lets you track everything from who’s viewed your video the whole way through, to which staff member still needs further training according to their quiz responses.
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