Start 2017 Off Right - Avoid these 6 Mistakes

Posted 04 January, 2017 in

How to Avoid Epic Internal Communication Fails in 2017

The start of a new year is the perfect time to get your internal communications strategy back on track.
Even the most disciplined IC professional can get side-swiped with unexpected projects and management requests during the year.
So as you ease yourself gently back into work, take a moment to read these tips and make sure you avoid these common IC fails.

1) Too Many Sign-Offs

Decision by committee is never a good idea. Don’t be tempted to ask for everyone’s approval before issuing an all-staff message (it seems the larger the organization, the bigger the problem).

Everyone you ask will feel obliged to give you their opinion – but will it be of any use? If you try to incorporate all the suggestions, you run the risk of watering down your original message, to the point where it becomes disjointed, dull, and worst of all – ignored!
If you don’t apply all the recommended changes, get ready for a spiral of time-sucking emails to explain why.
So be selective who you ask for editorial feedback and approval. Of course, seek your executive’s sign off, but limit approval and proof-reading to just a couple of trusted individuals.

2) Always saying “Yes”

In a large organization, it can be tough to keep a disciplined approach to communications – especially when inundated by different departments demanding their all-staff messages to take priority.

Remember you have a unique position: you’re the only one with an all-purpose passport across all communications for the organization. It’s your duty to ensure messages are relevant, planned for and scheduled for best effect.

Think of your IC as the company newsroom, and you’re Chief Editor. Cull content that’s low in priority or significance (in newsroom speak, this is known as “drop the dead donkey”). Don’t be shy to push back if there’s a better time, place, or channel for that supposed all- staff message. Start the new year as you mean to go on.

3) Sabotaging IC with Old-Fashioned Formats

Not only are you the curator of internal content, you’re the conductor too. So think carefully about which channels will get employee attention, are right for today’s more visual learners, and are fit for purpose.

For example, non-essential, non-urgent content such as staff announcements, fundraising initiatives, and social activities sit well together in a monthly newsletter. This kind of content bundling then leaves breathing space for urgent, essential communications – such as an IT outage notification or a cyber security alert – to get the attention they warrant.

Remember, today’s employees deserve more than email, and it’s your responsibility to keep up-to-date on new tools which achieve message penetration. Ignoring new technologies could ultimately risk sabotaging your own efforts.

4) Stuffy and Stale Language

OK, some IC topics can be - let’s just say – a bit dry. (Anyone who’s ever had to write a few pithy words about tidying up the lunch room or the importance of personal hygiene in the workplace will agree!) But every time you reach out, it’s a moment to engage with employees and personify your company’s brand values.

One of the biggest shifts in IC today is adopting a more friendly and accessible tone of voice and style of communication. So in 2017 add flair and personality to your comms. Use easy-to-understand language – not corporate speak (check out this list of worst office jargon phrases staff love to hate). Work with your marketing team and take inspiration from their eye-catching campaigns. Access their resources: they may well have a graphic designer keen to create a humorous animated character, perfect for communicating your hand-hygiene message!

5) Forgetting Not Everyone Is Desk-Bound

Mobility is one of the greatest movements in today’s workplace. But it’s also presented some of the biggest challenges for IC professionals, particularly those not prepared to adapt.
With the help of your IT team, explore the benefits of cloud-based internal communication platforms. These enable employees to view your IC content regardless of whether they’re working from home, in transit, or anywhere else for that matter (so long as they have network connectivity).
Go for secure, mobile-responsive solutions as these will display content to suit device (i.e., smartphone, tablet, or desktop).
Remember when writing for mobile, a headline and only a few lines of text is all your readers can read easily, so keep content short and get straight to the point.

6) Neglecting to Measure

In 2017, measurement is expected to be a top priority for internal communicators.
With specialist employee communication software, go one step further than simply providing metrics on who’s clicked what.
Unmissable, interactive, direct-to-screen tools such as scrolling desktop tickers, news desktop alerts, internal newsletters, employee quizzes or surveys provide a genuine breakthrough in IC tracking. (Another reason for the ongoing demise of email is the inability to track who’s read what.)
Impress your bosses by providing extraordinary insights on message visibility, recurrence statistics, cut-through, attitudinal shifts, employee engagement, and more.

It is no accident that companies that are poor communicators are three times more likely to have no formal measurement of communication effectiveness compared with highly effective communicators. So, how do you measure up? 


Refresh your internal comms with SnapComms internal communication solutions, read more about SnapComms tools here.


Susan Bowden

More blogs by Susan Bowden

Susan Bowden is Marketing Manager at SnapComms, a world-leading provider of digital internal communication tools.