Which internal communication channel should you use for a particular message? Different channels suit different circumstances. For example, you may have a super-important or urgent message, that must be seen by all employees within the next couple of minutes. Or, you may have a string of messages that form part of an ongoing campaign – such as building internal culture, creating awareness on a certain topic, or for driving behavioral change. Here's when a co-ordinated approach using a mix of both passive and high impact channels can be very effective.
These days, organizations require a variety of tools to achieve their communication goals: one size no longer fits all. So, we’ve created the Communication Spectrum, a quadrant which plots where different tools sit based on their characteristics, and in relation to your communication objectives. It places tools that are designed to be intrusive and action-oriented, as well as those that are low-impact and passive.
Note: The orange icons listed above are SnapComms channels
Interestingly, certain tools perform well across the entire spectrum, even though they may be placed in only one quadrant quarter. Tickers for example (also known as desktop newsfeeds) are effective for reinforcing messages (i.e.“Take a screen break every two hours”). But they’re also useful for communicating breaking news, or inciting action (“Complete the staff survey now”).
There are times when a collaborative approach is required, where employees’ ideas and opinions must be captured, benchmarked and actioned.
Other situations require a top down approach, where specific instructions or strategy require careful communication, leaving no room for uncertainty.
Equally, some messages demand urgent attention with an immediate call to action. Others are a slow burn, building awareness and understanding over time. Whatever the task, decide which asset format is most suitable; who the audience is; their preferred media choice; the severity and urgency of your message, and whether you require collaboration and feedback (visible or confidential).
Here are some tips for addressing common internal communication themes, along with choosing the most appropriate tools:
To inspire and form new employee habits is a long game. The challenge begins with getting staff buy in. This means explaining the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, before introducing the desired new behavior. To do this effectively requires a campaign-approach delivered over a defined period, with messages presented using the full spectrum of tools.
Nudging people along in the right direction by systematically drip-feeding messages is an effective technique. Research indicates it takes as many as seven exposures before new information sinks in.
Launch your behavioral campaign with high impact tools. A full screen desktop alert can be the spearhead of your campaign. Follow this up with explanatory content - video alerts work well here - allowing staff to gain a deeper understanding of behavioral intent. Reinforce the desired behavior with passive reminders delivered via screensavers, corporate wallpaper (which are viewed when employees switch on their machines each day), scrolling desktop tickers and newsletters.
Throughout your messaging, it’s important to provide genuine examples of positive behavioral change in action. Employee-fronted content - such as short videos and interviews - encourage mimicry.
Other tactics include company influencers walking-the-talk, workshops and training, case studies, consequential scenarios i.e. what happens if you do or don’t adopt this new behavior, expectations and goal setting. Use passive tools to recognize, reward and praise those employees demonstrating the correct behavior.
Remember to measure the impact of your behavioral change campaign. A quiz or survey is an effective method for tracking progress. Verification from the employee to confirm they will adopt the new behavior can be collected via a validation digital response.
This is another important but long-term communication task. Organizational culture can be described as the portrayal of shared attitudes, values and standards. But communicating all this in a memorable and engaging way requires creativity, repetition and different channels to suit different learning styles. Again, for optimal employee engagement, utlize multiple tools from the communication spectrum.
Kick-start your 'Culture campaign' using high impact tools, such as a desktop alert. This immediately grabs the attention of employees, and stimulates their thinking. The sky is the limit for creative messaging. Leverage the capabilities of rich media content - delivered via video alerts. Music, language, visual imagery and tone of voice all play a part in honing internal culture. These are easily carried via screensavers, corporate wallpaper, scrolling desktop tickers, video alerts and newsletters.
Culture campaigns comprising multi-media content delivered via video, screensavers and tickers are great for creating momentum and reinforcing key messages. Encourage attendance at culture-related events, such as Town Hall meetings or roadshows with an RSVP tool. This can be set to renotify employees about an upcoming event until their response has been received.
Newsletters have come a long way since the single-sided A4 print version. These days, a newsletter in digital format provides a dynamic environment for rich media content such as video, tickers and interactive polls that lift readership and engagement.
Ensure you provide a mechanism to capture employees’ input. Forums, quiz and surveys provide public and private ways to get staff to share their opinions.
There are times when getting a message out fast is critical. The methods used to warning staff not to open a malicious email, manage an internal crisis, or broadcast emergency instructions in the event of a natural disaster or shooter on site, can dramatically affect the outcome.
Panic Button-style alerts are utra-intrusive, providing immediate cut-through. Designed to flood all available channels such as desktop, digital signage and employees’ mobile phones, they can override screens and deliver an important message, regardless of the employee’s location. Feedback features such as ‘Yes’ I’m safe” help Incident Teams manage an unfolding situation.
Renotification i.e. the republishing of a message direct to screens until the recipient has actively acknowledged the message provides a guaranteed form of message cut through. The message sender (in this case, the incident team) can see exactly who has / has not opened and read the emergency notification. They can continue to renotify as required.
In summary, experiment with new channels. There are many new and exciting ways to interact with employees – many of which bypass email completely.
To learn more about how SnapComms tools can help you bypass email and get employee attention: