Communication is about closing the gap between where your organization is, and where you want it to be; by closing the gaps in employee's knowledge, beliefs or action. Lift that organization, perhaps from being a low performing to a high performing organization. So, of the range of different types of internal communication, what's the right communication tool, if you have identified a knowledge gap?
A knowledge gap can result from employee's being uninformed. It’s like "well nobody told me what's going on". Uninformed often equates to, “don't know”, “don't care”. How often have you experienced the “don't know, don't care” attitude when you have been shopping in a shop with somebody who just had no clue what's going on?
A knowledge gap can result from misinformation. Now often this is a consequence of the employee rumor mill kicking in to gear. Often a leader can be too busy, or preoccupied to communicate. We all know how nature abhors a vacuum and so the rumor mill will swing in to action to fill that vacuum. As a result, misinformation is then being circulated around the organization, This often causes rework, errors and confusion, which all adds cost to your bottom line.
Knowledge gap can result from employees being unengaged. This is often a consequence of information overload, or a lack of context. There are just too many pieces of information coming at employees and without the big picture context it’s very difficult for them to derive relevance and meaning for that information in the context of the work they are being asked to do.
Now you can start to close the knowledge gap by building awareness and understanding. But what types of internal communication should we use? Electronic tactics are great for building awareness. Their strength lies in their consistency. That the same exact message is delivered to all recipients. Their strength also lies in the speed in which that information can be distributed. And the strength about electronic tactics also lies in the ease of accessibility to deliver that information to all people who are on the infrastructure for delivery of that information.
Employee understanding is also a great way to fill and address, close the knowledge gap. This step is about employees understanding the rationale behind what is being communicated. Now, other types of internal communication such as print tactics are great for building comprehension and understanding. Think print when you’re communicating about something that is new, complex, or large. Things like a major change to your benefits program, or a major change to the strategic direction of your organization, or roll-out of a new software system. Print’s value lies in the design techniques that you can deploy to aid comprehension and understanding. So things like the use of graphics in your print tactics, photos and captions, use of break-out boxes to graphically show the causal relationships between something, or a flow chart, and the use of headers and sub-headers.
Now you will find 35 types of electronic internal communication in “Tactics in a Box: 101 Ways to Communicate with Employees”. So those electronic tactics include things like desktop alerts, desktop news feeds, desktop wallpaper messages, info-graphics, and mobile apps. For more information about any of those contact the good people at SnapComms.
Tactics in a Box also includes 41 types of internal communications that are print tactics. Things like hot issue cards, flyers, message cubes and wallet cards. So using the electronic tactics or print tactics to close and identify the gap between where your organization is and where you want it to be is a mandatory first step to driving that shift. Okay, so I hope to see you for the next episode of Tactics Tuesday; until then happy communicating. Bye.
Lorri Lennon is an award-winning advisor, trainer and author in leadership communication. She has 20 years’ experience managing communications for large global organisations.
Lorri conducts master classes to help participants maximise their communications ROI.
Mariska Mannes is an experienced communication consultant. She holds a Master of Management majoring in Communication, which allows her to bring a blend of qualification and practical experiences to her training programmes. Her expertise is in business and cross cultural communication and behaviour. For more information visit Mariska's LinkedIn profile.