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Push, Pull, and Interactive: 4 Tips For Balancing Internal Communications To Improve the Employee Experience

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 2.8.2017

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Achieving balance is always an admirable goal, and never more so than in the workplace where communication between company leaders, HR staff, managers, and their employees has a profound effect on the employee experience.

Push, pull, and interactive communications are an integral part of any modern, digital communication strategy and should be managed strategically with a focus on balance in the workplace.

Push vs. Pull vs. Interactive Communication

Push communication refers to any message that is sent from a sender to a receiver. Push is a broadcast. The sender is in control, determining who receives the communication, how they receive it, and when. 

Push communications are used to communicate interesting, important, or time-sensitive announcements. This is information that needs to be communicated immediately and directly. Email blasts, posters and digital billboards, push notifications (digital alerts sent from a mobile app), SMS, and voicemails are all examples of push communications. 

Pull communication refers to any information that is accessible by a recipient on his terms. Think of pull as self-service—ideally, pull communication solutions enable open and convenient access to information. Pull communication is typically informational and is not time-sensitive. It is designed to be a resource for people in a moment of interest or need. Intranet portals and self-service employee apps are examples of pull communication tools.

Interactive communication acts exactly as it sounds. It is an interaction or dialogue between parties. Intelligence is communicated and discussed in real-time, alleviating any confusion or misinterpretation that may come from broadcast dialogue. Stopping an employee in the hallway to chat, engaging in an email dialogue, or holding a town-hall meeting where all employees are given a voice are examples of interactive communication. Though a push or pull strategy can be easier to manage and typically requires less strain on HR resources, many employees prefer an interactive dialogue, especially when navigating difficult topics. 

The Combo of Push, Pull, and Interactive Communications Results in a Better Employee Experience

The balance of push, pull, and interactive communications is a concept we hear a lot about in marketing and that rings true for HR. It’s essential to engage consumers today with a solid mix of these three communication types. Ideally, you keep top of mind by pushing interesting or time-sensitive information to your prospects on a regular basis, maintain their interest over time by offering convenient access to the information they need to make decisions, and engage and delight them with interactive conversations when the need arises. 

If we think of employees as customers (and we should!), we help to create a better employee experience by regularly pushing valuable, relevant, and time-sensitive information to them that will help them to be more informed and productive at the workplace, by providing them with easy-to-use, reliable self-service tools for accessing information on their terms, and by providing real-time, interactive support when they need it. 

An internal communication strategy that is overly focused on push will seem, well, pushy. Employees feel burdened with a constant broadcast and stop paying attention entirely. On the other hand, an overreliance on pull may leave employees feeling uninformed and disengaaged. Interactive communications can quickly become overwhelming for HR staff, especially considering that on average, there are less than 3 HR professionals for every 100 employees. 

All three are necessary to achieve a healthy communication balance, foster a world-class internal communication program, and improve the employee experience.

4 Tips for Balancing Push, Pull, and Interactive Communications and Delighting Your Employees


1.  Reach Employees Through Their Preferred Channels.

It’s easy for internal communications to be lost in the shuffle of managing overburdened inboxes and busy schedules. Similarly, numerous chat and peer-to-peer communication channels are all competing for employee attention.

For deskless employees (many of whom don’t have a corporate email address or access to a desktop), communication programs may seem antiquated and inefficient. Employees aren’t able to visit a kiosk or read a bulletin board while at home or on the road. The methods for engaging in interactive communication may not always be available or convenient in their moment of need. 

Important communications (whether they be push, pull, or interactive) should be accessible through the channels that are most convenient for your employees—the channels they actually enjoy using. 

In a survey we conducted of employees at organizations with 1,000 or more employees, 87% said they would use a mobile employee app for internal communication if their employer provided one. Adapting the vehicles of communication to employee preferences will help your organization to differentiate itself as a standout employer. 

2.  Give Employees a Reason to Opt In.

If a new communication program requires employee buy-in and their continued participation, it must provide a value proposition or engagement factor that simply wasn’t there before. This is true for push, pull, and interactive communications. 

Are employees gaining instant access to information that previously required substantial hoop jumping? Are they learning about company news faster than before? Is this news communicated in a more engaging or impactful way than was previously the norm? Do employees feel like they are being heard, and that their opinions and concerns are addressed in a convenient, timely manner? These are important questions to consider as you develop new communication programs and navigate the balance of push, pull, and interactive. 

Keep in mind that the best and brightest HR departments and communication specialists are selective and succinct with all push communications. Overwhelming employees with too much push is the fastest way to lose buy-in. 

3.  Where Possible, Integrate Push, Pull, AND INTERACTIVE.

It's not uncommon for employees to leverage 5-7 different systems to get the information they need. When considering how to empower and delight employees, limiting the number of steps, systems, or people they rely on to get information is an important one. A tool that provides the entire spectrum of internal communication is always preferable to leveraging multiple systems, and helps employees to be more informed and productive with less effort. 

4.  Leverage Behavioral Insights to Adapt to Employee Preferences.

How do we know which communications are impactful, and which are ignored? How do we know if employees are finding the information they need in their moments of need? How do we know if our interactions are resulting in a more informed, engaged workforce?

Measuring the effectiveness of communication is difficult. This is one area where the rise of digital communication platforms comes to the rescue. Behavioral insights provide an accurate view of the messages that are most effective and the topics that are most valuable to employees. HR and Internal Communications teams can then tailor communication efforts to employee preferences and better determine if they're providing a valuable, balanced mix of push and pull resources. 


Push, pull, and interactive communications are necessary components of your internal communication strategy. Balance the three effectively and benefit from more informed, productive, and empowered employees.

Interested in learning more about an internal communication tool that provides the full spectrum of push, pull, and interactive internal communication? EmployeeChannel is a mobile app dedicated to the interactions between an organization and its employees. Extend your reach, empower your employees, and power intelligent communications. 

Topics: internal communications, employee communication

Human Resources Today