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6 Tips for Creating an Effective Employee Communication Strategy

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 8.3.2016


In previous posts, we discussed the importance and driving factors behind the modernization of employee communication. It’s no secret that employers must invest in internal communication and engagement strategies or risk losing their best talent to more progressive, employee-centric organizations.

But how do companies create a world-class, engaging internal communication program within their organization? Leveraging feedback from HR departments, industry analysts, and market research, here are 6 tips to begin developing a contemporary communication strategy.

1.  Foster A Culture of Transparency

A communication strategy will fall short if corporate commitment falls short, and success always starts at the top. The C-Suite, managers, and HR teams must value honest and open communication with their workforce. An open door, transparent office culture builds employee trust, respect for the organization’s mission and leaders, and, ultimately, employee satisfaction at work. 

2.  Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

HR departments and internal communication teams often rely on a plethora of technology solutions, vendors, and resources to communicate with the employees they serve. In many cases, this complexity cannot be helped; however, the organization should look for ways to consolidate channels and information for the employees’ benefit.

If possible, a company should offer employees a single and flexible point of access to personal and professional information, and a channel of communication that is simple, reliable, and personal, no matter the size of the organization. Employees should be able to access the information they need easily, when and where they need it, without using multiple channels and surfing through multiple resources to get the information they need. 

3.  Be Brief and Use Simple Language

When you wish to instruct, be brief. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.Cicero

As a standard best practice, employee communication should be thorough, but brief. Brevity and precision of language ensure employees both read and understand the message.

Similarly, avoid ambiguous language and technical jargon. Always keep in mind that these are people you’re talking to; they are diverse groups with unique communication needs.

4.  Create a Dialogue, Not a Monologue

Communication should function as a method of engagement, not simply a message of instruction. Where possible, facilitate personalized conversations and interactions, and avoid the typical “send-to-all” broadcast channel if possible.

Remember that the goal is to support and delight employees and to make them feel valued. Employees feel valued if they feel you are speaking to them directly, listening to them carefully, and responding personally.

5.  Design Content for Understanding and Engagement

Ask yourself this question: how can we make our communication more informative and entertaining for each and every individual?

Consider how you prefer to access or receive information in your personal life. What kind of content delights and inspires you?

When thinking about content that inspires proliferation and engagement (virality), you can’t ignore video. Consider incorporating video into your communication strategy in the form of video newsletters, video-based learning about topics such as open enrollment and benefits options, video messages from the CEO, and more.

Need some inspiration? Learn how Dunkin' Donuts got 2,000 franchisees to watch corporate videos. 

6.  Think Employee First, Mobile First

We live in an on-demand society where people expect fast, readily available information from their mobile device, at any time. Similarly, the rise of BYOD means personal mobile devices are commonplace, if not necessary, in nearly all workplace settings. Couple this with an increasingly distributed workforce that includes non-desktop workers, and the need for mobile connectivity skyrockets.

A communication strategy that leverages mobile technology is essential for promoting an employee-first mentality, which, in turn, fosters a more impactful employee experience.

“This shift—away from HR and toward the employee as the user—has had a huge impact on the market. Vendors that focus only on back-office functionality and which don’t have any compelling mobile apps are likely to lose ground,” says Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte. Companies are replacing “last-generation enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems . . . with tools that can directly empower managers and employees.”

Give employees the tools and information they need to be more connected, engaged, and empowered, and your business will thrive.

In summary, a communication strategy must address the many situations where employees need to access information and should leverage mobile and cloud-based technologies to do so. HR leaders at organizations of all sizes should be actively planning how to leverage mobile technologies to inform and delight the employees they serve.

Need help bringing your internal communication strategy into the mobile, on-demand age? Learn how EmployeeChannel is creating a contemporary communication experience for employees and HR.

Here are some additional resources:

Blog: Three Trends Driving a Paradigm Shift in Employee Communications

Whitepaper: The Missing Piece in the HR Technology Landscape

Infographic: Are You and Your Employees Really on Speaking Terms?

Topics: internal communications, employee communication

Human Resources Today