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Automating the Internal Communications Process (Part 4 of 4)

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 5.31.2018

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In a recent blog, “Are We Headed Toward a Perfect Storm in Workforce Communications?,” we suggested taking four actions to address the communication requirements of a digital workforce. This four-part series will cover each point in greater detail. Check out the previous post in the series here.

Re-instrumenting internal communications with fit-to-purpose channels

The phrase “fit-to-purpose channels” is typically associated with marketing strategies and the best path to reach potential customers. Failure to develop the right paths to future customers can result in low growth, loss of market share, poor financial performance, and missed opportunities.

In the world of internal communications, the failure to develop the best communication paths to employees also results in missed opportunities, opportunities to:

  • Promote the goals of the organization.
  • Increase employee productivity and engagement.
  • Build strong, long-term relationships with employees.
  • Achieve the goals of the organization.

Professional communicators are often forced to take a broad-brush approach to internal communications, pushing the content through multiple channels of communication, hoping that the message will reach employees. 

It’s a bit akin to not knowing where your gas tank is, pouring gasoline over your auto, and hoping that it seeps in somewhere so that you can fire up the engine.

It’s discomforting to imagine a world where you push specific communications only through a single channel or, perhaps, two. What if you miss someone? What if employees don’t get your message? Aren’t more ‘at bats’ better?

Maybe, but perhaps not. Often an organization’s messages are buried in bloated inboxes, grow stale in intranet repositories, or get lost in the maze of a thousand chat threads. And too often employees grow desensitized because too many messages aren’t personally relevant. They begin to ignore all messages from the organization. 

The most common response from employees who have not responded to a call to action? I didn’t get the message.

If your response to employees “missing” five emails on open enrollment is to send ten emails, it’s time to be bold.

It’s time to take a different approach, an approach that 1) targets specific employee audiences, 2) carefully articulates the purpose of a specific communication before choosing a channel, and 3) selects the channel that is best designed to do the job.

And, yes, that means stepping away from pushing information through all channels. It means stepping away from dependencies on channels that aren’t working (yep, we’re still doing it). It may mean stepping away from some channels altogether for employer-to-employee communications (gasp!).

Every organization is different, so no single prescription works for internal communications. However, it’s time to ask:

  • Is email best for one-to-one communication and for communication with customers, partners, and suppliers—not your employees as a whole?
  • Should the intranet be limited to information that’s likely to change little, if any, during the course of the year?
  • Should the chat channel focus on collaborative, employee-to-employee communications for projects or tasks?
  • Would a channel that's purpose was exclusively employer-to-employee communication be better for reaching your employees where they are, with information they care about most?

A multi-channel strategy for internal communications is as right today as a multi-channel strategy for marketing communications has been for decades. 

We need to invest in and build a multi-channel approach to employee communication based upon fit-to-purpose channels.

For marketers, the approach meant more transactions and more revenue.  For organizations, the approach means more productive and engaged employees and, more importantly, it means achieving the organization’s goals.

This series might be over, but stay tuned to the EmployeeChannel blog for even more on employee communication.

Topics: internal communications, employee communication, communication channel

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