<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=8jsvn1QolK10Y8" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

Your Internal Communications Are Not Engaging Employees. Here’s Why.

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 3.2.2017


It's a common problem that befalls many HR and Internal Communications teams:

Communication initiatives are falling flat and are not contributing to a more engaged workforce. 

Taking our cue from marketing communication best practices, (because we should think of our employees as consumers), here are six areas where internal communication programs typically need improvement and actionable strategies for reversing the trend of disengagement.

1.  Employees Feel Overwhelmed

Employees are inundated with a daily barrage of emails, phone calls, group chats, and face-to-face meetings. Unfortunately, organizational communications often fall in the “I’ll try to read this later” category. Your employees don’t have the time or mental stamina to wade through any more lengthy emails. 

If you’re communicating information that requires extensive explanation, break it out into separate, concise messages with a clear and simple call-to-action for each. It is more likely that an employee will read and comprehend the message if it is presented in an easily digestible, bite-sized chunk.

Even better: keep information to a bare minimum and provide access to a self-service platform where employees can easily find the information in their moment of need. Will the employees read it? That's hard to say. But if you consistently point them to a self-service resource that is easy-to-use, provides an excellent user experience, and is accessible across all devices, employees will feel confident they have the resources necessary to stay on top of need-to-know information.

Finally, design communications for quick and painless understanding. Condense text wherever possible and use bolded headlines and bullet points to organize different sections and ideas. If possible, use professionally-designed templates that grab attention and ease comprehension. 

Low-Cost Tools and Resources:

BeeFree: Create rich, responsive email messages using a drag and drop interface.

EDM Designer: Another drag and drop responsive email builder.

MailChimp and Constant Contact are also great options, though we recommend paying to remove the logos that will appear at the bottom of each email. 

Trying to beef up your HTML skills? Responsive Email Patterns offers many responsive email layouts, complete with source code. 

Need some creative inspiration? Email Gallery is an excellent resource.

2.  Communications Are Not Targeted or Personalized

We are more likely to read something that is tailored to our needs or interests. This is why we subscribe to our favorite blogs, magazines, and social media groups. Personalized or personally-relevant content is always more intriguing and impactful. As is the case with customer service, a personalized touch can truly improve the employee experience.  

If there is an opportunity to personalize communications for the individual or target communications to a specific group, your message has already become more relevant. A mass email blast sent to the entire workforce, unless it is an emergency or other highly urgent notification, will never be as compelling as a targeted message. 

We know what you're thinking: we just don't have time! Well, targeting and personalizing communications doesn't need to be an incredibly time consuming endeavor. 

For example, it's likely that your warehouse workers have very different concerns than the sales organization. Tweak the email subject line to call out warehouse employees specifically, and add one sentence to the beginning of the message that adds some personalized context to your outreach. This could be a reference to a common departmental concern or simply "Hello, Warehouse Team!" 

Personalization can be as simple as using an Outlook mail merge to address each employee by name at the start of the email. 

3.  The Communication Channel Isn't Effective 

We use a plethora of communication channels on a daily basis, all competing for our mindshare. Some channels, such as email, are shared with our customers, our peers, our managers, our family, and the list goes on. Making an impact may require reaching an employee through a channel that's not shared with countless other people and priorities.

Similarly, if you employ workers without a company-issued computer or email address, email may not be the best way to communicate effectively. And while kiosks and bulletin boards are common practice, they don’t inspire a dialogue and aren’t resources an employee can review on his own schedule. An always-there, mobile channel may be a more effective and engaging alternative. 

There’s also the possibility that a channel is not being used to its full potential. This problem is especially common with intranet portals. Many intranet instances show low levels of user engagement due to a poor user experience, stale content, and a lack of personalization.

When leveraging a self-service channel, optimize it for the end user, keep it up to date, and make it easy to access at any time. If you continually refer employees back to a self-service resource as their primary source of information, the tool can take a lot off your plate and make life easier for your employees.

4.  Communications Could Be More Fun

Can a confusing concept be made into an infographic, or even a video? Can you offer a reward for the first 20 people who complete a required action? Can you get people laughing with that perfect gif? 

More interesting, unique, and engaging communications help to ensure that a message is read, understood, and enjoyed.

Consider incorporating images, video, a personal message from the corporate office, rewards, and gamification into internal communication efforts. 

Low-Cost Tools and Resources:


Piktochart: Create great-looking infographics with zero design skills. 


Biteable: Create animated videos with ease.

Stupeflix: Make videos from photos and other video footage. Add music and text.

Animoto: Similar to Stupeflix. Features a drag-and-drop interface and the ability to add voiceovers. 


GifMaker.me: Everyone loves a good gif. Make them here.

Giphy: Here is the only gif library you'll ever need. Kermit agrees.


5.  Employees Want A Real, Human Connection

As HR professionals, making real, human connections is the ultimate goal. We entered the HR function to help people and achieve business goals.

Unfortunatelyand often due to the many confusing topics HR must speak upon, as well as HR's unofficial role as the police squad of the workforceemployees don't always feel that HR is relatable or able to communicate with them authentically. 

Disseminate information in an approachable, easy-to-understand manner, avoiding HR or benefits jargon wherever possible. Speak to an employee as you would speak to a friend and let your personality shine through where appropriate.

If you don’t show your authentic, human side every so often, people will lose interest and tone you out. Communicate with employees as peoplepeople from all walks of life who look to you for guidance and understanding.

6.  You Should Be Measuring And Modifying

Do you know if employees are reading your communications? Do they understand the information you’re sharing? Do they complete the desired actions?

Without behavioral insights and analytics, it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand the effectiveness of your communication efforts. Measuring interaction and learning from what works and what doesn’t is necessary for fostering truly engaging, intelligent communications.

Where possible, leverage communication channels that offer analytics. A mobile app like EmployeeChannel makes it easy to keep track of communication analytics and determine which messages make an impact. 

Communication is the cornerstone of engagement and HR and Internal Communication teams must leverage a better approach to organizational communication in order to foster more informed, engaged, and productive employees.

Avoid these six common internal communication pitfalls and enjoy a more engaged and informed workforce. Your employees will thank you!


Topics: employee engagement, internal communications

Human Resources Today