Meeting“Out with the old and in with the new”

If you are anything like me, this has been your mantra as we come to the end of the spring cleaning season. It is a season for renewal, and for purging those things from our homes that weigh us down. That sweater you have not worn in 3 years, those VHS tapes collecting dust in the basement, or toys your children have outgrown.

However, spring cleaning is not limited to just the home. Companies all over the world are positioning themselves for a better year than the last, purging antiquated behaviors to make room for fresh ideas and new trends. One area companies are focusing on in particular is their Internal Communications Plan.

If you are hoping to breathe life and continuity into your company’s internal comms, here are 3 approaches you should consider:

 

Share your story

We are humans. I know, an obvious statement. As humans, we have an innate desire to connect to something bigger than ourselves. I am positive you already quantify the work your employees do and pat them on the back when the numbers show they are doing well. I do not want to disregard those efforts at all, but I do want to up the ante and say you can do better!

So what is it you should be communicating to your employees? Shel Holtz hits the nail on the head in “The Case for Internal Communications”:

“[Employees] want leaders to excite them, inspire them, and help them feel like they’re part of something bigger than just their own jobs. They want to know that their employers’ values align with their own.”

I come to work every day with individuals I consider family. There is not a week that goes by where leaders in my company are not inspiring me and connecting me to the mission and principles of our business. I am reminded that I am bigger than the day-to-day tasks I complete, that I am part of a larger operation that is changing the world and the way we communicate.

If you can accomplish this same inspiring dialogue in your organization, you’re doing something right. Not only will your employees’ morale increase, but tangible benefits like lower turnover will follow as well.

Your audience is NOT the entire company

Okay, sometimes it is. Sometimes you need to communicate company-wide updates on policies, branding, or personnel. The rest of the time, however, you should focus on the different groups that make up your company.

Just like every child is different inside of a family, each group inside of an organization is unique and should be treated as such. Structuring your internal comms around this truth can boost read rates and ensure that your employees are connected and receiving tailored information to help them with their daily jobs. Ken Makovsky said it best:

“The single biggest factor influencing open and click-through rates is shaping your message to each defined target, rather than sending the same message to all 29,000 employees at once.”

Ken is referencing email, but no matter the channel – your communications are more likely to be considered and reviewed by employees if they feel connected to the subject matter of the message, which is best done by tailoring separate communications to specific audiences.

 

Remember: Success takes a village

One of the biggest pieces of advice that I stress over and over again with our clients is that communication goes beyond the communications team. Effective communication in an organization requires empowering individuals at all levels to act as ambassadors to your internal comms mission.

Mid-level management is more likely to communicate effectively, when given the right tools, with front-line employees because they know those employees better than someone sitting in a corporate office. Employees connect better with people they know and trust.

Shel Holtz cites a French study confirming this notion:

“…Tapping a middle-level group of influencers produced significantly greater reach for a message than having the same number of senior executives deliver the same message.”

 

With these 3 ideas in mind, let’s go back to our cluttered internal communications closet and clean out the cob webs, the old school behaviors and bring in a new and more intentional plan. Share your story, not just numbers, and allow individuals from all corners of your organization to communicate for you to both the masses and in strategic groups.

Get connected, get creative and never forget that communications may be about your company, but it is for your employees.