Your communications strategy powers your organization’s communications. It targets your audience so they get the right information at the right time, helping to make organizational goals a reality. It provides business acumen — what’s happening in the industry, not just at your company – so employees are better informed.
Some of the ingredients to a killer strategy include the following:
1. Be diverse in lots of ways
You know you can’t communicate through the same channels all the time. Some people love video. Some love email. Some people love meetings.
Variety in your communications team and stakeholders
You need a diverse team – people who think differently. You also need people outside your team who can provide feedback. The more diverse the team, usually the better the communications. Why? You’re thinking about the content and what needs to be communicated from all sides.
Variety of channels
Usually the best answer is variety, not just one channel, when communicating information. Some of the best channels are:
- Voicemail, phone
- Flyers, posters and brochures
- Internal social media
- Break rooms, elevators, water coolers and smoking areas – places where people discuss news
- Magazines and newsletters
Variety of content types
There should also be diversity in the types of content to ensure you’re communicating in the ways people learn — visual, auditory and kinesthetic. By communicating each way, you’re making sure people get the information they need, the way they prefer.
Some of the best content types:
- Face-to-face meetings with questions and feedback
- Peer sharing
- Web conferencing and video meetings
- Phone meetings and podcasts
- Flyers, posters and brochures
- Infographics and graphics
- Comments in social media, interactive
2. Follow up, seek feedback and repeat
Also, important to ensuring people understand is to follow up — to ask them if they understand. That way, you know for certain whether they know what’s happening and why. It also helps you ensure you can answer questions.
- Talk to employees – lots of different employees – at least daily. Going for coffee, grabbing a few minutes in the break room or randomly calling people will help ensure you’re getting the feedback you need.
- Enable employees to ask questions online anonymously as well as provide anonymous online feedback.
- Hold intranet contests to ensure they understand, giving them prizes and recognition. Managers deserve their own contest to motivate them to communicate.
- Pivot when information isn’t successfully understood, trying new channels and new ways of communicating.
- Repeat. Depending on the information, it takes 5 – 7 times for employees to be aware of it, process it, understand it and then internalize it. The bigger the change, the more times it needs to be communicated the more ways it needs to be communicated.
3. Ask leaders to communicate
You know through engagement surveys and turnover data, people listen to their managers. But your biggest issue is that managers aren’t communicating information.
What’s the issue? Managers manage people and lack of time makes it difficult to communicate effectively. But there are other issues — not understanding expectations and unclear communication from internal communicators.
- Give them communication talking points on their dedicated intranet site. Let them figure out how to communicate with their teams — individually or in groups.
- Provide training, including on communication.
- Make them responsible for that communication.
- Check in with them, individually if you can, to ensure they know what to say and when to say it.
- Ask them for feedback, including barriers to communicating and then help them remove those barriers.
4. Get a modern intranet
If your intranet isn’t pulling its weight, you’re using the wrong intranet. Modern intranets enable you to target your audiences, measure communication effectiveness, plan news, provide meaningful search results, get work done and more.
In other words, modern intranets make it easy for you to communicate with employees. Good intranets power communications — they’re your main vehicle to talk with employees.
- Target communication through personalization engines across your intranet, including notifications and news.
- Collaborate and interact through comments and real-time sharing of documents.
- Provide news channels for people to subscribe to.
- Make search meaningful.
- Improve navigation to ensure people can get where they need at-a-glance.
- Update pages easily and quickly.
- Provide information that’s mobile-friendly, enabling employees to view information on their terms.
- Use metrics that give detailed information on who’s viewing intranet pages.
Don’t let your communications strategy die. If employees aren’t getting the information they need, when they need it — look to how you’re delivering that information. Vary that communication. Get feedback. Lean on managers. And use an intranet to reinforce the way they’re getting information. It could make the difference between meeting organizational strategy … and not.