4 min read
It may be nearing the end of 2017, but before I can kick my feet up and relax with a mug of hot cocoa, I know there’s still so much work to be done in these last couple of weeks. In my role as Global Employee Communications Evangelist, my primary goal is to be here to help our clients get the word out about their latest initiatives quickly, efficiently and (most importantly), effectively.
Over the last 10 years as a communications strategist, I’ve learned a lot. The best overarching tip I have for you is to think of your employee communications tactics as being proactive versus reactive.
It sounds simple, but forgetting to plan ahead is the top employee communications mistake I constantly see.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you formulate your own employee communications plan for 2018 (and beyond):
You’ve probably heard of the “SMART” method in creating goals, which stands for making your goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable and Relevant. My colleague Debra has written on this very topic when it comes to HR campaigns, which I could argue are the same principles to apply to employee communications. In her blog, she changed the word “actionable” to “agreed,” which brings me to my second point …
When putting together a communications plan, it can be easy to get silo’ed and have tunnel vision. Sometimes, being so focussed on your own particular SMART goal — maybe it’s registrations to a specific benefit you’re launching, or more engagement with employee stories around your office — leaves room to forget about the other people on your external teams. Improving employee collaboration and thinking beyond just the people team, or the marketing team (whomever is owning the initiative) and talk to your product teams, your leadership team and others to understand their timelines and big goals.
Is there a way you can work together to draw more attention to either team’s initiatives, or is there something you’re planning that will bring in conflicting messaging for your employees?
One mistake I often see is pushing out too many communications at once. While the medium type can get confused if you’re using too many methods, you can also confuse the messaging if your employees have too much choice. Narrowing your focus to make the most of one or two big campaigns and messaging can have a larger impact than multiple small ones. My colleague Cat has a few great posts on breaking through to millennials through employee communications in particular.
It’s important to identify champions among your employees, especially if you’re testing out a new employee benefit or communicating among a offline workforce, as they can help you spread your message far and wide.
But sharing your people plans with key members of your leadership team (if they weren’t already involved) can help secure champions in other ways, too.
If you have a regular spot for leadership blogs on your internal communications platform or elsewhere, you can use these channels to shine a spotlight on your initiatives to drive more engagement. Plus, working with your leadership team brings better alignment to core people goals and business strategy so employees can understand the why behind your communications.
Another way to create a culture of champions? Ask your employees how they want to hear about certain things, too. Using a simple one-question survey on preferred channels, for example, can help you determine how to best segment your communications based on demographic, location or role. Some common examples include email, blogs, social posts, hearing about it from their manager, or having an all-hands employee presentation (roadshow) to learn more in the moment.
Getting employees involved in your planning and communications and taking that proactive versus reactive approach means a higher chance that your initiative will succeed. As I work with more of our 1,700+ clients to get the word out, I’ll be sharing more tips and tricks to help you improve your employee communications.
Pippa Arthur-Van Praagh
Pippa is our Global Employee Communications Evangelist. Along with over a decade of expertise in creating engaging employee communications, Pippa tried her hand out at professional roller skating as a child. She decided on the comms path instead.