If content is king (as the saying goes), cadence is queen.

Even the most robust and relevant employee engagement communication strategy will fall flat if messages aren’t delivered via the right medium at the right time. Employees rely on internal communications channels as trusted sources of company news and announcements. However, employees are also fickle and will quickly start relying on other sources of truth (i.e. water cooler chatter) if they can’t find what they need.

There’s no one-size-fits-all publication cadence to gain and retain engagement with your employees.

It varies according to medium type (video, email, IM), corporate culture and leadership style.

As a communicator, you should start your employee engagement communication planning with an audit of all the tools in your toolbox, including one-way and two-way communication vehicles. The end goal is a detailed playbook of when, how and how often to use each channel – along with which teams should be responsible for updates. 

Short, factual messages – an office closing due to inclement weather, for example – can be templated out and handed over to teams like facilities or maintenance. They can fill in relevant content in real time and push messaging out – with little or no involvement from the comms team. Leaning into the self-service aspect of internal communications tools empowers each team of experts to push out the right messages to the right audience.

Reward Gateway’s employee communications solution offers analytics capabilities that help you determine what messages are reaching your people, in what format, and at what times. This visibility helps you gauge the reach and efficacy of your comms and tweak your methods until you get the results you need.

While there is no silver bullet, here are a few guidelines per channel type:

When does email work best?

Reserve email for complex messages or those that require multiple sources of input.With COVID and remote and hybrid working environments accelerating the adoption of internal messaging channels like Slack, Teams and Yammer (to name a few), email is losing ground in relevancy. However, there are still times it’s best to employ email:

  • When you have a detailed, yet important business update people may need to refer back to or archive (earnings results, changes in leadership, end of year recaps, new product announcements, for example). 
  • You want to hit a global audience all at once, with the same exact message (just remember to build in time for translation if necessary!).
  • Sensitive messages requiring multiple departments to sign off (such as legal, HR and brand). The last thing you want to do is ask a busy executive to re-record a message because the brand team didn’t agree with the way they referred to a product. 
  • While you can push out email content as often as daily, that doesn’t mean you should. Assuming the type of and length of your email content varies, two to three times a week maximum is ideal.

Reward Gateway’s comms solution offers scheduling and segmentation capabilities that enable you to target your messages to your audiences – at the right time. And, combined with our email blast feature that tags your big news with ‘Important’, you can ensure that your employees see the messages most important to their roles right away.

Keep content short with instant messaging

Use instant messaging for short messages – especially those that don't demand a response.While you’ve been reading this blog, no doubt thousands of messages have been exchanged via your internal social media platform. So when and how often should your corporate messaging jump into that fray? Instant messaging is perfect for:

  • Timely reminders like announcements regarding on-site events (for those still in a physical space) or countdowns to Town Hall Zoom meetings.
  • Keep it true to the space: Bite-sized announcements are all you need to catch the attention of your employees. Don’t skimp out on the important details, but don’t wax poetic, either. Instant messages are ideal for short and sweet messages that can be consumed in under two minutes.
  • Provide a designated FAQ space (whether that’s a Slack channel or Teams space or a section on your internal engagement platform), where team members can go to ask additional questions. Link directly to this repository in your short-form copy to make access simple and immediate.

Since instant messaging is an instant-gratification medium, there’s really no limit to how often you can or should push out customized content. Just remember, your messaging will be fighting for air time with everyone else’s, so brevity and clarity are crucial.

Reward Gateway also integrates fluidly with instant messaging services like Slack and Microsoft Teams, which allows you to set up automatic signposts to resources – where your people already are.

Video as the goldilocks of content

Use video when personality and emotion are important to convey, or when technical details are confusing.If a picture is worth a thousand words…a video is – by very definition – a thousand pictures. Nuanced or complex messaging is best served in this space. Additionally:

  • Video is the perfect medium when you want an executive’s personality and emotion to shine through. It’s the only channel where a wink and a smile can be properly delivered, without any risk of your employees misreading the true intent. 
  • If you have a charismatic leader, one who is comfortable in front of the camera (even in tough situations), video messaging can be your best friend. It humanizes your leadership. 
  • What used to require lighting, boom mics and a ton of time in an editing bay can now be done with much less technology – even just your phone and a tripod in a pinch.
  • While the resources needed to deliver video content have become less intense, it still takes a lot of energy to consume it. So, use video sparingly. 

Ultimately, by delivering messaging optimized for each channel with drumbeat regularity, you’ll gain trust with your employee base and get more eyes on your valuable content. You instantly win, allowing team members to pick and choose the internal news channels most relevant to them and/or their role. 

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Klara Owens

Klara is passionate about spreading our mission to Make the World a Better Place to Work and connecting as many people as possible. With a background in Client Success, Klara has worked with our clients to enhance their EVPs and is now championing this internally at Reward Gateway.

Global Internal Communications and Engagement Lead

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