Have you ever sent out communication on an important topic only to find out that your workforce did not get or read your message? For most of us, the answer is a resounding yes. Unfortunately, it happens too often, usually manifesting with your employees using phrases such as – “’I’m out of the loop”, “I was never told about that” or “I didn’t see that message.”
It is our role as communicators to craft engaging stories that disseminate important corporate messages to your workforce. That sentence has two parts, content creation and delivery. We spend most of our time thinking about content creation and not enough about its delivery. There is nothing more wasteful than great content that nobody engages with.
In this article, we discuss three challenges that reduce your content engagement and provide ideas to address them.
Challenge #1: Digital channels not reaching your entire workforce.
Surprisingly, for most mid-size organizations, the answer is no. Most frontline employees do not have access to as many communication channels as office workers. For example, their lack of computer access makes corporate email, email newsletters and the corporate Intranet irrelevant channels for them.
Unfortunately, most organizations deploy communication channels that forces the entire workforce to use one or two of them regardless of fit. For example, we have worked with several clients that were dissatisfied with their Intranet or their communication mobile app. The challenge usually was not the platform itself but the lack of integration of these channels to maximize reach and ensure one conversation centered around your content (see this post with an in-depth explanation: (Why omnichannel is the only path forward – Sparrow (sparrowconnected.com))
As a communicator, your strategy needs to include everyone from the intern to the CEO, from the frontline workers to the back office and factory floor. To figure out the actual potential reach of each of your communication channels, we created a simple formula to help (see our article – What is the potential reach of your comms channels? Here is some quick and easy math to help – Sparrow)
But how do we engage via digital channels with frontline workers? There are several channels that have proven very effective at engaging with these workers and they include mobile apps, SMS and voice.
There are currently 3.5 billion smartphone users worldwide (Statista, 2019).Considering the total number of people using phones globally is at 4.8 billion,
that means that nearly 73 percent of them are smartphones users. This combined with the fact that the adults in North America are spending more time using their smartphones than watching TV makes Mobile Apps an ideal candidate to reach your frontline workers. (average smartphone use in 2019 – 3 hours and 43 minutes vs. average TV viewing time – 3 hours and 35 minutes).
Of course, not all mobile apps are created equal so choose careful, here is a quick guide on the 3 Things to Think About Before Picking a Mobile App for Corporate Communications – Sparrow (sparrowconnected.com)
Challenge #2: One-way instead of two-way communication
Workforce communication should never be one-way. One of your goals as a communicator is to promote productive and meaningful conversations among your entire workforce.
Employees crave the opportunity to provide input and have their voices heard. No message or communication should be out of bounds, from critical issues faced by the organization, to the corporate strategy, to what type of coffee and food to serve at the next Christmas party. Whatever the topic, the information gleaned from encouraging healthy employee communication will transform your business for the better.
Interaction should not be limited to your peers though. You need to ensure that your leaders participate and encourage a safe space to have the two way conversations.
Challenge #3: Workforce time constrains
Your employees face constraints on their free time, which affects their ability to keep abreast of internal information. For your communication to be effective, you need to make sure the message is concise, targeted, and integrated with their daily routine. Let’s look at each attribute in detail.
Blaise Pascal said it best: “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” Spend the time to make your messages as short as possible. Beautifully crafted content is concise, uses plain language, its easy to read and comprehend. Save your employees time and they will in return spend more time engaging with your communication.
Targeting is an essential in internal communications today. Employees should only receive information that is highly relevant to them. This could be based on their interests, role, location, tenure and whatever other criteria makes sense in your organization.
For example, Washington-based employees should not receive messages about the Detroit Christmas Party.
Save me time and effort from sifting through messages that are not relevant to me and in return I’ll spend more time engaging with your communication.
Most companies still use two channels to communicate with their employees – email and the corporate Intranet. These channels are a starting point, but they are typically not integrated with the daily workflow for most employees.
Going to the Intranet to check content is a disruption that most employees can hardly afford. This translates in engagement with Intranets sitting around 15%. Or to put it another way, 4 out 5 employees will miss your content entirely.
The Email channel suffers from a different problem, namely overuse. We get too many emails on too many different topics. “Having too many tasks or emails that are unresolved is something we call ‘open loops,’” explains Karen Meager, co-founder of career coaching consultancy Monkey Puzzle Training. “They’re thought streams that you start but don’t close off. They stay open in your mind, draining your energy and concentration. This can have a huge effect on wellbeing.”
The solution is to have communication channels that seamlessly integrate with your employees’ digital systems. If I spend most of my working day in MS Teams, then shouldn’t my relevant corporate communication be in MS Teams too? That way, I can quickly check it out without having to leave the platform.
What you truly need is a platform that seamlessly integrate with as many channels as possible, a platform that learns your employees’ preferences and sends the right message via the right channels.
If you are ready for a modern, vibrant communication platform, we’d like to introduce you to Sparrow.
If you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.