Sometimes knowing what to say and when to say it can be difficult. But when considering internal communication, being able to choose the right messages for employees is an important part. It's a key piece to having an impactful total rewards strategy. If you plan carefully, you might just improve the overall employee experience too. I mean, who doesn't want that?!
A strong communication strategy with the right messaging can:
- Inform employees of important details and news.
- Create a strong work culture and corporate identity.
- Build a relationship with your employees and increase transparency.
- Encourage employee feedback and increase trust.
Let's dive into our top six tips for how to choose the right messages to send to employees, shall we?
1. Identify your goals
First, when you're considering the messages going out to employees, it's helpful to think about the desired outcome. This helps give a baseline to start working from. If you don't have a starting point, you'll have no direction on where to go next.
One way to help identify your goals is to think back on why you want to communicate the info you have. For example, are you trying to inform employees of news from human resources or change employee behavior? Are you trying to engage and inspire employees in turn creating a positive workplace culture? Once you identify your “why”, you can begin thinking about your “how”. It can be an overwhelming process, but we're here to help!
2. Know your audience
One way to communicate successfully to employees is to get to know your employee population. There are several ways that can help you get to know your audience. Different research methods can have unique and very different results depending on the type of information you’re interested in collecting. A cost graph and a satisfaction survey are very different ways of giving important information.
- Consider qualitative methods: Qualitative research focuses on gathering and interpreting non-numerical data. This method allows space for subjective interpretations and offers some flexibility in formatting. Some examples include interviews, focus groups, and observation.
- Consider quantitative methods: Quantitative research focuses on gathering objective numerical data, such as statistics and numbers. This method focuses on analyzing numerical data to understand trends or potential connections. Some examples include engagement surveys, reports, and questionnaires.
We recommend a combo of both qualitative and quantitative methods when you're trying to figure all of this out. This gives you a bigger selection of findings and lets you get a good starting point. It also allows you to gain more insight into how your employees feel. This is so important to do so you're not focusing on just one method alone.
3. Understand your population
You also have to be able to understand exactly who you're talking to. Otherwise, employees feel like Ferris Bueller listening to his economics teacher talk for hours. The information will feel like it is monotoned and no one will be able to retain the info they need. It’s so important to identify the personalities of your employees and how those might influence their preferred communication methods.
Every company’s employee population is unique. For example, if many young people in your population use computers all day, you may consider sending them emails. But, if your population is older or if a majority of your employees work out in the field, you might want to look into sending out home mailers instead. Identifying what makes your population unique will also help you find how to best communicate to them.
Building a connection with your employees is important. It can be a large factor in how they perceive the company. This can be even more important when it comes to remote employees. There are a few different ways you can ensure your communication is coming across well. We have more information on how you can ensure your remote employees are engaged in another blog of ours 😉
4. Create your strategy
Once you’ve figured out what your goals are, you can build a strategy that will help you communicate in an effective and purposeful way. Your strategy should be comprehensive — use a format that feels comfortable for you — and be sure to build in all the key messaging that will help guide your communication.
Here's some tips for creating a strong and effective internal communication strategy:
- Review what’s worked in the past: Sometimes it helps to reference what’s worked (and hasn’t worked) in the past to communicate to employees. This is an opportunity to use what’s been successful and to grow where necessary.
- Identify the communication vehicles: A good strategy uses different kinds of communication tactics to inform and meet employee's needs and preferences. This can include emails, home mailers, intranets, onsite and digital signage, printed flyers, text messaging, and so many more. Consider what mixture of tactics is right for that specific campaign and your employee population.
- Stay mindful of timing: When rolling out a campaign, you should always be mindful of what other communications employees are receiving around the same time. There are also other factors like the time of year, day of the week, and time of day you’re sending messages. For example, sending an email after 4pm is probably a time people will be so checked out they will just delete a mass email. All these factors can impact how employees engage with your communication.
- Involve multiple stakeholders and teams: For some campaigns, the stakeholder group involved in the messaging may be a small one. But for others, like benefits changes, you might want to consider bringing in a few more subject matter experts who may want to be involved as well. This can help you be sure you're not missing any important information.
- Identify how you’ll measure success: Whether it’s enrollment in a medical plan, clicks on a webpage, questions to your HR call center, or views on a video, it’s important to identify how you'll measure success. This helps you figure out the success of your campaign and how to identify potential opportunities for improvement in the future.
5. Stay nimble.
Internal communication shouldn’t be static. It should be a conversation you have with employees — a two-way street that allows for a great back and forth. There should be a healthy flow of communication and interaction between everyone.
Once you’ve created your employee communication strategy and have started to implement the tactics, be sure to take some time to reflect and consider:
- Are employees receiving and truly understanding the messaging?
- Is the messaging as effective as it can be?
- What improvements can be made to make things more effective?
- How can we build on successes and learn from past mistakes?
Once you’ve answered those questions, think about whether or not there are actions you need to take while the campaign is ongoing. Maybe something like adding in a new email to alleviate any confusion or sending text messages to engage uninformed employees can help. Sometimes staying agile and treating the strategy like an ongoing plan can help you deliver the right messaging at the right time.
6. Keep evolving.
Once your campaign is over, you might be tempted to use the same communication strategy for other projects and campaigns in the future. I mean it worked once so why not use it again, right? And while some details you used in your communication can be references, we definitely recommend getting a fresh perspective for each campaign you create. You might even want new people to take a look at the new communication to make sure there's no overlap.
No one wants to see the same thing over and over even though the words might be a little different or a picture might be swapped out. This will help you to figure out how to create a custom communication strategy that will meet that campaign’s goals. Also remember, you did a GREAT JOB, and your team deserves a pat on the back.
Wrapping it all up
As you create your internal communication plans and materials, choosing the right things to say and what specific messaging you want to use is super important. It's like merging the perfect mix of lemonade and iced tea to make an Arnold Palmer. The two mixed together are always going to be great, but each person is a little different when it comes to taste, so we need to find the middle ground.
There’s a lot of value in understanding your organization and connecting with your employees in a meaningful way. Don't be afraid to ask for employee feedback on what can be done better next time. Need some inspiration? PartnerComm is always here to help! 🤝