Best practices for analyzing your company’s digital landscape — leading to more effective internal communication

Capturing the time and attention of employees when communicating about your company’s benefits and perks isn’t easy. However, you can follow a few basic steps to increase employees’ knowledge of their employee benefits. This includes helping employees know how to best use company-provided healthcare coverage.

First, we’ll take a broad look at planning your communication. Then, we’ll take a deeper dive into message development and reviewing your digital landscape.

Steps for effective internal communication

Taking time upfront to plan will pay off with more effective communication.

  1. Identify your audience. For instance, is your messaging intended for all employees or a select group, such as just managers?
  2. Determine what you want your message to be. Remember: too many messages at once will not engage employees. It may confuse people and ruin chances of getting future communication noticed and valued.
  3. Establish your communication goals. Are you looking to inform your employees of a new benefit or keep them up to date on company news? Regardless, figuring out your goals can help you decide what steps are needed to persuade your employees to act. Setting communication goals goes together with determining messages. For instance, you can’t expect most employees to change behavior if you don't provide them with all the information. You also need to provide a strong, clear call to action.
  4. Develop your communication strategy to include messaging, timing, goals, and communication channels. A multi-layered strategy can be effective for delivering messages to different audiences. It involves using different channels for different messages and goals.

Communication channels

When developing your strategy keep in mind all the channels you can use to communicate. Here are some examples of different types of communication you could use.

Digital examples

  • Corporate intranet
  • Benefits website
  • Wellness website
  • Text messages
  • Videos (including interactive videos)
  • Electronic banners
  • Blogs
  • Digital chat
  • Games
  • GIFs
  • Digital guides
  • Signage in lobbies, break rooms, and manufacturing floors
  • PPT presentations
  • Newsletters
  • Flyers 
  • Social media
  • Podcasts
  • Online polls

Print examples

  • Newsletters
  • Postcards
Other examples
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Town Hall and other in-person group meetings
  • One-on-one meetings

Considering all the ways to reach employees, why does it sometimes seem like many aren’t getting the message?

This may be happening because the message isn't effective. It isn’t enough to just put information out there for employees. To be effective, and, to get results, internal communication must be well-thought out and expertly executed. There are a few considerations when developing your message.

Message development

Messages need to be attractively presented to get the most attention. Keep this in mind when developing digital communication, as well as printed materials. Most digital platforms support typography. Some offer great formats for presenting complex material visually, which makes content easier to understand.

Messages need to engage the targeted audience — and employees need to care about what is being communicated. Employee engagement is one of the most important tools in any company tool belt, but it doesn’t come automatically. Gallup, an analytics and advisory company, has said “employee engagement is a foundational component to workplace outcomes.” Read more about employee engagement in the Gallup article “Your Business Strategy Hinges on Employee Engagement.”

Messages need to be consistent and repeated. Employees need to hear messages more than once to fully comprehend them and take the necessary next steps. Catching employees in different ways and at different times reinforces messaging and reminds employees about messaging. An article on LinkedIn, “The power of message consistency and repetition”, discusses the need for repeated messaging.

Consistency helps solidify messaging. For instance, if you are communicating about healthcare benefits, let the branding work for you. Make sure the look and feel is the same in all communication. If employees see branding consistency in communication, recognition can open the door and employees will get to the message sooner.

Additionally, nearly all messages benefit from the usage of more than one delivery channel for message reinforcement. Additionally, different phases or channels can be timed to focus on different communication goals.

Using digital channels

There are many options for digital communication, and for good reason.

Digital communication:

  • Reaches employees on devices they are already using. So, you meet employees where they are.
  • Offers the ability to target specific audiences.
  • Communicates in clear, concise messaging containing only information needed at that time (just-in-time messaging).
  • Provides frameworks that can usually be updated quickly.
  • Offers a variety of formats to repeat messaging.
  • Can be easily and conveniently stored, for use as needed. If you create a website with information about employee healthcare, employees can view it no matter where they are.

Best practices for analyzing your digital landscape

Use the best channel for your messages.

Start out by taking an inventory of your current digital landscape and keep it updated. Digital communication channels continue to evolve. More channels are becoming available, and capabilities continue to change.

Check analytics, when possible, to see how many times the message was viewed and how long employees spent with the message. Track employee response. For instance, see how many employees took the requested action. If analytics aren’t being gathered, be sure to check how you can start tracking data.

Switch up the communication channels every once in a while. If you see a channel isn’t working, change how you use it or use it less frequently. Stay open to using new digital channels made available to your company. Pivoting your digital strategies and implementation helps you stay relevant and current

Use the correct channel for your messaging.

Here are just some of the digital channels, their advantages and possible best uses.

Websites (such as benefits, wellness, financial and incentive programs)

Some advantages include:

  • Visual presentation
  • Convenient access to information 24/7 on different devices
  • Encourages employee interaction
  • Can be used for quick hits of information and for details
  • Information can be segmented for various audiences
  • Can include a social posting feature furthering employee engagement
  • Depending on security preferences, can be viewed by non-employees (e.g., family members)

Possible communication uses include:

  • Benefits and perks and resources
  • Employee testimonials
  • Visually breaking down complicated or detailed material to aid in understanding
  • Social postings

Some advantages include:

  • Timely information communicated in a visual format, can be personalized, and delivered to targeted audiences
  • Possible communication uses include:
  • Program updates and changes
  • A how-to and direction of where to find more details and resources
  • Visually present complicated or detailed material to aid in understanding
  • Link to more digital content
Videos (including interactive videos)

Some advantages include:

  • Format allows for entertaining, engaging, educational presentation
  • Can further engage employees through interaction

Possible communication uses include:

  • Program explanations, changes, or highlights
  • Policies
  • Employee testimonials
Electronic banners

Some advantages include:

  • Short messages
  • Can provide a quick snapshot of such information
  • Can list resource(s)

Possible communication uses include:

  • Short messages like benefit enrollment dates
  • Program announcements
  • Website addresses
Text messages

Some advantages include:

  • Short messages
  • Reaches employees quickly
  • Easily targets audiences
  • Reinforces other communication

Possible communication uses include:

  • Short messages like benefit enrollment dates, website addresses
Blogs and podcasts

Some advantages include:

  • Detailed information can be communicated to employees with a personal, creditable touch

Possible communication uses include:

  • Personal stories and/or interviews from employees who have used a certain benefit
  • Subject matter experts (i.e., a new healthcare plan)
  • Statistics and case histories
Digital chat

Some advantages include:

  • Provides quick feedback for employees with questions, such as about healthcare, other benefits, or perks

Possible communication uses include:

  • All benefits and company perks
  • Quick reminders
  • Bite-sized messages

Some advantages include:

  • Allows for details
  • Can be easily kept for reference
  • Provide a nice touchpoint for companies to keep employees informed and engaged

Possible communication uses include:

  • One-spot communication for all types of information about company benefits, perks, and announcements
  • Can be easily stored for future reference

Planning an effective internal communication strategy using the right channels can be a bit overwhelming. We can help!