Why You Should Be Using Visual Content in Your Employee Communication

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Never has this saying been truer than today, when people are constantly bombarded with content, attention spans are decreasing, and digital and social media platforms are taking over.

With 65% of the population being visual learners and our ever-shrinking attention spans, it is unlikely for someone to choose to stop what they are doing and read a grey block of text.
While marketers and advertisers have picked up on this trend for customers, the same can be said for your employees. Gone are the days that anyone would be interested in reading a thick benefits packet that arrives in their mailbox. Instead, using engaging visual content will be a game-changer.

But... is it possible to really get away from traditional forms of employee communication? The answer is YES! And that is exactly what you should be doing — now is the time to transform your internal communication strategy for good.

What might visual communication include? The list is endless, but here are some possibilities to consider:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Infograhics
  • GIFs
  • Instagram-style stories
  • Reels
  • Charts
  • Illustrations
  • Visual slide decks
  • Memes

By implementing visual internal comms materials, you will:

  1. Engage employees more quickly;
  2. Improve comprehension and retention;
  3. Enhance the overall employee experience; and
  4. Adapt to digital employee communication.

Here’s how.

Effective visuals engage more quickly

It’s no surprise that an image or colorful design will grab someone’s attention faster than plain-old text.

Think about it. When you are scrolling on Instagram or Facebook, do you stop to read a long post with no images? When you are flipping through a magazine, do you go straight to the full-page article? Likely, the answer is no. But why is that?

Most people are visual learners. In addition, research shows that images are processed at least six times faster than words by the human brain. It takes the brain 3.75–7.5 seconds to process a sentence and only 13–150 milliseconds to process an image.

Plus, people have busier and more hectic lives than ever. TLDR — “too long, didn’t read” — has become a common phrase in today’s vernacular. Nobody has time to read a block of text. Instead, they are much more likely to pay attention to an image that can be quickly processed.

Using effective, captivating visuals will grab your employees’ attention much faster than a long email or text-heavy newsletter.

Visual content helps with comprehension and retention

Just grabbing your employees’ attention, however, isn’t enough; you also want to effectively convey your message. Visuals help with this, as they aid in both comprehension and retention.

A study on the effects of text illustrations shows this. Researchers found that the comprehension of text increased from 70% to 95% when visuals were included. There is also a psychological phenomenon known as the “picture superiority effect.” This explains that people are better able to remember things presented as pictures instead of words.

If you have to convey complex information, this might look like charts, diagrams, illustrations, and more. When people can see things portrayed visually, they understand it better. And when they can refer to a memorable image in their mind, they can recall it better.

Do you want your employees to understand and remember the information you are sending their way? Visuals are a sure way to make a difference.

Good communication improves the employee experience

A company’s target audience is no longer just their customers — it’s their employees, too. These days, companies need to “wow” their employees if they want a committed workforce. In other words, you need to exceed your employees' expectations and address their needs in thoughtful and unexpected ways.

Effective visual communication is an essential part of building a positive culture and providing an exceptional experience for your employees — driving employee engagement. That's because visuals can help:

  • Create a distinct brand experience. When you think of brands, you might think of Nike, Gucci, or Apple. But brands are not just for your customers. You should create a brand for your employees, which will make it stand out and help employees feel connected.
  • Provide a consistent communication experience. This could include consistency in colors, design elements, font, and tone. It could also include consistent formats in communication materials. Consistent communication materials will help your employee recognize your employee communication “brand” and pay attention when they see it.
  • Promote unity and sense of belonging among employees. Effective and consistent visual content will pull employees in and help them feel personally connected to the company.
  • Reinforce the company culture. There is no better way to communicate the company's mission, purpose, and values than with visuals. Posters, videos, and other visual materials in various communication channels will go beyond what words can explain. They will help cultivate the feeling you want your employees to have at your company.
  • Foster pride for the organization. Visuals won't just help your team feel connected. Your employees will also feel proud to be a part of the awesome culture and quality work that is being displayed.
  • Guide employees through organizational initiatives and change. Organizations inevitably go through changes — big and small. The number one thing that will help your employees make sense of it all and adapt is effective communication. Visual content will aid the transmission of important information during this crucial time.
  • Motivate and inspire your employees. Visual elements have a much greater power to motivate and inspire than words alone. The colors, the emotions expressed, (the audio and music if it is a video) all contribute to what the viewer feels. You can use the power of visual content to inspire your team and instill the feeling of motivation.

The employee experience is such an important aspect of your company’s success. And effectively applying visuals to your employee communication will dramatically improve this experience.

The digital employee communication trend is growing

We can’t talk about effective communication strategies without addressing the fact that the world is going digital. While print materials certainly have their place, the majority of communication today is online.

Online, simply using text won’t be enough. With digital communication comes the need to stand out with effective visuals. This is true for digital employee communication too.

In the world of digital employee communication, this can look like:

  • A video or Instagram story that explains employee benefits options rather than a thick packet;
  • A well-designed digital flyer rather than a long email; or
  • A user-friendly website rather than a portal that looks like it’s out of the 90s.

With the technology available today, the possibilities for digital employee communication are endless.

In summary…

Visuals are taking over the world of communication today. This is evident on social media platforms, in magazines, in shopping malls, and more. But this is not true just for marketing and advertising. Your internal communication can likewise be more effective for your employees if you effectively incorporate visual materials.

By including visual content in your internal comms materials, you will:

  1. Engage employees more quickly;
  2. Improve comprehension and retention;
  3. Enhance the overall employee experience; and
  4. Adapt to digital employee communication.

Visual content can come in a variety of formats. This might include videos, images, infographics, GIFs, Instagram stories, reels, charts, illustrations, visual slide decks, and memes.

The whole world is adapting its communication style — will you change your internal communication, too? Now is the time to transform your internal communication strategy for good.