Effective Employee communications can be difficult, no matter how well organized and diligent you are. Ask any human resources or information technology executive about getting employees to acknowledge a change or to get something done by a due date — you will no doubt hear some war stories.
These internal employee communications war stories might go something like this:
“IT announced 6 months in advance we were retiring our old conference room software and replacing it with new software. We sent several email reminders, we posted announcements in each conference room, and we held training classes, but very few people attended. We supported redundancy for a full month. Then the day came that we officially retired the old software. Our support staff was bombarded with complaints about missing software, complaints that the change was not announced, and more.”
“HR always starts communicating with staff about benefits open enrollment well in advance, typically 60 days. This gives people plenty of time to review options, discuss it with their family, and make informed choices. We send email announcements and reminders, we post flyers, and have presentations that very few people attend. Inevitably, there will be many people who don’t take action on time, haven’t opened or read the materials, or tell us they didn’t know it was happening. We brace ourselves for it every year.”
What does the research tell us about employee communication?
Research tells that these war stories are real. This Benefits Communication Survey conducted by the The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans found that the top challenge (80%) for employee benefits communication is that employees do not read/open the materials.
How can employee internal communication be improved?
There are many best practice resources for internal communications out there. For instance, this article If Employees Aren’t Reading (or Even Opening) Emails, Here Are 5 Things to Do Differently offers advice for improving emails to employees. And MIT Just Discovered How to Get Employees to Pay Attention offers tips for creating content that will pique your staff’s interest.
What’s the best tool for employee communication? Text Messaging!
One thing is for certain, you can write interesting content and deliver it through a variety of channels, but if no one is opening or reading it, it won’t be effective. Consider this scenario: people may have email filters that dump all HR emails into a folder they rarely open. This is because they receive HR emails they never needed or no longer need, like a weekly timecard reminder.
There is however, one communication channel that people consistently pay attention to: SMS. Everyone has text messaging, they are brief so they don’t lose people’s attention, and they support URLs for directing staff to additional information. When’s the last time you received a text and didn’t pick up your phone to check it out? You probably can’t remember. Chances are your employees are the same as you.
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