Trash that email - it’s time to start making content your employees want to consume.
Communicating information to employees and ensuring that each piece of content is engaging is a “must do” for modern companies. A few things are key to consider, like; we’re drowning in content, attention spans are shorter than ever and at the same time, engaged employees are key to company success.
Which poses the questions: which creative methods are available to companies who want to communicate with employees more easily? Below, we’ve condensed seven exciting examples which aren’t crazily unobtainable for companies that want to improve communication and get creative with their internal messaging.
Not just at work, but also in our personal lives, we’re drowning in content. Emails, messages, group chats, social media. Studies suggest that we now spend one day every week online checking content from our smartphones. For most of us, that feels like too much and as a result, channels where information can be condensed or accessed faster are essential methods of communication.
When it comes to communicating information to employees, video is a great tool. Something we’re in the habit of at ScreenCloud is ensuring that if we can make a video or screen-recording to share an idea, rather than a long document or process, then we will.
One tool we use for screen recordings to share what we’ve been working on is Loom.
Most employees will consume video in their everyday lives, whereas not all employees may be active readers. Within the video format, there’s also room to get creative and go outside of the boundaries of traditional company-to-employee communications.
One type which may help employee communication is the popular “AMA - Ask Me Anything” format. This is where a CEO, or someone of interest, answers pre-set or live questions on camera.
This is a public AMA with Zoho founder Sridhar Vembu, but could just as easily be an internal video.
This is a great way to open up communication and make things fun while communicating between different members of the team.
If you find that meetings overrun, or leave employees feeling drained of energy, try this bookend meeting tactic. At the beginning of the week, each team or department hosts a 15-20 minute meeting. Different companies call them different things, for example at ScreenCloud we call this our “Monday WIP” (Work In progress) but we’ve heard other companies call it a “Weekly commit” or a “Monday stand up”.
This is then followed by a similar meeting at the end of the week (hence the term “bookend”) that might discuss what’s happened that week, or celebrate the progress different teams have made.
The benefit of the bookend meeting is that it focuses everyone’s mind on what they need to achieve that week, and provides some accountability or the chance to raise issues which may have hindered progress, while they’re still fresh. It also allows everyone to clap for other people’s wins, which is a pretty positive way to end the week.
As part of the same study around digital smartphone use, 54% of people admitted they interrupted face-to-face conversions in order to look at their phone and 43% admitted to spending too much time online. During the work environment, employees that are checked into their smartphones or computers, are going to struggle to take in other forms of communication.
It’s why we love digital noticeboards as a form of internal communication.
Communicating with employees through digital screens around the office places an onus on passive content consumption. Employees already have to check their email, Slack, voicemail, the company wiki and so on. Screens which push out information help them to have another source of content - just not one that they have to manually check.
One of our office screens that helps the marketing team to celebrate social media milestones.
The bonus of course, is that digital screens can be pioneered, or shared, by any department. They can be used to connect customer service data studios, important notices from HR, stats from marketing or broadcast takeovers from the CEO.
If you need help implementing your own digital screens, check out our free trial.
We often think about teaser campaigns in advertising, building the hype, getting people to buy into the messaging. What about using the same theory for communicating new ideas, launches or rebrands to employees?
One successful teaser campaign example was Virgin’s treasure hunt to mark the launch of its new loyalty program. Here, golden coins were hidden around the UK and on specific websites for users to find, with the best coin hunters winning a trip to Necker Island, Branson’s famous private island.
When designing an internal teaser campaign it’s important to think about any sensitivities first. Company change can spark fears of restructuring and redundancy so the last thing you want to do is feed into this. Internal teaser campaigns tend to work best when you want to build a buzz around something exciting that employees know is coming.
For example, creating a countdown to a new office launching is a great way to build buzz:
You could also create a scavenger hunt around your office, to help employees find clues about an upcoming launch or release. This builds excitement and will be a learning opportunity if the clues relate to features of the product or other information they may need to remember.
Many of us have employee information at our fingertips (or stored in a company HR system at least) but not many companies use that information to build better employee communications,
One example we used was asking every ScreenCloud team member to come up with “two truths and one lie” about themselves, which were posted on a weekly basis to our Slack channel.
The team could then use Simple Poll to make their guess on which one was the lie and at the end of the week, the team member could reveal the lie, and therefore some interesting stuff about themselves to the rest of the team.
With any employee system or intranet, turning data into gaming is a great way to get employees communicating with each other more. One example could be asking new employees to fill in their top three most interesting jobs, and getting employees to guess which job belongs to which person.
It’s one thing to consider how to communicate information down to employees, but what about the way employees communicate back? Letting employees lead with their own communications gives a voice to everyone in the company, and will likely surface thoughts, feelings and ideas that marry great work. Stats from the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer suggest that 52% of consumers trust an "average" employee more than the CEO, and it’s likely employee-to-employee marketing will have much of the same effect.
Some companies support “Lunch and Learn” sessions where one employee presents to others in the room. This might be someone from HR presenting on a topic like company culture, or someone in a marketing role sharing what’s new in social media. The idea of a Lunch and Learn is that employees want to give up their lunch break in order to receive free, interesting information (so save the numbers for the formal company meeting).
In a fast-moving company, like at social media agency Be Born Social, these learning sessions, or “Creative time” sessions as they call them, are essential to success.
Another approach taken by modern companies is to use the company blog, or internal intranet, as a place to communicate more than just new policies. HR software company Charlie HR are one example of a company taking the “un-blog” approach to share content and ideas with not just employees, but also customers.
The un-blog has a few different characteristics:
While much of the un-blog is outward-facing it also communicates something to employees, saying: we trust you to write our content and own what we’re building in the world. This provides a sense of ownership and helps employees to feel like they have a strong position in driving the ship.
It's a good reminder that communicating with employees often isn’t about sending an email or writing a notice. It’s embedded in the messages given out from the company and the ways in which they, themselves, are enabled to communicate.
For more ideas on communicating better in your office, check out our monthly The Connected Company newsletter.