Take a page from Marketing’s playbook…
Understanding your employees by studying data about them takes the guesswork out of strategy building, and helps you deliver a seamless, tailored employee experience (much like a customer experience). In this digital age, the one-message-for-all model is no longer effective, so customizing your content to your viewers and readers is an absolute must.
Read more about how to create an impactful internal communications strategy in our new guide, Planning an Effective Internal Communications Strategy: 7 Templates for Communications and HR Professional.
Assessing your workforce involves a few simple steps.
First, create employee personas and learn what different groups of workers value. Employee personas allow communicators and HR professionals to understand:
- What employees are looking for on a day-to-day basis
- What they need to achieve their goals and thrive
- How multiple groups or individuals are different and similar
Second, after you’ve created personas for all your target employee groups, study which communication format would work best for each group, such as video, engagement apps, email, etc. This will help you create a multi-channel approach that will connect with employees, no matter their geographic location or department. Here’s an easy-to-use employee persona template that you can download.
Using employee personas to create a multi-channel approach
Despite the fact that all your employees have unique preferences for when, how, and where they access your communications, most companies still rely on a single channel for communications.
This can lead to some less-than-ideal results for communications leaders. Emails go to junk folders. Messages go unread by employees who work spend their workday far away from a computer screen.
That’s exactly why many internal communications leaders are transforming their programs with a multi-channel strategy. With this new approach, they’re creating more efficient, productive, and profitable companies.
What is a multi-channel approach?
With a multi-channel approach, communicators seek to engage their employees through multiple channels (e.g., company mobile app, digital signage, print, intranet, etc.) to connect, inform, and build trust.
If done well, you’ll reach employees are their terms and on the devices of their choice, which is especially ideal for frontline or “deskless” workers who are on the move and may not have a company email address.
3 benefits of multi-channel internal communications
- Part of a multi-channel strategy involves embracing mobile devices to convey messages. There’s no question mobile represents an easy communications win: 95% of Americans have access to cell phones. A mobile-friendly approach can empower your “deskless” employees (who represent 80% of the global workforce) who might otherwise be isolated or disengaged.
- A multi-channel approach allows you to engage employees on their preferred channels. Some may prefer to use their smartphones per a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy; but others may prefer the intranet, laptops, or printed materials. By meeting employees where they are, you will inform everyone with relevant communications at the right time and place.
- Another benefit of a multi-channel strategy is higher employee engagement and an improved employee experience. This is especially critical during times of change or transformation, during which good communications strategies can keep your workforce fully informed about changes and policies.
How to adopt a multi-channel approach: Four internal communications tactics
Tactic #1: You may need to start small to get the executive buy-in you need, but your employees are your most important asset.
Cliff Levy, deputy managing editor at The New York Times, described meeting resistance to change by framing their company’s digital transformation and multi-channel approach as “experiments.” Then, they were able to try new things. If they worked, the tests were turned into sustained programs. If they didn’t, they would try something new. And they were able to get stakeholder buy-in.
Tactic #2: Write natively for each channel’s persona (don’t use the same messaging across the board).
Always remember: messaging that works on email may not work for mobile or other channels. Make sure your communications are designed for the specific channel you plan to use.
Your communications team also needs to understand how to create content and optimize it for different channels. Ideally they’ll have strong storytelling skills and a willingness to investigate the communications preferences of your employees.
Tactic #3: Invest in a workforce communications platform.
Marketers have Marketo, and HR has Workday. Today, internal communicators have the technology they need to streamline their workflows by automating tedious tasks and integrating across channels. Copying and pasting to publish onto multiple channels doesn’t cut it anymore. Also, these workforce communications platforms can generate the crucial performance metrics communicators need to prove their value to the executive team.
Tactic #4: Measure your performance and be open to shifting your strategy.
What worked last quarter may not work well next quarter, which is why you must always analyze your internal communications metrics. By understanding how employees engaged with your content, you’ll be able to continuously improve.
A well-informed and engaged workforce leads to higher productivity and, ultimately, higher revenue.
Today, consumer technology has taught employees to expect fast, customized, and efficient communications experiences. If workplace communications don’t match this standard, you risk alienating and frustrating your workforce.
Using employee personas improves the impact and helps scale your internal communications strategy.
By using a workforce communication platform that integrates your channels and streamlines your workflow, you can publish to multi-channels seamlessly and provide the best employee experience possible.