Ross Peet gives TJ some digital comms suggestions.
Reading time: 3min 19s.
Scroll, swipe, tap. Online has catapulted its way into our lives and our workplaces over the past two decades. The rise of smartphones and tablets means all the information in the world is literally at hand so if companies want to communicate effectively with their employees they should adapt to how we consume information today.
During work it’s very likely we read news bulletins on mobile feeds, post updates on social media and exchange instant messages through apps, adding up to an average of 50 minutes of our time per day for personal activities. Rather than considering devices as productivity’s worst enemy, why not turn your internal communications strategy digital and appeal to your audience when it’s most active and receptive?
Usually the messages communicated through an intranet can be very factual, reinforcing the HR department’s standpoint and aligning with the structure of a training manual. But what can often be forgotten is that the way the information is laid out impacts how it’s perceived.
A digital magazine gives you the opportunity to challenge its delivery and create an engaging piece of content which staff will want to read and learn from. It’s crucial for your content to have a strong proposition and align it with where the company is going.
Online also offers you the privilege of reacting quickly to the business’ changing needs, and the digital format of an internal magazine can also provide you with access to analytics so you can test and tell what works best for your messages.
Why not turn your internal communications strategy digital and appeal to your audience when it’s most active and receptive?
This tool is particularly valuable when it comes to staff training and development, which is the driving force of any organisation. The success of the business is important but I recommend you plan more for the success of the people you work with.
Employees, no matter the industry, want to feel like they’re doing a good job and performing according to standards and appreciate when time and knowledge is invested in supporting their goals. Offering training to staff increases their morale, motivation and retention rates, which will boost your business as well.
If one of your important training and development messages isn’t being read, you have the flexibility to frame it in a different way, place it in a different section, promote it as a hero piece and make it stand out anyway.
If the content is monotonous and replicated from an off-the-shelf training and development plan, you can’t expect it to be read with enthusiasm and fervour. If you need to endorse a constant theme such as evergreen downloads on data policy, then think of a way to mix it up by diversifing your approach.
Content needs to be well-thought through and aligned with your business needs. Come January, you could be focusing on health and safety; March might be ideal for that last business push before the end of the quarter; in summer you could start to think about motivation. Remember who your audience is as they have their own drivers in terms of what they want to read.
From an efficiency point of view, a digital internal magazine spares you printing costs and provides proactive feedback loops which are important to the whole training and development process. When asked for, feedback has to be read, acknowledged and actioned to make a difference.
Even more, you can encourage people to see through their concerns or come up with their own solutions, champion issues and explain them to the rest of the staff. This also helps in closing the management gap by streamlining the dialogue between the board and people on the floor.
For your training and development efforts, the digital magazine reinforces the company’s messages and tone of voice. It gives you the chance to lead by example, create better value conversations and champion your employees.
Regular access to an effective internal e-zine can also increase their engagement and productivity, offering you real-time ROI by saving time and money. In the long run, an effective internal communications tool can actually become your best ally in retaining talent.
About the author
Ross Peet is managing partner at ideas agency Yes&Pepper