Creating a good mix of internal comms channels is key to meeting audience needs
By Becky Leonard
Why is it that when something new comes on the scene, it’s all eyes on the prize and everything else falls by the wayside?
In internal comms terms, the new big thing is the company intranet.
Organisations are increasingly going digital with their news, sitting it alongside processes, policies and procedures. A one-stop shop for everything an employee needs to know.
And because most intranets have a news scroller – global or local or both – that’s regularly updated, there’s a natural propensity to dump all communication in it, regardless of who it’s for, how important it is, or even how long it is. As new stories are loaded – be it a bake sale or the annual profit share – older ones get bumped down the page. So how do you know how effective that message was or whether it has been received loud and clear by the people it’s aimed at?
It’s the communicator’s role to make sure the content channels available to them work together and support each other – each with their own purpose and value
How do employees know what’s for them and what’s not, or why they need to know, or what they need to do about it? The problem’s multiplied when you have a European or even global audience. Do people in Spain care that Jo Bloggs is leaving the UK office on Friday?
Not all news content is the same. Different levels of news and information have clear roles and should work together to present employees with the right amount of information at the right time, in the right format. It’s the communicator’s role to make sure the content channels available to them work together and support each other – each with their own purpose and value.
We have an important role to play in helping our organisations to focus their communications and push them through the right channel, for the right audience, in the right way. We have to be the firm voice that creates a guiding policy to frame and position the approach and delivery of news content to create effective, useful information that adds value to the various audiences.
A good starting point is to break your internal messages into three distinct areas:
Need to know
This is information about business performance and results, new initiatives that support or affect strategy, new products, services, or structural change.
This content aims to inform and raise awareness. If your employees are mainly desk-based or on mobile devices, the ideal place for this information is the home page of your intranet. Short, easy to read but practical information that employees see the minute they log on.
If your employees are manual workers with limited access to the intranet, consider noticeboards, digital signage, or flyers in the canteen.
The news isn’t mission critical but you want to share customer success stories, events, business best practice, or examples that demonstrate delivery of the strategy and values. This content informs, raises awareness and engages.
In the end, it’s about creating a balance, reaching people in the multiple ways there are of absorbing and processing information in a way that’s accessible and relevant
This could be your digital magazine. It’s not a fully functional rich communication solution but it goes beyond the ‘news’, behind the story, to offer wider, more detailed information which adds context and seeks to engage at a high level. It’s a more in-depth look at what’s happening in the business where you can include richer content such as video, picture galleries and social features. You might even want people to comment on articles or share and discuss them with colleagues.
Good to know
You want people to really understand your business and know their role in it. This content informs, raises awareness, engages, motivates and creates advocates. Think people success stories, CSR, in depth interviews and thought leadership.
This could be your print magazine; a rich content read that people take time over and return to. This type of communication has a wider reach than online and aims to provide line of sight and a sense of belonging no matter where people are based. Here you can get creative with quality imagery and substantial features not suitable for online reading but which bring the bigger picture to life and celebrate achievements and milestones in a visually engaging way.
In the end, it’s about creating a balance, reaching people in the multiple ways there are of absorbing and processing information in a way that’s accessible and relevant, rather than a scattergun approach through a single channel just because it’s new.