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Cutting Through the Clutter of Internal Communications

Chip Maxwell
Chip Maxwell

How well are you communicating your most important company information to employees? The answer has as much to do with the medium as with the message. And most of the time, that message isn’t being received.

The problem of disconnected communication channels at work isn’t a new one. Companies have been trying to figure it out for years by communicating with employees through snail mail, paper memos, faxes, emails, intranets, digital signage, and more.

So why do 74% of employees feel that they’re missing out on company information and news?

Perhaps you’ve experienced challenges with some of these common communication methods:

  • Print/mail. In addition to the fact that constant printing is not only bad for the environment, but cumbersome as piles of paper accumulate, print deliverables end up gathering dust or being thrown in the trash.
  • Email. While popular for disseminating a large amount of information to employees at one time, corporate email has become so standard in company culture that employees are now inundated, leaving emails to sit unread in overflowing inboxes. In fact, corporate emails only receive about a 32% open rate, while some employees even say they flat out ignore their employer’s messages. Ouch.
  • Intranet. You might say that corporate intranets have become the butt of all jokes among internal communications circles. A good idea in theory, the companies I speak with tell me that their intranet has become a “dumping ground” for so many things that it’s no longer navigable. In a survey by Prescient Digital Media, only 13% of employees reported participating in their intranet daily—31% said they never do.
  • Digital signage. Some companies have introduced digital screens or kiosks in their hallways or shop floors. But aside from the fact that people don’t stand by and watch long enough to retain enough of the information, there’s also no way for employers to measure engagement or how often employees are viewing them. Let’s not forget that consumers already have a screen of their own that they look at almost four hours every day—their mobile phone. If they have a 15-minute break, the likelihood that they’ll spend it looking at your screen instead of their own is slim to none.

The Problem With Internal Communication

If we trace the problem of disconnected mediums back to its original source, the challenge lies in the inability for company leaders and managers to properly disseminate the things they decide at the executive level (company mission, vision, values, strategy) to employees. All too often, leaders leave their meetings with good intentions to share their decisions out with the rest of the company, but their all-hands meetings and town halls (a mere four times a year) aren’t enough for employees to internalize the company’s most important messages.

While the peer-to-peer communication space is crowded right now (with the onset of tools like Skype, HipChat, Skype, etc.), it’s the leader-to-employee communication chain that really needs work. What leadership and managers say to frontline employees about why the business exists and why they should care has the biggest direct impact on employees’ engagement.

Reaching Employees Where They Are

When leaders think about solving the problem of employee disengagement, they often turn to internal communication to “blast” messages to employees through an often archaic and unengaging medium. But perhaps the best way to keep information top-of-mind year-round is by housing it in the device that they already have with them. With a branded mobile app, companies can align employees to their mission and vision, communicate key information, and connect them with other peers—all while tracking their usage to discover their overall engagement.

By contacting employees (with quick, digestible reminders, announcements, employee recognition, quick polls, and more), you can reach them directly on their phone’s home screen so your messages aren’t missed.

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