Your internal communications strategy is set. You’re looking for ways to communicate to employees as well as how to empower them to meet organizational goals. You have emails all lined up, as well as a few other innovative ideas, such as using everyone’s desk phones.
But you may be overlooking a few ideas.
1. Add the power of myth – storytelling
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication and one of the most popular. Families have stories that are passed down for generations. But organizations have stories, too. Those stories can include people who no longer work there — retired or moved onto other companies — if they’re pertinent.
What makes a good story for your organization?
According to Joseph Campbell, writer and mythologist, good stories share many traits that lend themselves to rooting into our subconscious. ElevatePoint made a few adaptations to work for businesses, but a ripping yarn usually has these characteristics.
- It’s entertaining. The story doesn’t have to be a gut-buster or tear-jerker, but it should be interesting. The more riveting it is, the better people will remember it.
- It’s relevant. Stories told in your organization should be relevant — relating to your team or business.
- It has a hero who overcomes challenges. Heroes can take many shapes and forms. The hero of your story should be an employee who overcame issues to win customer approval, solve a tough challenge, innovate, etc.
- It should be relatively short. People’s attention span only lasts for about seven minutes. It’s not just that, well-told stories are easily repeatable. In fact, your sales team should be the frontrunners in the retelling. Although these stories can live in print, the power of them comes from telling them. Encourage it.
- Sometimes, it has a lesson. The way the hero overcame the challenges can be an inspiration to others that reflect your company values — perseverance, creativity, caring for others, etc. The lesson can also explain something you need employees to do to meet organizational goals. For example, maybe you want employees to embrace change. Showcasing someone who did and succeeded can demonstrate the value of changing.
- Sometimes, it includes customers. Engaging stories include how a customer’s life has changed. In industries like healthcare and insurance, it’s easier to see. But don’t discount just making them happier.
Who should tell these stories? When? How?
Everyone can tell the stories. Your executives and sales team should lead the way along with the internal communications team.
A great place to tell a good story is at the beginning of a meeting, including your all-employee meeting. If the story is funny, it can even be a good icebreaker to put employees at ease and encourage them to participate.
Capture these stories on video and use them to power your brand strategy, too. You can even add these videos to your intranet, where they can live on for posterity.
2. Focus on business acumen
Company news is often a place that covers changes in the organization – such as reorganizations — or employee-engagement items. But is it a place where employees can get news about competitors, the market, innovation and more?
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in; it’s all about disruption. It’s happening nearly daily, too. There’s automation most certainly, but innovative entrepreneurs are also challenging the status quo. Just this week, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced they’re joining forces to improve healthcare. Their involvement could have ripple effects throughout the industries from everything to pharmaceuticals to insurance.
Because things are constantly changing, it’s important to help employees understand how that impacts your business. Future layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, adding automation, ending products or adding services, etc. all depend on adapting to changing demands.
- Model business acumen. Follow the news and discuss it with fellow employees.
- Get to the why. Just giving employees the news isn’t enough; add why these news articles matter and how it may impact business. Understanding the why makes it easier for employees to embrace change, too.
- Reward employees who always have a beat on what’s happening and how it relates to your organization. Provide engagement rewards or add it to an employee review with additional salary.
- Get leaders involved. Managers and leaders should be sharing information with their teams, including providing business acumen. If you have a block in communication, try these ideas to get information flowing again.
- Enlist employees, too. Executives frequently bemoan employees don’t understand what’s happening in the world. Encourage employees throughout the organization to submit news and get executives to share the information that matters.
3. Use a personalized, mobile intranet for targeted communications
Internal communicators live by the motto: Right information, to the right people, at the right time. It’s all about targeted communication. In fact, the more targeted, the better. Instead of sending out a billion different emails, try an intranet.
That’s right, intranets don’t have to be static, dumb terminals where information goes to die. Instead, modern intranets can thrive with personalized, targeted and relevant information. Need to send something to the entire IT team? No problem. Need to send something just to the team that manages SharePoint? No problem. Each team can see information on relevant pages or on their team site. The message can be as granular as the team.
Best of all, they can also take the intranet on-the-go. That means people can get information wherever they are, even delivered to their smartphone or mobile device.
It’s even easy to create this type of content. With drag-and-drop content blocks, you can update information quickly and easily. No calls to IT to beg them to update something.
4. Get your leaders and managers involved
Managers and leaders are the people who should be sharing information with teams and mentees. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But when they do share information and ideas, you’re powering your communication channels. Not only are employees hearing from their supervisor and trusted mentor, but they’re getting a fresh perspective — a person outside of Corporate Communications.
ElevatePoint has ideas to help you engage them.
Don’t forget, CEOs and executives are also managers and leaders. Get them involved, too. If there’s an executive who’s more willing to communicate, maybe you can enlist his or her help to get the others to assist. Blogs are also a place for them to share ideas and information.
Try active listening. Some organizations have it as a built-in channel called group discovery, peer sharing or social sharing. Even if it’s informal, it’s a way to build ambassadors for your communication, get ideas and pivot as needed.
Listen ahead of time
Before you begin your communication plan around a program, invite people across your company from different disciplines. Provide information about what the program is, why it’s happening (including tying it to organizational goals), who’s responsible for it, when it’s happening, and where.
Talk with them about why they’re asked to help and what they can do. Also, answer what’s in it for them — many communicators include incentives such as a spotlight in the company news.
Gather their ideas about how to communicate it.
Afterward, thank them and ask them to help roll out the program with their ideas.
Use the tactic of gathering feedback during the communication effort to see how it’s going. Do people understand what’s being asked of them? Do they understand why it’s being communicated? Are they able to complete the needed action? If not, add channels to your communication plan.
If your internal communications plan already has these elements, congratulations! If not, feel free to use these. Have unusual ideas of your own? Share them here and we may even repost them.Just 15 minutes will enable you to see an intranet demo that’s hyper-targeted and relevant to keep up with your internal communications plans.