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"Internal Communications: on How to Improve Engagement in the Workplace"




InspireHUB Founder, explains why making email your main line of internal communications in business is problematic.







Here is why you should replace your old employee newsletter with an internal company blog.




An effective implementation of features can help your organization achieve its goals of better engagement and a healthy work environment. Here are some tips for a smooth implementation




These Bananas smashed two Comms Lab events in one week! A HUGE thank you to for joining the tour and to all the new comms friends we made in DC and Atlanta!







Bored with your corporate content? We'll help you transform it into engaging and compelling content that delivers results! Register for our fall webinar series today: -







lessons from literature πŸ“š What’s better in a time of crisis than a good ? Miss Temple exemplifies this in Jane Eyre, demonstrating the best qualities of a role model employees can emulate. πŸ“šGet the full story πŸ‘‰




Come and join us for our Sheffield Hub on 3 October! Our event hosts are James Powell, Head of Internal Communications, and Kate Rawlings, CSR Manager, at Irwin Mitchell. Book your free place here:







"Happiness results in a 12% spike in productivity: unhappy employees are 10% less productive"... How to achieve engagement with a quality two-way internal communications plan.




Easily collaborate with teams and groups. Anywhere, Anytime, Any device 😎 Proud sponsor of Internal Communications Conference 17th September 2019 Come and meet & from the workplaceON team



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Homies Carly and Fiona have been spending the last few days in Dundee with running a with their team. Loads of great feedback and food for thought for our next steps. Exciting times with a lovely new client!



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86% of organisations don't measure the effectiveness of their strategies. But you can't improve what you don't measure. Our latest eBook explores how you can use to shake up your comms strategy -




HR Professionals - Struggling to reach all employees? The answer is in their pocket already! Connect with your teams using an employee communications app




This summer, join, donate and grow with IoIC membership! By joining IoIC you will demonstrate your commitment to best practice and elevate your professional status. Join by 15 September & we’ll donate your Β£60 joining fee to .







lessons from literature πŸ“š Sometimes, comms can feel like wash, rinse, repeat. You read it without thinking and it stops going in. American Psycho author Brett Easton Ellis has a neat literary trick to keep readers on their toes πŸ‘‰



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BBH / Recruitment video

Great piece created by the Black Sheep people - originally a piece of internal comms created as part of their end-of-year review. 

The two-minute film features an original poem on the power of difference by Harry Baker, a performance poet, set to images of BBH’s staff and the agency’s work. It ends with the line “Black Sheep Wanted”.

How to write clear instructional communication:

In any organisation, the ability to convey a clear message that all of your intended audience will interpret and understand is a challenge. This is an issue internal communicator’s deal with every single day.  The ability to write a clear instruction comes down to being able to identify your audience with the what, how, why and when of your message.

In the organisation I work for, it’s critical that we are clear on our instruction as this can have legal, compliance and safety implications if our audience do not understand what they are required to do.

Below are a few strategies we use to produce clear and concise instructional communications.

Templates:

Each communication that we send sits within a different template. This allows us to link the communication back to the audiences KPIs and the company strategy. This way it’s easy for our audience to identify where the communication sits and what is relates to.

Structure:

Our instructional communications follow formats that make them clear and concise.

What: What is the communication about?

Why: Why is it important that the communication is actioned?

How: How should the communication be actioned?

When: When should the communication be actioned?

Language:

We encourage our audience to do the right thing and comply with communications they receive. This is reflected in the language within our communications. For example an instructional communication about a safety issue is written using sentences like “Due to concerns over customer and staff safety, please remove” or “Please take the time to not only discuss safety with your team, but to keep it front of mind.” Our instructional communications refrain from a command and control tone.

 

Priority:

Each communication we send has a priority attached to it. This allows the managers who are time poor and only have a short period to read their communications to know which communication needs to be actioned immediately. Our priority system is broken up into three categories.

 

URGENT – Communication needs to be actioned immediately

ACTION – Communication needs to be actioned within 1-2 days

REVIEW – There is no action associated with this communication; it can be reviewed in your own time

 

Writing clear and concise instructional communication can save your company time and money as well as increase productivity. Next time you have to write an instructional communication in your business, I hope I have encouraged you to consider the above strategies.

I’d love to hear how you write your instructional communications and what works best for you.

Eight steps to delivering an effective and engaging communication plan

A communications team has many stakeholders that have different messages and objectives that they want to deliver. It can be hard to plan effective ways to communicate messages and find ways to change behavior as well as engage your audience. The most efficient and effective way to do this is by creating a communication plan.

A communication plan is essentially a roadmap to getting your communications across to your audience.  There are eight steps you need to consider when writing a comprehensive communication plan.

1.    Know why you need to communicate:

You need to work out what you want to be different as a result of your communication plan. What are the goals and objectives?

2.    Consider who you need to communicate with:

Make a list of your potential audiences. Whose behavior do you want to change and influence as a result of your communications.

3.    What do these audiences think about the issue or topic?

Conduct a sample study or focus group. Find out what your audience thinks about the issue. Develop an understanding of how they behave, this way it’s easier to work out a plan to change their behavior. The better you understand your audience’s priorities, issues and concern, the greater your ability to target your messages towards them.

4.    Define your audience:

What you want your audience to know, think or do as a result of  your communications. Develop your perfect scenario and then tailor your

communications to achieve that scenario.

5.    Write your key messages:

You may have a number of key messages depending on your audience.  It’s     

critical you tailor your messages so they are appropriate. You don’t want to

alienate a section of your audience because your communication doesn’t

resonate with them.

6.    Decide when you need to deliver your messages:

The timing of your communication is critical. Depending on your goals, you may need to give your communication time to be seen and understood by your audience. The more exposure and time you give your communication the better chance you have to change and influence behavior.

 

7.    Decide how to deliver your messages:

There are many different ways you can deliver your communications. If you follow the other six steps you should have an understanding of how your audience best receives messages. This could be by,

·      Formal written communications

·      Short instructional videos

·      Blog posts from senior executives

·      Posters highlighting key messages

·      Informal written communication on website or social media

 

8.    Post Implementation Review

After your have delivered your communications it’s important you figure out,

 

·      Did your audience understand? Did they act on or change as a result of

       the communication?

·      How will you follow up if additional communication is required?

There are a number of ways you can find out this information.  In my previous blog titled ‘The importance of measuring your internal content’, I wrote about using tools like Google Analytics and URL shortener to find out if your communication cut through. You can also go out and speak to your audience. Why not conduct another sample study or focus group with the same people you did in point 3 and find out if your communication hit the mark.

If you haven’t got the result you were after then it’s important you revaluate your messages and start your communication plan again, but remember to take on key learning from your original plan.

If your plan is successful then you need to develop a plan to keep your audience engaged and remembering your key messages.

If you take the time to follow these eight steps then I believe you can deliver an effective communication plan every time.

The holy grail of employee engagement

Virgin Group has launched a new print magazine for employees, which aims to showcase the individuals that make a difference around the business.

The publication has been heralded by Saskia Dornan, Head of Group Internal Communications for Virgin Management, as “[giving] employees a chance to talk about themselves and their job”, with staff members from across the globe telling their stories and creating a spirit of togetherness.

A genuine focus on front-line employees and the topics that matter to them is what all good internal communications should be about. Many companies claim to achieve this, but all too often their shiny new publication is swiftly hijacked by senior managers with a corporate box to tick.

As an internal communications specialist, one of our biggest challenges often lies in persuading clients that not every piece of content has to have an explicit link to a strategic business objective. When we ask employees what they think of the internal communications channels available to them, one of the most common complaints is that ‘it’s full of management speak and corporate propaganda’. There’s often a clear gap between what front-line staff want to read and what some senior management think they should be reading.

Internal communications titles are up against huge competition in a market swamped with print and digital content. Getting an employee to pick up their company magazine on a lunch break, rather than the latest copy of Grazia or The Sun, means that internal comms teams have to employ the same strategies that newsstand titles do. That means providing content that is relevant, timely and engaging. There’s still a place for business messaging, but it has to be treated in an appropriate way.

It’s not easy, but for those businesses brave enough to stick to their strategy, the holy grail of employee engagement is much more achievable. At Summersault, we produce a bimonthly internal newspaper for National Grid gas distribution colleagues called The Patch. The publication is designed to keep those colleagues working in isolated and remote locations in touch with each other and the wider business.

The Patch takes its cues from the best of the tabloid press and serves up an intriguing mix of humorous people-focused pieces and concise business news.

First-person reportage gives readers a sense of ownership, front-line colleagues actively contribute their own stories to the paper and business messaging is always treated in a creative and jargon-free manner.

The result? Just a year after the launch, 98% of employees regularly read the publication.