If I could recommend one thing to improve the value of the content you share with employees, what would I suggest?
That's easy: Stop posting press releases on your intranet and other internal communication channels.
Employees despise press releases because they hate packaged or “spun” communication, old news, and anything that wastes their time without adding value.
As one employee in a recent focus group told me, “I find (most communication) to be perfectly crafted, perfect words that don’t tell us much.”
And another employee said, “Too much of (communication) is a sort of gloss-over loaded with business speak.”
And another: “We get so much information that is just wasting our time. It’s just something being sent with no purpose.”
If employees don’t find press releases valuable, why do communicators use them? The painful truth is that it’s easy to do so. Releases are approved copy and a no-sweat way to provide “news” to employees.
But press releases are not effective communication. I'm reminded of an old blog post from from technology journalist Tom Foremski, Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!.
“Press releases are nearly useless," Mr. Foremski. "They typically start with a tremendous amount of top-spin, they contain pat-on-the-back phrases and meaningless quotes . . . Press releases are created by committees, edited by lawyers, and then sent out at great expense . . . to reach the digital and physical trash bins of tens of thousands of journalists."
The madness has to end,” Mr. Foremski concludes.
Some companies are phasing out press releases, at least for employee communication. They’re creating completely original versions of news stories or, at the very least, building on the frame of a press release to add color and context for employees. The idea is to always answer the question, “What does this mean to us?”
What employees value is content that's unique and useful. Since press releases are neither, it's time to give them the boot.