With its technical jargon and mysterious acronyms, communication about Information Technology (IT) can be confusing for employees. If you communicate the information in a logical, user-friendly way, your employees will thank you for it.
Here are three steps to effective IT communication:
1. Drop the lingo.
Eliminate jargon, use simple language, and leave out the technical details. Avoid words such as infrastructure, application, release and operating system, and spell out acronyms like RAM and MB (Random Access Memory and Megabyte).
Good example: The e-mail software is being updated.
Bad example: We’re upgrading MS-Outlook to version XX.XX.
2. Be clear about timing, and explain what employees need to do.
In your IT communication, don't discuss technology strategy, which is of no interest to employees. Get right to the core messages and visible impact:
- What is the change?
- When will it take place? How long will it take?
- How will the change impact employees?
- Do employees need to do anything, like download files?
Good example: The technology team is updating e-mail software on Sunday, September 15, 20XX. Employees won't be able to log-in to the network between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Once the update is complete, usernames and passwords will remain the same, but the screen will look slightly different.
Bad example: Due to an upgrade of MS-Outlook from version YY.YY to version XX.XX, the network will be unavailable between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Sunday. This supports our IT strategy to implement a standard e-mail system throughout the company.
3. Communicate the benefit to employees.
Don’t forget a key part: why you are making a change. In plain language, describe the positive results of the change for employees.
Good example: This e-mail software upgrade will allow employees to send and receive larger e-mail attachments, and create distribution lists.
Bad example: The memory limit for e-mail attachments will be increased from 5MB to 10MB. Attachments exceeding this limit will be removed by the system.