You get home from work each night, kick off your boots, change into PJs and relax. When you want information, you choose from a bevy of devices: tablet, smart phone, laptop or good old-fashioned TV. It’s all about being in control.

Why don’t employees get the same degree of choice at work? For too long, internal communication has been a static, one-size-fits-all experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By borrowing the same techniques used by media, you can give employees the power of choice. Here are four ways to get started:

1. Offer information in multiple formats
Trend: ESPN (a leading sports information company) has mastered the art of delivering sports news in many formats. There’s a web page, of course (which you can watch or read), multiple TV channels, a magazine—and even an app.

What to do: You don’t have to offer all these options, but providing information in more than one format will make employees feel they’re in the driver’s seat.

2. Label key topics
Trend: The New York Times (a major news outlet) publishes a daily newsletter that’s organized by topic: For example, the newsletter starts with a top news section, followed by business, sports, entertainment, U.S. and global. That way, readers can skip sections that interest them least and link to topics they care most about.

What to do: Organize your newsletter by category, allowing employees to easily decide what article to read. Be sure to use relatable names like pay, healthcare and people instead of corporate terms like compensation, open enrollment and organizational announcements.

3. Subscribe or opt out
Trend: LinkedIn (a professional social media site) has its own news and insights section called Pulse. Users can subscribe to the news they see on their home page, choosing from different influencers (authors), categories and publishers. And, if you don’t find Pulse valuable anymore, just unsubscribe.

What to do: Give employees the ability to subscribe to channels that interest them. For example, people in manufacturing may want to receive information about Research & Development. You may be surprised by what employees are interested in. And, yes, you should give employees the opportunity to opt out of channels they don’t want to receive

4. Personalize the feed
Trend: Yahoo! News (an Internet news portal) allows for an almost completely customizable experience. The user can choose the type of content viewed, as well as the layout and background image. (However, Yahoo! still controls key sections, like the top banner, ad space and any open space at the bottom of the page.)

How to: Build an intranet site where employees can customize at least a few key sections. You can still require employees to view important company information, but allowing employees to personalize will encourage them to visit your home page. 

 

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