Want to meet employees' communication needs? Provide helpful advice


If you’re planning to conduct a survey or facilitate focus groups to assess internal communication, make sure you ask this question: “What would make communication more valuable?”

I guarantee that a top answer will be this: “Provide information that helps me solve a problem or take action.”

As I wrote in PR Strategist, employees we’ve surveyed criticize communication for being too general. Yes, it contains information (often far too much), but the content isn’t specific and relevant enough. As a result, communication washes over employees (as they hit the delete button) without sticking.

What should you do instead? Try a technique used by great consumer media like Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health and HGTV called “service journalism.” The idea is simple: You provide a service for employees by including helpful advice.

This may sound quite different than traditional internal communication, but in fact much of the content you manage lends itself to this approach. After all, you’re sharing information that affects employees—from the company strategy to how benefits are changing—so it makes sense to explain what employees should do in response.

Here are some examples:

  • 5 ways to increase your productivity without leaving your desk
  • How to set performance goals that support the strategy
  • 3 simple steps to take when selecting a dental plan

And here’s the best reason of all to provide helpful information—employees will open the newsletter, link to the webpage and spend time on the content. Isn’t that why you’re communicating in the first place?

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