Use the right tool for the job when communicating change to employees


“We have to let everyone know about this.”

When an internal client says this, you know that he or she expects a communication will be shared with all employees right away. While the usual mechanism is usually email, these days your internal client is likely to suggest a multiple-channel approach: Let’s post it, share on whatever social media is available, create content for video screens, etc.

What are some examples of communication channels?

  • Intranet
  • Newsletter
  • Meetings
  • Video
  • Mobile
  • Social media
  • Posters
  • Digital signage
  • And many more!

Assuming that the message has value, the problem is that so much communication not only creates information overload; it also leads to redundancy. As Mike May writes in Email Insider, “That’s a lot of messages, in a lot of channels.. . .You can call it “increased frequency” if you like, but before too long your subscribers and fans and followers are going to start referring to it simply as noise.”

Mr. May’s blog post is about external communication, but his advice is equally relevant for internal communication: We need to reduce repetition and create more channel-specific content. 

“Repeating the same messages everywhere will prompt your audience to choose one channel over the others, robbing your brand of incremental points of engagement,” he writes. Today, channel-specific content is a sound marketing practice because it shows respect for your audience. In the future, this approach will be essential to make sure your channels are “as vibrant, engaged and responsive as possible.”

Here are two ways Mr. May suggests making your content more channel-specific:

  • Define each channel and describe it to your employee audience. Let employees know what kind of (unique) content they can expect in each channel. That means clearly labeling each container, as you would with spice jars. “If all your descriptions look the same, it is a cue that you may be generating too much redundancy in your messaging and need to work on a content strategy that engages your audience in different ways,” he writes.
  • Develop key metrics on channel engagement, not just message effectiveness. Create a set of key metrics for each message that measures how much engagement you are driving across the channel. Use this information to make smart decisions about which types of content should go where.

In general, think more like a marketer. While you’re not trying to sell anything, you are trying to “buy” employees’ attention. The more unique and compelling your content, the more likely employees will find a few minutes to get the message. 

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