Calculating budget

 

Just because your budget is tight doesn't mean you can't make positive changes. After all, although the best things in life may not be free and you still have to buy your own lunch, you can still enhance your communication program at absolutely no cost. All you need is a little inspiration—and that's where we come in.

Here are 14 ideas for improving employee communication without spending a penny

  1. Write fewer words. Most employee communication content is still too long, especially compared with best practices in external media.
     
  2. Ask your IT department what kinds of web measurement tools they have available—and find out how you can use them to assess usage so you can make improvements to your intranet.
     
  3. Contact a communicator you admire and ask for advice. Offer to reciprocate next time that communicator needs help.
     
  4. Have lunch with a senior leader to get feedback and ideas. (Brown-bag it, or see if the leader will pick up the tab.)
     
  5. Collect great examples of external communication that capture your attention: clips from newspapers or magazines, photos of billboards, catalogs from art exhibits, etc. Consider which techniques you can adapt for use in your own vehicles.
     
  6. Offer to be a panelist at a local IABC program or conference in exchange for free registration. You'll not only share your own experience, you'll learn from other speakers and from participants.
     
  7. Conduct user testing on your intranet site or portal by asking typical employees to use the intranet while you observe.
     
  8. Find out whether your marketing, advertising or graphic design departments have photographs, drawings or clip art that you can use (for free) to add visual interest to your vehicles.
     
  9. Take 10 minutes to debrief with your team—and your “client”—when a project has been completed, to discuss lessons learned.
     
  10. Uncover best practices in your own organization and think about how to build on them to make improvements. What is a leader with exceptional engagement scores doing right? Does a local facility publish a lively newsletter? Does a department have a dynamic home page? Leverage these successes.
     
  11. Test the reading level of your print and online communication. Most people read comfortably at the 9th grade level; most marketing copy is written at the 7th grade level. Is your communication too complex?
     
  12. Get feedback from brand-new employees. Ask them what they think of your communication (Is it clear and understandable even for people who just came on board?) and interview them to learn best practices at their previous companies.
     
  13. Give your managers a little space . . . on your intranet. Create a page where they can find essential information and links to company-provided or external resources on communicating more effectively.
     
  14. Take advantage of member benefits. Find out what organizations your colleagues belong to (including those in HR, IT, Organizational Development and other functions) and what free information those organizations make available to members: reports, studies, on-line workshops, etc.
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