Internal Communication – Be Heard & Engage

Communication is an important element in your employee retention plan. When done well, employee communication creates important touchpoints to keep workers engaged and feeling part of something greater than their job.

Corporate communication was traditionally one-sided: the employer was pushing a message but didn’t know how it was received.

Communicating with hourly employees has always been particularly challenging. In industries with a distributed workforce (e.g. retail, hospitality, home health), the challenge is heightened. Workers are not under one roof or on the same schedule. In some cases, hourly workers may not even have a corporate e-mail.

Format and content are both important consideration when looking at creating or improving your internal communication.

Here’s what some action you can take taking to start (or re-start) your employee communication activities:

Video is the way to go. Did you know that one minute of video content is in fact worth 1.8 million words or the equivalent of 3,600 pages of text? Posting a video not only increases the likelihood of views and shares but also improves understanding of the message. In 2019, I am expanding my video presence. Check out my You Tube Channel! I will keep adding episodes to my series “Ask the HR Expert.” Make sure to subscribe to the channel so you will be alerted of every new posting.

Newsletters. Look for new tricks to keep this old favorite fresh. Few employers still send a paper publication but many see the value in sending a digital newsletter several times a year. It includes photos from events that workers participated in and employee announcements such as births and weddings or even tips to help them in their personal life. Don’t feel compelled to send it all at once. Communicate in bite-size: one topic one day, another 3 days later. Stay engaged. Don’t overwhelm the readers.

Reach. Adopt mobile device applications that create an easy way to stay in touch with employees whenever and wherever they work. Among hourly staff who access the Internet, 72% access it via smartphone. Create a private Facebook group for your workforce. Decide how you will use the platform and be prepared to engage with employees when they respond to your postings.

In home health, many scheduling platforms include some form of communication functionality. Learn about it and test if this is what you need before investing in new technologies.

E-mails or Text? Some companies collect employees’ e-mail addresses to send out benefits surveys and compensation information. Emails may be the format of choice for communication with professional employees. However, few hourly read emails on a regular basis. When it comes to Millennials and GenZ they don’t even want to be on e-mail. Consider expanding your communication functionality to include group texting.

The Need for Speed. The trend is toward brevity. As Internet speeds increase and instant communication is everywhere, employees expect frequent, relevant information. If not, they will rapidly disregard your source. In order to connect and reach the new workforce that consists mainly of millennials and Gen Z, messages need to be brief and precise. Speed allows for more frequent and targeted updates.

The message. Get behind your webcam or your phone camera and start recording your 45-second message to employees. Don’t try to be too polish. It would go against the authentic vibe. If it’s not perfect, you will get many other chances to get it right. Just make sure it’s audible and doesn’t have any distracting background.

Get out of the office and record your employees at work.

Involve employees Millennials and Gen Z want authenticity which can take the form of employee-created content. Employees provide a more authentic voice for a company than managers. Involving employees also gives different locations and job functions a chance to shine in your corporate world. If you are not convinced, consider this fact: content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared through company channels.

Turning your employees into content creators supports the decentralization nature of many workplaces. It adds a peer-to-peer approach in communications. It also encourages collaboration across generations at work, tech-savvy workers offering a voice to their experienced co-workers.