Bitesize Insights: Q1 '22

Internal Communications Challenges

In early Q1 this year, we started exploring some of the challenges related to Internal Communications, and over this time, we spoke with some very knowledgeable people in this space… 📖

Firstly, why does it matter?

Without driving improved awareness and understanding of topics like corporate sustainability or engaging employees on important business updates, companies risk not meeting their goals, as they can’t convert comms into action. An efficient and effective approach to internal comms is a critical strategic priority for most companies 🎯

So, what did we learn?

1.      Employees tend to suffer from content fatigue on internal comms, due to the way these comms are structured and often receiving information which isn’t relevant to them 😕

2.      It’s hard to understand which content and topics employees are engaging the most with 🤷

3.      Co-ordinating with stakeholders on internal comms tasks can be very time consuming, especially for companies who want their employee comms to become more business owner led ⏳Have we missed anything? Leave a comment or get in touch with us!

Why is Slack better than email for internal comms? 

Directing more internal communications through Slack and away from email can take a bit of getting used to. Many employees are used to receiving comms via email, but this can lead to messy inboxes, missed updates and emails ending up in folders which will never be reopened… 📧

Some of the benefits of using Slack for internal comms are as follows:

🗂️ There’s more of a natural separation between internal and external comms if Slack is used for the former and email for the latter, making it easier to organise and respond to comms.

🎯 Slack/ Teams comms can be posted in the most relevant channel, making it easier to find posts related to a specific topic or group.

🗫 They facilitate more conversational, two-way engagement on internal comms, rather than the dreaded ‘Reply All’ on email.

Drawbacks of Slack for internal comms

Slack can be a great tool for internal comms, but there are also drawbacks. Some of the most frequent challenges are below 👇

1.    Posts getting lost. Tendency for older Slack posts to get lost due to the difficulty of distinguishing comms in a busy workspace ❌🔎

2.    Stakeholder alignment. No easy way for Internal Comms stakeholders to have visibility over all the scheduled Slack/ Teams posts 🕶️

3.    Tracking post engagement. Beyond reactions and comments, it’s difficult to measure how employees are engaging with content and topics 📉

Give visibility of internal comms calendar to relevant stakeholders

Giving relevant stakeholders visibility of the internal comms schedule can save time, increase alignment, and reduce comms fatigue. One the primary reasons this isn’t done today is that for sensitive comms, companies only want a small number of employees to view the details before these are shared more widely 🔒

Employee permissions can be complex, but they don’t have to be. Think of a private event on an email calendar where only certain people can view the name/ description, but others can see that something has been scheduled for this time 👓

The same approach could be applied to comms calendars, enabling stakeholders to plan their comms at a quieter time without having access to sensitive comms content. 📅

Use internal comms templates native to Slack/ Teams

Visually engaging email templates can be a great way to make internal communications stand out. With more employee comms shifting from email towards Slack and Teams, equivalent templates with a design/ user interface tailored towards these platforms could make a massive difference to employee engagement and participation 🎨

Adjusting templates for each use case and topic is time consuming, so find yourself a good tailor who can help you find the best fit 🤵

A relationship-driven approach to employee reminders

Ever feel like you spend a lot of time chasing colleagues on deadlines when content needs to be submitted? You’re not alone. The problem is that frequent reminders can come across as passive-aggressive or worse 💬 😤

One solution could be to request permission from colleagues to remind them if they haven’t completed an important task 48 hours before the deadline (for e.g.). With their permission, you reduce the risk of them interpreting the reminder as a lack of trust in their ability to complete tasks on time 🙏

Avoid missing days which matter to certain employees with your internal comms

Our calendars get hectic quickly and it’s very easy to forget the less well-known days that matter to certain employee groups. For companies focused on building an inclusive culture, finding a way to easily organise communications or initiatives which raise awareness is important.

Employee Communications is becoming more business owner-led

"The days of top-down communications are waning. People want the employee experience to mirror their personal styles of communicating." - Visix

Naturally, some communications are better suited to coming from a central communications or leadership team. However, given employees are placing increasing value on business purpose, harnessing their knowledge and passion on areas like ESG and D&I for internal communications can help companies to build a strong culture.

Company initiatives that are purely "top-down" are less likely to get long-term employee buy-in, so Employee-led teams can be a more scalable approach to influence positive change, by empowering employees to educate and engage with each other. Employee-led teams can also be organic way to foster mentorship and career development for all employees.

Here are some practical ways to foster a culture of internal communications which is more business owner-led: 

  1. Bring together employee champions who are passionate about different topics to start conversations in your collaboration workspaces (e.g. Slack).
  2. Give champions autonomy to create and share content, but have a central process to coordinate company-wide communications to avoid information overload and content fatigue.
  3. Track and measure which communications employees are engaging most with and feed this back to employee champions.

Know when to group Internal Comms into a Campaign

Internal Communications campaigns are a great way to reinforce important messages and to drive positive long-term changes, but not all employee comms should be part of a campaign 💡

When should internal comms be grouped into a campaign? Below is a handy checklist to help with this 📝

1. Comms grouped into a campaign should have the same core purpose. The call-to-action may be slightly different for each, but they have a common, measurable end goal 🥅

2. Campaigns should have a set timeframe. For example, corporate sustainability may be important to your company, but it’s more of a comms topic than a comms campaign. A sustainability-related campaign could be a series of comms encouraging employees to minimise single-use plastics in the office ⏱️

3. There are likely to be different stages for a comms campaign from creating awareness to action/ implementation. In the context of marketing campaigns, the final stage is often a buying decision. The desired outcome for internal comms is usually more nuanced and varied, but it will involve some form of employee ‘buy-in’! 😀

Learn more about this topic with Canopact's Comms Campaign Decision Tree.

Don't leave any company values behind

A company’s core values are integral to their mission and purpose. However, it can be easy for certain values to become neglected if there’s a significant variation in the volume of employee comms associated with each value 🚩

How can this scenario be avoided?

1. As a starting point, track your internal communications posts and the corresponding company value(s) if relevant. This will allow you to determine if the volume of comms for certain values are much lower ⚖️

2. Then, measure the extent to which employees are engaging with each value over time. Choose the engagement metrics most relevant and meaningful to your company 📏

3. If engagement is lower for certain values, you could test different comms content and formats to drive higher engagement 🧪

With Canopact's tagging feature, you’ll never need to perform these steps in a spreadsheet again 🙏

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