Strategic Communication for the Overlooked Group: 5 Tips for Effective Employee Communication
In the work place, communication is not just a two way street, it’s a web. There’s management, employees, consumers, industry networks – and each channel needs to be addressed efficiently.
Most of us spend weeks or months pouring over your social media, print and video campaign for the new product your company is pushing. But while spending so much energy focusing on how to communicate a message to your consumer base, what is most neglected is communicating that message to your own employees. Employees need to be on board with your new campaigns, and how you communicate with them will differ from how you communicate with your consumers. Your marketing success hinges not only on getting the message across to your customers, but also on you making the effort to improve communication with your employees.
Get HR Involved
Don’t let your marketing team work behind closed doors. Forbes reported on the evolution occurring over the past few years of a marketing and communications team; such a team used to focus on just a few aspects of publicity, like writing speeches for CEOs and advertising new products, and it now basically oversees the entire company image. Part of strategic communications is making sure you cover all of your bases. Get HR involved to ensure consistent communication efforts to and by members of the staff, especially if your business has multiple locations.
Select an Effective Platform
Your first task once you have HR on board is to select an effective communication platform. For example, decide if you’re going to send out all communication by email or on private company-wide forums. Avoid sending out in-house memos via social media, unless your IT department is able to build a social media-like platform or you use something like Google Groups that’s locked and open to employees only.
Don’t let the size of your company be an obstacle. For example, GreenBiz reports Avon Products has 42,000 employees and over 6 million sales representatives around the world, but they manage to maintain a consistent method of communication thanks to a single platform. While it doesn’t hurt to remind employees of important news in different formats (for example, sending out an email reminder after something’s been posted at the company forum), there should be one single format where everyone can go to read all of the news and information they need. Whenever there’s an update, the update needs to appear on that platform first.
Post Reminders Throughout the Office
In addition to choosing an online format for delivering news, post reminders around the office at desks, in the break room, or even in bathrooms. Not every bit of news needs to be posted, but if there’s an upcoming event, such as a company booth at a trade exhibit you want employees to attend, or a new company-wide rule, like “always ask the customer if she’d like to buy the warranty,” posting the notices around the office for a few weeks helps reiterate the important messages.
In some ways, though, less is more. If you post notices around the office, take them down after they’ve had a few weeks to sink in or the applicable date has passed; don’t post more than a couple notices at once or it’ll become overwhelming.
Provide Opportunities for Two-Way Communication
Just as you look for customer feedback when it comes to how your marketing strategies are working, you should always seek feedback from employees when it comes to your communications with them. Getting employee feedback and adjusting your in-house communication strategies is actually easier than getting feedback from customers. You may find, for example, that employees prefer email notices instead of forum notices after a trial run. Let employees know where they can contact you and hold regular meetings to address suggestions and comments.
Earn Your Master’s
Professionals who make the effort to study a specialization such as strategic communications understand the nuances of effective employee communications. Earn your MA in strategic communications; read the course descriptions here to learn more. Encourage your marketing team to pursue a degree in the specialization as well. It’s one thing to earn a generic marketing degree, and it’s quite another to expose yourself to the latest research and techniques in effective marketing, lessons that will positively inform your marketing strategies.
No marketing plan can truly take advantage of strategic communication without including employees in that plan. Even if your attention is often focused outward, it’s essential you turn your attention inward from time to time. Employees have to be on board with all of your goals and marketing campaigns to convey consistency and efficiency to the world at large. Effective employee involvement starts with clear communication.
Have you tried to involve your employees to get the first wave of information out to the public? If everyone is on board and working as a team, results are better met! Tell us about your own experience with employee communication by commenting below or tweeting @mscareergirl!
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