The Five Fundamentals of Delivering Effective Internal Communications  

Sunday, 19 April 2020 / Vaughan Reed

Communication drives staff engagement and an engaged workforce drives business productivity. Poor staff engagement impacts every area of the business from staff retention, business productivity through to customer experience. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best sales team, if you have a disengaged workforce, your business will struggle to achieve its full potential!

I’m a firm believer that communication is the lifeblood of every organisation and the Internal Communications role is one of the most vital roles within medium to large organisations.

Globally, according to Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplaceonly 15% of employees are engaged at work. By and large, we put this down to key business units (i.e. Internal Communications, People & Culture, Health Safety & Wellbeing etc) not having an effective communication channel to reach and positively influence behaviours within todays workforce. Businesses are still heavily reliant on text heavy, static methods of communicating business critical information, which are simply ineffective.

We live in an age where people are increasingly time poor and are constantly bombarded with information. On top of this, communication teams have the challenge of an age & culturally diverse workforce, non-deskbound workers and the trend towards flexible ‘at home’ working.

Businesses are now seeing Gen Zs entering the workforce and millennials make up roughly half of the current workforce. These are the digital generation, they are not wired to absorb text heavy, static information, and to be honest, who really is!

If businesses do not adapt the way they are communicating business critical information to match the habits and demographics of their workforce, their ability to influence positive behaviours will continue to diminish.

With 19+ years, helping clients with their digital strategies and more recently with 5 years specialising in internal communication, I’ve discovered that there are 5 fundamentals for delivering business critical information, if you want it to be seenunderstood and remembered:

  1. Vibrant – Messaging must be visual & lively, otherwise it won’t engage the audience. Humans process visuals 60,000 faster than text-based information. The science and online stats that back-up the importance of visualising communication is staggering!

  2. Snackable – Simply present the real essence of the message. It should be no longer than a tweet, (140 characters) otherwise it will not be read.

  3. Timely – Information must be delivered with immediacy and remain up-to-date to convey credibility and relevance.

  4. In your face – Messaging that is actively influencing your workforce, but not in a way that negatively interrupts or disrupts. Don’t expect people to hunt out information, because they won’t.

  5. Frequency – Repetition is the mother of all learning. If you want to positively influence behaviour, present information with a high level of frequency. The ‘Rule of 7’ suggests people need to see a message seven times before they take action.

All 5 fundamentals are essential for the delivery of effective communication. As you can imagine, ticking all 5 boxes has a big impact on the type of communication channels available to organisations.

Vibe.fyi is a strong advocate for leveraging digital screens placed in common areas, such as lunch rooms and breakout areas. With the businesses we have worked with, this has been by far the most effective communication medium for getting vibrant messaging out to their workforce and displayed with a high level of frequency, without being intrusive or disruptive.

Just imagine pushing out a message via email or using collaboration software, such as; Teams, Yammer or Slack etc and sending out the same message 7 or 8 times. It would not only infuriate everyone, but repetitive messaging in this medium clutters the tool and becomes ineffective for what it was designed for.

For home and remote workers, I recommend leveraging a desktop screensaver and the ‘home’ page on your Web Browser. These two effective communication channels are simple but ideal for keeping the remote worker informed and connected with the office. Additionally, these two channels can be utilised within the office to reach desk-bound workers that may not frequent commons areas through-out their day.

Article By Vaughan Reed [LinkedIn]
Vaughan is the Managing Director @ Vibe.fyi. Making it easy for organisations to communicate business critical information in a way that will inspire today’s workforce.