Employees of all generations want to be heard, valued and informed on updates within their organization, but everyone has different preferences on how he or she wants to receive these messages. Leaders often believe they are great communicators, have biweekly staff meetings and send out lengthy emails but still receive requests for more consistent and ongoing communication.
If you are in this position, you are not alone. Emails can be overlooked, and updates can become lost in the shuffle of other conversation during meetings. There are several ways to share information that do not take a lot of time (or money) and that help employees feel valued and “in the know.”
Make a Video
Short videos that provide both entertainment and information (“infotainment”) are an excellent way to captivate your audience. Millennials and Generation Z are used to watching video content on social media platforms, and many prefer this method of communication.
Videos do not have to cost a lot of money; you can even record them using a phone on a tripod or a screen capture platform. Here are some ideas for video content:
- If your team is using a new application, create short videos that lay out, step-by-step, how to use it. You can then save this microlearning on an internal drive for new employees to watch.
- Share your organization’s new product or service offering with employees. Break down the target market, launch date and any other vital information that will help employees feel connected.
- Have a brief Q&A session with a senior leader. Field questions from employees ahead of time, and have a “Meet the Leader” series to help employees get to know people they might not see every day.
Pro tip: To take it up a level, try adding captions. Not only will your video be more ADA-compliant, but people will also be able to watch it on mute if they are in a public space.
Our inboxes are overflowing with emails. Any way organizations can reduce the number or condense the content is usually appreciated. It’s still important to communicate information, but you can do so in a way that will ensure that employees actually read it.
One way is through bulleted emails. Emails that are in paragraph form, where the reader has to sift to find out the highlights, are often overlooked. When you use bullets, the most important information is easier to find.
Writing an abridged version of the content can also be helpful. You can use the acronym “TL; DR” (too long, didn’t read) within each major point to share which information is most important.
Pro tip: Think tweet length when providing a summary. You want it to be long enough to share information but not so long that employees do not read it.
Create an Infographic
Infographics are a great way to share information visually. They capture attention quickly and provide concrete material that is easily digestible. If you are about to launch a new training program, sharing an infographic on “Top 5 Reasons You Should Take This Course” or “6 Essential Skills to Earn a Promotion This Year” can gain more sign-ups than providing just the program description. Eye-catching visuals also make a big difference in view rate.
You can also use infographics to help an audience connect with a product, share company information or help teams see their progress through the years.
Pro tip: The best infographics have an intended audience. It’s important to be clear on who you want to see it, why they should care about it, and what you want them to learn or gain from viewing it.
Try a Collaboration Platform
There are many free and inexpensive platforms that are designed to help teams communicate better. They support informal conversations, are searchable, and have different channels to organize projects and teams. With these platforms, you can help employees feel more connected with one another and enable them to ask questions easily.
Learning facilitators can also use this type of platform to help employees connect with one another during and after a training program. It also gives managers another way to ask questions and send updates on team members’ progress.
Pro tip: If you are using in a new platform with your team, have a conversation about best practices and intended use. Share not only how to use it but when and why so everyone is on the same page.
Use Your Internal Network
We often share relevant company information on our internal networks but do not think about using that communication as an opportunity to get to know the people we work with. By sharing personal updates, pictures and video, you not only keep employees informed but also create a space to start a conversation. Many employees want to know what is going on not only in the organization but also with their co-workers.
If you are hosting a new learning and development event, take videos and pictures, and share them on the platform. Have employees give testimonials about what they learned. If your team has community services days, take a video and share it. These small activities can help employees feel more connected across departments.
Pro tip: Start an initiative to start the conversation. Try #ThankYouThursday, and ask people to give a shout-out to a person or team that helped them during the week.