It’s January, and we’re starting another year in a brand new decade. Like many of you, I’ve made some personal resolutions, but I also like to include professional resolutions. A few years ago, I resolved to use internal communications as a way of creating meaningful connections between employees and the organization. I didn’t know how to begin, so I ended up abandoning the goal and becoming one of the millions of people who give up on their New Year’s resolutions. That did not sit well with me, so I took some time to determine what went wrong. I quickly realized my original goal had been too broad, and if I wanted to be successful with my communications resolution, I needed to simplify my approach. My solution? Ask these simple questions.
- Does your communication tell a story?
Take a minute and think about a recent article or story you enjoyed. Now, consider the reasons you liked it. What stood out? What made it memorable? How did it make you feel? Was it the clear story line that connected to you? Did the story include a specific call to action that prompted you to do something?
You enjoyed the story and kept reading—it was interesting and captured your attention. Employees read and consume company communications in the same way . . . they read, watch, or listen to content that interests and connects with them. As communicators, it’s up to us to develop communications that resonate with employees, telling stories that draw them in and leave them eager to learn more.
- Does your communication align with the company story?
Part of connecting the dots is ensuring your story aligns with your company’s story. The mission, vision, and values of an organization are usually high-level goals that employees don’t always connect to the company’s activities. By creating communications experiences that repeatedly tie news and activities to the mission, vision, and values, you are helping employees understand the bigger picture, showing the company doesn’t just talk the talk, but also walks the walk.
But tying your message to the company mission, vision, and values isn’t enough. You should consider every communication as an opportunity to deepen the connection between your organization and employees, which brings us to the final question.
- Does your communication provide employees with a new or renewed connection to the organization?
With employee affinity top of mind for many companies, communicators are often tasked with finding new ways to engage with employees. A lot of communications teams take a marketing approach and view their employees as customers, but that may not always be the most effective approach. Customers can come and go, but employees tend to develop emotional connections to their employers. To increase affinity, communications can deepen this connection through a holistic communications approach. But how do you elevate your communications to that level?
Understand your audience. Every day, employees come to work and perform specific tasks. They don’t always know how their work helps the company, but they want to know that it matters. Use your communications as opportunities to paint this picture for them, tying their contributions to the company’s goals. When you do this, you help build pride in the company, giving employees a sense of ownership in the success and letting them know that the company story is their story.
Bonus question: Does your communication promote two-way communication?
According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 60 percent of organizations were worried about their employees’ perception of transparency. One way to help bridge the gap is by opening the gates to two-way communication: carefully analyze audiences to better address their needs and what is important to them. By doing this, an organization shows commitment and dedication in understanding employees and then tailors its communication strategy accordingly. If an organization is willing to provide exactly what employees need, they begin to build the open, honest, and transparent relationships necessary for effective engagement and two-way conversation.
As communicators, we push information, but to create truly remarkable communications, we also need to pull information. By leveraging channels and providing opportunities for employees to engage with the content and each other, you are giving them different ways to connect with each other and giving yourself much-needed information in (near) real-time. From receiving story ideas to gleaning employee opinions, two-way communications is a powerful way to deliver content that matters, further showing employees that you’re not just pushing out information, but listening to them and adjusting to their needs.
So make a resolution to enhance your communications. If you keep these questions top of mind each time you communicate, you’ll be able to improve your communications, better connect with your audience, and keep your resolution throughout the year.
Melissa Yim is a senior manager in the Strategic Communications practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, currently leading the Strategic Communications market offering within Human Capital.
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