Internal communications is all about content. With the right words, you can boost productivity, employee engagement – and even profits.
But all too often companies commit cardinal sins when it comes to their content – and, as a result, it fails to get results.
To stop you falling into the same traps, here are six internal comms content clangers to avoid.
1. Using meaningless business-speak
You might hear phrases like ‘blue sky thinking’, ‘mission creep’ and ‘let’s action that’ in meetings but have you ever heard them in real life? Of course not. Internal communications should help you connect with employees, but using business-speak distances you from the very people you want to inspire. Instead, use plain, easy-to-understand language that you’d be more likely to hear in the staffroom than the boardroom.
Internal communications content should be used as a tool for positive reinforcement – not as a means to be critical. If your sales team has failed to meet their target, or someone’s spending more time on Facebook than their to-do list, save it for a one-to-one meeting rather than your monthly newsletter.
3. Not having an internal comms strategy
A well thought out internal comms strategy is the foundation effective employee engagement is built on. Like all strategies, it should pinpoint where you are now, where you want to be and, most importantly, how you’re going to get there. But keep your strategy simple. A long-winded document that goes into excessive detail will get filed in a drawer and ignored. Instead, use a living document that’s regularly referenced to ensure everything’s on track. It’s also worth revisiting and updating your strategy at least once a year.
4. Information overload
We live in an age when we are constantly bombarded with information from every angle, whether it’s from emails, texts, tweets and Facebook posts or adverts on billboards and television. To effectively create employee engagement, your internal comms content needs to cut through all of this noise and grab the attention of your employees. To do this, keep your content simple, short and to the point. This takes skill and experience. If you’re stuck, a freelance copywriter can help with in creative approaches to framing new procedures, interesting formats to share best practice, and even building a content calendar to help you plan your employee engagement strategy.
5. Not asking for feedback
Having a winning internal communications strategy is important – but equally, so is listening to what the people your content is written for actually want to read. Maybe there’s an expert within the business that they’d like to see interviewed. Or maybe they’d prefer shorter, weekly bulletins rather than one longer update every month. Invite ideas from employees on a regular basis – and explore different ways to implement them.
6. Failure to measure results
If you want your internal comms to be successful, it’s vital that you know what’s working and what’s not. As part of your internal comms strategy, use metrics to track how many clicks your intranet article gets and how many people open your newsletter email. You could even use tools to work out which headlines and subject lines are most effective. The information you glean can then be used to tweak and update your internal comms strategy.