This blog, originally published in March 2021, has been updated to reflect the nature of the hybrid workplace.
As an employee communicator, you know that using email as your primary channel can easily overwhelm — and even worse, disengage — employees - especially with so many working remotely while many frontline workers are not.
Likewise, posting to your intranet isn’t much better - for the opposite reason: employees rarely visit or read postings there - mainly because many employees perceive the intranet as a communication channel that's disconnected from their day-to-day work.
Thankfully, there are some new and innovative ways to keep your messaging fresh and effective, and ensure it's actually seen by employees, not to mention saving you a ton of time.
Start by taking a page from marketing’s approach to interacting with consumers. You need to target and, more importantly, sell, your message to your workforce. Once you’ve figured out what they want to hear, you’ll want to deliver your message in the most seamless way possible, just as a marketer would to a customer. In other words, make it as easy and convenient for employees to see your content as possible.
There are many tried-and-true marketing techniques - and a group of new and powerful technologies - that are ripe for use by employee communicators. These tools put content where your employees are most likely to see it, in the least intrusive way, and with the easiest way to take action. These include:
- Multi-channel broadcasting
- Alerts via text and directly in desktop and mobile operating systems - regardless of which app they’re working in.
- Interactive quizzes
- Videos and podcasts that are integrated in Teams, SharePoint and Outlook
- Corporate content (“Ads”) that appear directly in Microsoft Teams
- “Ask the expert” sessions
Multi-channel broadcasting refers to the ability to publish content to multiple channels - such as SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, Outlook - with just one click or action. It saves the time usually spent republishing the same content to each of these channels manually.
Velaku’s new plug-in extends Microsoft 365 so you can reach more employees, across more channels and devices, much faster and with less effort. Take advantage of the audience targeting capabilities built into the Microsoft platform. Click to learn more.
While texting may seem invasive, getting a quick message to your employees via a text notification is just how employees are digesting information - in little snippets. Take advantage of this style of communication for alerts, breaking news or important updates.
Personality tests, working styles, or productivity hacks are the kind of fun interactive quizzes that engage your employees while giving you much needed insights. Disguised as fun diversions, these quizzes can provide you with the data you can use to personalize your messages. For example, a quick test on chronotype will reveal whether your group are morning larks or night owls. You could send them emails that are more likely to get opened if you time them just right.
Videos are a great way to talk to your employees. According to a report from HubSpot Research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands … more than any other type of content.
It can be daunting and time-consuming to create good video content, but the payoff can be worth it in terms of engagement. According to the HubSpot Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing,
“video on landing pages is capable of increasing conversion rates by over 80%, and the mere mention of the word “video” in your email subject line increases open rates by 19%. 90% of customers also say videos help them make buying decisions.”
You can put these videos almost anywhere with the latest technology. For example, Microsoft’s Stream app - part of Microsoft 365 - is fully integrated into SharePoint, Teams, and Yammer. Embed codes allow you to drop a video into an email, or on a landing page.
Corporate content (Ads) that appear directly in Microsoft Teams
Take your communications out of the intranet and email silos. With tools like the Broadcast function of the Velaku Teams plugin, you can have your eye-grabbing “ads'' appear directly in Teams. Because the employee doesn’t have to navigate to a SharePoint page or intranet, engaging with your content is as simple as scrolling through their daily feed.
Podcasts are another way to promote your messages to your employees. The format is particularly good for interview-style conversations, or recordings of experts whom you’ve invited to speak on a particular topic. It’s also a fun way to highlight the employee of the month. Since it’s just a recording, this is the simpler version of a video production. However, there are some best practices you might want to check out before you hit “record”.
“Ask the expert” sessions
Carolina Mata, former head of IBMer Communications likes these types of sessions. In a webinar on how she reset her communication strategy during COVID-19, she mentioned how AMA (Ask me anything) Slack sessions had been a go-to method of communications for her team. However, she warns that in cases where people really need to be heard, a Slack-based session may seem too impersonal.
One of the largest time-consuming tasks of a communications team is answering questions. Chatbots can take the burden of common questions off the shoulders of the team, and put it into the hands of a chatbot. “Where can I find X information” is just the kind of question you should be using this tool for. Like our other recommendations, there are some do and don’t rules, so make sure to do your research before you start.
We hope you like these innovative ways to get your messages out there. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to see us write on any more.
Velaku's communications app engages employees with content in ways that enable them to focus their time and energy on work. To learn how, click here.