Does your internal communication need a diet this New Year?

Does your internal communication need a diet this New Year?

Remember when all internal communications were akin to ‘three square meals a day’?

In the ‘kitchen’, comms teams planned out the hearty and filling news, with enough nutritious information to sustain employees throughout the working week.

A couple of daily news stories on an intranet, a monthly CEO message and a printed employee magazine.

The regular sustenance meant employees could anticipate corporate information, build an appetite and know what they were getting.

Moving past broadcast

Okay, so not everything was so great. This broadcast, one-way communications approach was like serving up a dish and then running back to the kitchen. We forced everyone to eat alone and we rarely asked anyone what they wanted to eat.

Slowly, we adapted and we’ve come a long way since then.

We started to sit down with our employees and we started conversation over dinner.

Most importantly we even got employees cooking and serving up meals themselves.

Employee voice, employee-generated content and the shift in comms teams from content creators to content curators has no doubt benefited the organisations in which we work.

But then, somehow, I think we’ve lost our way.

A 24/7 drive thru of information

We were so happy to see our people cooking for themselves, we started to forget that this snackable content might lack the nutrition of more strategic content. And with so much of it being produced, it would be easy for people to fill up quickly, skip main meals and spend time constantly eating.

In business terms it means we’re seeing information overload, confusion about strategic direction and a lack of understanding about organisational goals.

Putting a communications on a diet

More than ever before, in 2018, our comms kitchens need professional chefs, menus and a weekly meal plan.

We need to give people the time to digest the important stuff and not get overwhelmed by the never-ending supply of snacks on offer.

And so, as many of us try to shed those unwanted xmas pounds this January, maybe it’s time to put our comms on a diet too?

Why not..

  • Take a good look at your existing diet: What are you sharing too much of? Where are the gaps – which ‘vitamins’ aren’t present that will help employees really connect the dots and understand where your organisation is headed? Plan wholesome content for a stronger story.
  • Publish your menu: Create a strategic anchor point by publishing your organisational strategy and throughout the year show how individual ‘dishes’ of content form part of this overarching menu.
  • Label your food groups: Signal to employees that content is ‘need to know’ versus ‘nice to know’ helping them to better self-select what they consume.
  • Move the chocolates away from the till: Curate the best employee stories that support strategic clarity and put these ones front and centre instead. This isn’t about putting a stop to employee voice, it’s about helping people navigate through the noise and making sure we don’t confuse people with too much information.
  • And finally, pass on your expertise with cookery classes and cookbooks: Provide even more training, guidance and toolkits to employees to help build the capability within your organisation for ‘healthier’ communications.

What do you think? Does your internal communication need a diet?

This post is also available on LinkedIn here.

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