Five Practical Ways to Improve Office Communication

Another day, another full inbox. Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone.

You and your coworkers are drowning in content. According to a 2017 study by eMarketer, U.S. adults’ average daily time spent with major media will exceed 12 hours this year. Yep, 12 hours. There are endless social networks, overstuffed personal and professional inboxes, and of course, actual work to compete with. To manage the flow, employees are multitasking. The result? A Microsoft study showed the average human attention span is less than a goldfish.

Also read: How Banning Email Can Boost Productivity And Work Satisfaction

In the face of this tsunami of information, how do you make your important employee and corporate communications stand out? To fight information fatigue, you need to get strategic about your messages. Here are my five favorite tips for improving office communication.

Do an Audit of Your Communications and Channels

If your communications are costing a lot of time and money and aren’t delivering results, it’s time to reconsider them. Look at the time spent and the frequency of use. If nobody is going to your intranet, find ways to innovate that strategy and increase the ROI or ditch it.

Some staffers might need a little training and re-wiring on how and when to access this resource. Use your analytics to determine the most desirable intranet content and make it beautiful and simple to access.

Learn, Don’t Just Ask

Surveys are okay but don’t count on people being truthful. After all, they know the boss is watching. Instead look at the real analytics of people’s interactions and decipher what content is resonating.

Also read: 9 Dos and Don’ts of Employee Engagement Surveys

This data with survey results and your excellent mind for engagement, you will have an unstoppable mix that’s sure to win. If content creation is becoming laborious, consider using external sources to ease the burden. Hint: Content that saves employees’ time AND provides value wins the engagement game.

Identify and Engage Internal Influencers

Do you know your internal influencers? The office moms, the organizers, the folks who speak up. No matter their position, these folks hold sway.

Learn who they are and try to connect your message to them. Hold focus groups with them and listen to the barriers and the actual words they use when describing how they FEEL about how their company is communicating with them. Then use those words in your marketing push. Empathy and an open mind are key.

Bust out Your Red Pen

“Brevity is the soul of wit,” Shakespeare wrote in 1602’s “Hamlet” and man was he right. Sometimes messages from ‘on high’ show up on your desk lengthy and boring. The easy thing to do would be to pass those messages on to the staff as they stand today but if you want to capture your associate’s attention, take the time to edit that message down to the most essential points.

If the document or communication has to be lengthy, use bullets and headings to help folks skim. You could even give them the executive treatment by offering a bulleted briefing at the top.

Get Personal

If you communicate to the middle, you will always be disappointed. Stop giving the same message to every employee. Use A.I. or segmentation to tailor your message to your audience.

Folks who work second or third shift can often feel minimized by 9-5 communications. If your organization offers more than one shift, make sure you offer more than one delivery time for your messages.

Show, Don’t Tell

Instead of management telling your employees what they think they should hear, show them through employees’ stories.

For example, share the backstory behind that ribbon cutting. Share the struggle of the unsung hero who was instrumental in making it happen. Employees want to see themselves as the hero and they better identify with their fellow ditch digger than a “message from the president.” Video production, even if it is on an amateur level, is a great medium for telling employee stories.

Final Word

Your instincts are great, but they are only part of the employee engagement puzzle. Let employee behavior and insights drive you to the right messages, channels, and platforms to engage your employees.

Download the white paper and see how you can create an integrated, engaging employee experience using people analytics!

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