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How technology can help internal communications.

Byline: BridgeTower Media Newswires

Thanks to technology, internal communications for organizations has seemingly become easier. Yet somehow, it's also become more complicated.

In this competitive environment for finding and keeping good staff, it is essential for leadership to communicate effectively with its different employee segments. Messages need to be timely and clear, and importantly should include the marketing focus of what is important to the different audiences. And just as in the case of your savvy external marketing messages, these internal communications should be timed so they are neither too early nor too late to be of value.

Developing an effective communications plan is a worthwhile organizational goal it helps create a unified workplace of more engaged employees. Human resource studies indicate happy employees are more productive and there is likely reduced turnover, which reduces recruitment costs and downtime.

How do you develop or even improve an existing internal communications plan? Like many things, start with a market research project. Let your staff tell you the best way to reach them in terms of frequency, format, etc.

A Survey Monkey tool is a one good way to start. The survey will identify a variety of ways to reach people. Individuals may not routinely be in an office and may use their mobile phones rather than a desktop computer. Some of the problems that your survey is likely to reveal: you are too general (one size does not fit all in desired knowledge); too technical (use too much jargon); too late (the information is already known); or too long-winded in an era of increasingly short attention spans. You can also assess the types of information your staff want to receive and prioritize your messages.

Plan and measure

Once the research is concluded, it's time to develop a plan. For a large and mobile staff, an Intranet has been a tried-and-true approach for many years. The challenge is to identify who will manage the internal-only website and keep the quality and accuracy of information reliable and at a high level. The addition of a few Intranet chat group forums is a popular approach for employee feedback, questions and opinions.

Content, correct grammar and ease of reading remain key elements of a successful Intranet. For example, don't simply download your HR department's fine benefits slides. Descriptors should not exceed 100 words. Magazine-style headlines may help create interest, such as "5 New Ways to Save Money on Health Care Costs."

Other components of your internal communications could include leadership "coffee with" events, other briefings, newsletters, fliers, print or electronic messaging, emails (under 50 words!), social media and blogs. Texts and alerts may need to be limited to emergency or crisis communications use.

One major and relatively newer technical tool already in widespread national use is a cloud-based web team communication application called Slack. Slack enables mobile users to share information, even documents and photos/videos. Further, Slack provides user forums for responses. Dispersed workforces love this application. Google Hangouts is another popular group communication application.

Once you have your inside plan and staff to support it, remember to utilize metrics to see how the plan is working. Your Intranet probably has built-in analytics, as do most of your other technological tools. If your messages aren't successfully reaching your employee base, reevaluate all aspects of the plan, including content and format. Remember, as in all marketing, the communication plan itself is a variable. Make it a success and your organization will reap the benefits.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at

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Author:LeGendre, Glenda
Publication:Michigan Lawyers Weekly
Date:Sep 6, 2018
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