Be BOLD with your internal communications 

by | Oct 10, 2017 | Articles, Featured, General

Marketing and communications is considered a priority skill across the board for L&D and rightly so! For any department looking to embed change and deliver transformation, effective internal communications are a MUST.

Having worked in internal communications myself I took to the stage at the latest CLC Members Meeting to share some simple ideas on how you can ensure your message is landing with employees. Here’s 10 tips to get you on right path and some BOLD suggestions from those joining us in the room to get the ball rolling…

Now communications – especially those of an internal nature – is a big topic to tackle.  Below I’ve laid out ten tips to get you on the right track – a checklist of sorts. But, before you launch yourself into those, I’d like you to take a few minutes to consider the essentials and get your mindset in the right space.

 

Do you know what messages will resonate with which audience?
Do you have sufficient insights into each stakeholder group?

Do you know what communication channels work best for each audience? This is where you can check out some of our learner voice data or get talking to people in the business for metrics.

Do you have an oversight of what else is going on within your organisation? It’s important you time your communications for maximum impact.

Are you in a storytelling mood?  It’s essential you create a narrative with a strong CTA that aligns to the brand and values but most importantly, lands!

Can you measure the impact of your communications – open rates and click-throughs across stakeholder audiences? As much data as you can get your hands on will ensure you don’t just repeat the message but refine and adapt to ensure a greater reach.

So let’s get to it then!  Ten tips to mastering internal engagement….

 

Plan plan plan:
Ensure you have a communications plan in place before you start.
Define what your core message is. Less is more – short, engaging and often in the case of L&D, instructional.
Identify your stakeholder groups and timetable your communications for each audience.

Gather strong visuals and a catchy strapline
Think about visuals to address the messaging – get their attention.  Collate those images and keep it limited. Less is more.

Choose your platforms wisely
Now these will be central to a communications plan but until you have the core message you can’t think channels. Take one message and craft it for different channels – think of it as a campaign approach.

Written and social communications to consider
Email – use a striking banner-type visual – have a clear instruction and address learner motivation. Position the call to action so it can be seen near the top and don’t bombard!
Twitter and social platforms inc. Watsap – as above, work with a short sharp statement or call to action

Visual tools to engage
Screensavers/posters/business cards – less is more. Image and a short url or a QR code to signpost the learner
Desk drops – don’t throw money away – something innovative that will spark some curiosity
Installations – demos – events – you don’t need to have budget but you do need engaging and outgoing people.

Target your audience strategically
Work closely with individuals across departments.  Get yourselves some learning ambassadors and work with them to get a deeper understanding of how to communicate effectively. You’ll also have someone to champion your cause from within.

The C-suite – they want to drive profitability, growth, transformation and productivity – this is what matters to them so you need to communicate in this language – using evidence to back you up. We have the stats that prove that learning impacts these 4 areas.

Business heads and managers – looking at the stats for this year the Top Deck have 72% of top managers involved in promoting learning – compared to 31% of the rest. They’re key to the cascade of information – play a crucial role in the development of their team as individuals and they want to deliver impact.  So consider carefully how to package learning for them.

Employees – you want to be as tuned in as possible to this audience – my recommendation would be to build a working group / conduct focus groups across different areas of the business and mix employees up – director to junior – to get conversations going.

What’s the main motivator for learners?
It doesn’t matter what sector or demographic group they belong to, for 7 in 10 employees, their no.1 motivation for learning is to do their job better and faster.

Think outside the box when it comes to capturing the attention of remote or hard to reach workers
With organisations becoming increasingly digital and more people working remotely or flexibly it’s important you think outside the box to capture their imagination and engage them.

You don’t always need budget to make a difference
Whilst working in the NHS I was struggling to reach those working within the wards for a staff survey.  People were pressed for time and with one workstation per ward we were struggling to get the numbers. With no budget and no resources we ended up popping a computer on a trolley and wheeling it around the hospital with a tea, coffee and cake station.  Stopping in the nurses station meant they could take their break, grab some caffeine and participate in the survey.  It wasn’t sophisticated and it reached a limited number of people but it did raise the profile of the
survey.

Ensure continual engagement by sharing success stories
There’s no black and white in communications but it is about continual engagement. Think about sharing success stories. If you have a newsletter at work, or perhaps a magazine, ask if you can contribute once a month or once a quarter? The communications team will love yo for offering up content!

At the end of our session at the CLC Member’s Meeting we asked them to use our discussion as a basis for ideas, and challenged them with the following question.  f you wree ten times bolder what would you do next to build engagement in learning? Scoring themselves – these were the top five ideas:

 

Go to my team meetings and present my communications plan and use it as a space for feedback.
Step 1: Speak directly with managers across the business to get their buy-in and join their meetings

 

To encourage staff engagement with Senior Managers I’d invite staff to a lunch and learn with one of the directors.  It gives staff an opportunity to ask questions and encourages the sharing of information.

 

Engage managers with the new LMS /online learning by giving them a weekly challenge for their team (with prizes).
Step 1 – Share the idea with managers and take in their feedback.

 

Twice a year, in 30 minute slots, ask for an L&D update to be pre-booked on all regional management meetings. This would drive the project management team.

 

Reach out to the AV team about creating videos – start by proposing a plan to the L&D manager.

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