It’s not just you—navigating change is a topic on everyone’s mind.
Even in a macroeconomic environment where change has been the one constant for years, companies are feeling the pressure to grow and transform how they do business, all while making do with fewer resources.
How can they pull it off? It has to start inside. Making sure your people are brought into your change process and kept up-to-date on how it’s evolving is crucial to the process—and to bringing customers and other stakeholders along. Communicating authentically and transparently with your employees is more vital than ever.
According to a recent Axios HQ report, 77% of leaders think their internal communications efforts are relevant and helpful, but only 46% of employees feel the same way. That’s a big gap.
While I have previously explored why you need to be thinking about internal and external communications in a holistic way, here are some immediate steps you can take a content-first approach to employee communications.
Don’t forget about storytelling
The Axios report also identifies another crucial gap: Employees most value communications around operational changes and organizational goals, whereas leaders rank those much lower on their priority lists, instead favoring culture, values and personnel updates.
However, instead of simply shifting your focus to processes and plans, think through how you’re telling those stories.
Content that creates context for changes and answers the fundamental “why” is going to engage and inspire employees far more than dry and descriptive updates. Like any good storytelling effort (or case study), you need to avoid the trap of overwhelming audiences with data points. Highlight the human and emotional stakes and dimensions. And carefully consider voice and tone. Instead of a “view from nowhere” update, these critical communications should take a real stance and bring in a variety of voices from the entire company.
Serialize and atomize your efforts
No, not everyone is going to read that email or company newsletter (let’s be real, newsletters plural). And that’s okay.
Instead of trying to make one piece of communication do too much work—and potentially be missed—think about how the key storyline can be pulsed out in an episodic way over time. An ongoing series about how fellow employees are creatively reaching their growth targets is going to have a lot more longevity and reach than a single email naming that target.
Also consider adapting your stories to best suit their delivery mediums. The same employee growth spotlight can do double (or triple) duty as a short text callout in a CEO email, a longer blog post on an internal site, and a two-minute video in a monthly newsletter.
Think beyond the email (or the employee paywall)
Your internal communications ecosystem is more expansive than you think.
Take LinkedIn. For many of the executives we work with, we’ve found that the plurality of their followership is employees. This creates a new distribution channel for employee communications, with the added benefit of simultaneously showing potential future employees and external stakeholders what makes your company special and how you’re navigating change.
Your employees are just like any audience you’re trying to reach in that they consume content across a variety of channels. We’ve recently been exploring how emerging platforms like TikTok can be a powerful broadcast mechanism for company culture.
As employee expectations for effective communications only increase, this is the moment to take new approaches that are not only more engaging, but also more efficient. And the companies that do so will be the ones leading the conversation on how they’re transforming themselves.