Actually, there’s no such thing as a communication channel that will work for every single employee. Clients or prospective clients sometimes hope that our expertise as an internal communications company will provide that one silver bullet — a channel that will reach every jaded cubicle worker with an overloaded inbox as well as all those non-desk employees working the manufacturing line, the retail floor or the hotel laundry room.
That being said, we now have more channels at our disposal than ever before. By putting together the right mix of channels, you should be able to cover the spectrum of your employee audience. Here are a few channels to consider for various audiences:
Office workers: Using an intranet as the hub of your communications is perhaps the most efficient way to provide a one-stop-shop for all the information employees need. With the many excellent SaaS options out there, it can be faster and cheaper than ever to launch a new and more useful intranet. To drive employees to that intranet, tease the content through other channels like digital signage in elevator lobbies and hallways, mirror clings in the rest rooms or table tents in the break room. Digital magazines or newsletters can be excellent vehicles for reinforcing the culture and giving real-life examples of how employees are living the values and supporting the company’s vision for growth. (Here are some ideas for launching a digital signage campaign.)
Remote workers: Those work-from-home employees often feel out of the loop, so finding an extra channel or two just for them is a good idea. Some companies mail printed magazines home to every employee, but you might at least consider sending any internal publications to those working in home offices. When remote employees will miss a big employee event, we sometimes send a physical event-in-an-box to replicate the experience at home. Collaborative channels that operate in real time, like Slack, can also help remote employees feel part of the team. (For more on keeping remote workers engaged, try this.)
Sales associates: Salespeople who are on the road most of the time depend on their smartphones to stay in touch. Most SaaS intranet platforms are mobile first now, so sales folks can check in on the intranet from wherever they are. But that’s also one more thing for them to remember when they’re traveling. You might survey your particular sales audience for input on their preferred way to receive internal comms. Do they love email or hate it? Would they prefer to download a mobile app? Are there platforms they’re already using for work that could be a channel for some sorts of internal comms? Also, assume they go home eventually (see notes on remote workers above.)
Manufacturing: Safety is one of the key considerations when evaluating channels for this audience. You also need to really understand the particulars of their physical environment. Think about using signage or posters in high-traffic areas, like entrances, break rooms and stairways. Some companies provide computer kiosks in central locations to access the intranet. Digital signage in the break room can also be a hard-working channel for this group. If your company has union employees, you’ll need to be cognizant of how that might impact any channels you’re considering.
Retail: Most retail locations have limited computer access for employees, but some companies provide iPads or tablets for employees to access the intranet while they’re on the clock. The non-customer facing areas of the store are good places to look for creative touch points, from floor decals to ceiling danglers.
Hospitality: Back-of-house opportunities for communication channels include many of the same cited above for manufacturing and retail. But also think about the touch points that might be unique to a hotel environment. In the F&B world, you might try oversized printed magnets on the walk-in coolers or the metal sink backsplash. In the laundry room, you could use a post the latest newsletter with all the articles (or excerpts of the articles) included on one giant poster.
Drivers: If your company has employees driving around all day to service customers, you may need to think of the vehicles themselves as channels. Drive them to key information on the intranet by pre-loading all the trucks or vans the night before with printed floor mats or rearview hangers. For something with a lot of content, like a newsletter, you might try formatting the publication like a folded roadmap.
In the examples above, the intranet remains the main receptacle of internal communications. But for each audience, you might need to try different ways to get them there — many of which are nothing more that creative ways to use decidedly low-tech solutions.
Interested in finding more ways to reach your various employee audiences? Tribe can help.