Tips for Optimizing Your Internal Communications
We often hear about how important it is to meaningfully engage our customers, but what about our internal audiences? An engaged workforce is essential for successful mission goals, and strong internal communications is key for an engaged workforce. GovDelivery’s fifth Digital Engagement Breakfast event, “Improving Internal Communications in the Workplace,” provided attendees with advice on how to better engage their employees.
Franklin Bradley, Internal Communications Manager at Architect of the Capitol, Bonnye Hart, Digital Engagement Services Manager at GovDelivery, and John Simpson, Digital Engagement Strategist at GovDelivery, shared tips, best practices, and examples of effective internal communications strategies.
According to a 2012 Gallup report, 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged in their workplaces, which costs organizations $300 billion each year. A report from McKinsey Global Institute noted that organizations with connected employees were 20-25% more productive that unconnected organizations. When people know what’s going on, they can contribute more.
Implementing effective internal communications can be challenging, so Hart and Simpson provided a list of five questions to guide your strategy.
What are you communicating?
The content of your message will drive how you approach your communications. Are you updating employees on new changes to their employee benefits? Are you inviting employees to a fun office activity? Or are you informing employees about urgent information, such as office closures or IT outages? These are all common types of internal communications, and each requires a different approach in terms of content, design, and channel.
Where are your audiences?
With the growth of mobile devices and teleworking, you have to develop strategies to reach your employees no matter where they are. In addition, employees often can’t access their desktop email accounts or don’t have time for long messages, so communications should be easy to access and easy to understand.
How are you acquiring your audiences?
Just as you have to consider how you’re growing your external audiences, you have to consider how you’re bringing your workplace into your internal communications. Many of the strategies used for internal audiences work here as well, such as website overlays, subscription topics, and integration with online and offline channels.
What resources are you directing them to?
In your communications, what are you asking your employees to do? Should they be accessing something on your agency intranet? Should they be downloading a toolkit or filling out a form? Understanding the call to action can help create a more targeted message and establish clearer metrics for success.
How do you know if your outreach is effective?
Make sure your communications are as strong as possible by testing your campaigns and messages. Like with external communications, A/B testing can help provide data on what works and what doesn’t. Similarly, metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and form completions can help your agency understand what strategies you should pursue in the future.
So what does this look like in the real world? Bradley worked with GovDelivery to implement a successful internal communications strategy at the Architect of the Capitol.
AOC maintains, operates, and preserves the grounds of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court, among other landmarks. The organization has 2,300 workers, offices in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and works with almost 18 million square feet of buildings and over 500 acres of land.
Faced with this dispersed workforce, Bradley realized he had to meet the employees where they were. This meant offering a greater level of flexibility and personalization when it comes internal communications. He worked with GovDelivery to implement customizable subscription topics so employees can choose what they received and how.
While all employees receive the All-Staff Updates at their agency email, they can opt in for more internal communications on topics such as AOC events, trainings, and job listings. Employees can also choose to receive these communications on their phone or through their personal email.
Metrics show that these subscription topics are successful with the employees. There are over 2,300 subscriptions for the All-Staff Updates, signifying that many employees have chosen to receive them through text or personal email in addition to through their agency email.
Bradley also updated the biweekly newsletter. They are now themed; for example, a recent letter highlighted the work the stonemasonry team did, allowing other teams to learn more about what their colleagues do. The newsletter contains snippets of information with links to the full articles, so it is easy to scan and retains engagement throughout the entire email. Bradley can use metrics to track the open rate and the clicks to see what stories resonate the most with employees.
While engaging with your external audience is critical, don’t let your internal communications fall to the wayside. These tips and examples can help you develop a strong internal communications strategy.
If you missed out on this event in the GovDelivery’s Digital Engagement Breakfast series, never fear—there’s another happening in July. Join us for a discussion of 10 tips to optimize your GovDelivery subscription on July 19 at the GovDelivery office in Washington, D.C. Register for free here.