Companies get nowhere without strong internal communications. When done well, communications can improve employee morale and effectively support the company’s operations.
If you’re looking to improve internal communication, timing plays a big part. There are two key moments when a communication (a new benefit for the employee, an award, or a product improvement) is important for an employee:
- The moment an event happens and is being broadcasted to the targeted employee.
- The moment the employee must perform a related task.
Let’s look at each of these moments in detail to learn what you can do to improve your end results.
Communicating at the Moment an Event Happens
Whether it is when a procedure changes, a new benefit is offered to employees, or when a company product is improved, the update must be communicated to everyone involved.
During moments like this, you are competing with multiple other communications for employees’ attention. Reaching a balance between all of the updates bombarding employees will help avoid overtaxing their already scarce attention and will increase the likelihood that your messages are received and understood. Because you can’t assume that just because you sent a news update to your employees they will remember it. In fact, only a percentage will read it and a smaller percentage will still remember it in, say, two weeks.
There are quite a few ways to improve information consumption in this phase: highlight the news for a longer period, allow the news to be marked for reading later, request a read confirmation, ask employees to fill in a questionnaire to confirm that they understood the communication. Those are just a few examples of ways to increase awareness.
Most intranet systems are tuned to improve the absorption of information in this phase. Yet the increasing amount of information being literally dumped on employees are lowering the odds of them remembering much in this phase.
Related Article: Internal Communications: Email vs. Chat vs. Discussion vs. Meetings
Communications at the Moment the Employee Performs a Related Task
During this phase, employees are open to receiving communications with any supporting details related to the task, because such information will help them finish it correctly and avoid time-consuming rework.
In this phase, having a task-oriented intranet where employees can find, grouped together, all the information related to a task starting with the recent news is incredibly important.
If the employee is looking for the app to launch to complete the task, the design of the intranet section dedicated to the topic should first highlight the recent news.
The design is similar to the experience you have in most retail stores. You go to buy a product and, through smart product placement, you end up buying a more expensive product that was at eye level, or an additional one found on the way to the cash register.
Intranet designers can use the same methods marketers use to sell more products to improve access to information and, as a result, employee productivity and satisfaction.
If, for example, an employee has to present some information to a customer about a product, they might be looking for the product brochure. So, perhaps in the product section the intranet could show that the product received a favorable review from a well-known magazine, or that the product has been recently improved or that there is an ongoing campaign for the product at hand. The result will be better (and in some cases much better) than if the intranet simply delivered a product information sheet.
Better designed communications systems put less pressure on employee attention and memory and can quickly provide all the supporting information at the time when an employee needs to perform a related task.
Related Article: Using 5S Methodology to Improve Your Digital Workplace
Cristian Salanti is working as a Digital Employee Experience Architect at Zenify.net. He has been developing Intranets for the past 20 years. He is advocating for a more practical, managerial approach to Digital workplace design.