7 Reasons Employees Aren't Engaging with Your Content
April 6, 2023
Your internal reports are dazzling, your emails are carefully crafted to reflect company culture, and you've got important information to share with your audience. But, just like external communications, engagement can be a struggle.
Attention spans are dwindling, so making your content engaging from the outset is becoming increasingly important. Recent research indicates that the average person's attention span has dropped to just under 50 seconds, meaning that if you aren't capturing their interest right away, there's a good chance they will reject your content and miss out on valuable information.
By examining the primary reasons why your internal audience isn't engaging with your content, you can learn how to tailor your tone, message, and medium to keep your audience's focus firmly planted on the story you have to tell.
1. The content isn't relevant or relatable.
The content you produce as an internal communications team has the power to make a big impact. It can bring employees together, help them learn more about their work and each other, and even foster a sense of unity among the workforce. However, if that content isn't relevant or relatable, all your hard work will go unnoticed.
One way to make content feel relevant and valuable is to focus on topics like career development, leadership tips, best practices, and industry insights. Internal communications teams should also create content that ties into the company's overall mission and values so employees can better relate to it and draw a strong connection between the content and their work.
If the content being distributed doesn't feel personalized or relevant to the audience, it's unlikely that people will engage with it. When internal communications teams send out generic messages, many employees will ignore them or hit the delete button.
To make sure content feels relevant, internal communications teams should strive to use stories, case studies, and testimonials from employees when crafting content. This will give employees a more personal connection to the message and make them more likely to engage. Internal communications teams should also consider targeting content based on employee roles or interests to ensure they're sending out content that resonates with their audience.
2. The company culture doesn't foster psychological safety.
Creating a psychologically safe work environment is crucial for any company culture. When employees feel like they can't be themselves or share their ideas without judgment, it prevents the team from reaching its full potential. It's particularly important for internal communications teams because their success depends on employee engagement and participation.
If team members don't feel safe enough to express themselves, they're unlikely to engage with content or offer feedback, leading to stagnation and disengagement. Conversely, by fostering an open, honest, and psychologically safe workplace, companies can enhance their teamwork, communication, and productivity, ultimately leading to a more positive and successful culture.
One way to foster this environment is to feature a varied mix of employees in your storytelling that collectively represents the diversity of your workforce. Another method is to solicit their opinions and ideas through internal communications platforms, then share follow-up messages that summarize what you're hearing and give examples of how their input is being implemented. Regular check-ins with employees can also help ensure everyone feels heard and respected.
3. The communication overload is overwhelming the audience.
We are continually bombarded with information from every direction. From social media updates to work emails, the influx of content can be overwhelming. This is especially true for employees who must keep up with internal communications distributed by their company's team.
With so many messages being sent at once, it can be challenging for employees to keep track of and engage with each one. The communication overload leaves individuals feeling inundated and can result in important information getting lost in the shuffle. As communicators, it's essential to be mindful of our audience's capacity and strategize effective ways to disseminate information without overwhelming employees.
To make sure communications are seen, internal comms teams should try to limit the number of messages they send and focus on providing content that is relevant and useful to their audience. An important component of this is proactively developing a content distribution schedule for the next six months or even beyond, rather than reactively responding to immediate needs and opportunities.
Consider creating channels or sections within their communication platform that allow employees to filter out non-essential content they don't want to see.
4. The timing of the communication isn't right.
By sending out your communications at the ideal time, you can ensure they get the attention they deserve. Whether scheduling a meeting or sending out an email, it's crucial to consider what works best for your team. Timing isn't just about sending messages at a specific hour of the day — it's also about sending them when your team's attention is likely to be available, or focused on the topic.
Take the time to plan your internal communications to achieve maximum engagement and ensure the right people receive your messages at the right time. Analytics can help determine when employees are most active and make it easy to plan communications accordingly. Timely, relevant messages are more likely to earn engagement.
5. Visibility is too low.
Your ultimate goal is to ensure your messages reach everyone in your organization, but you can't do that without making content visible and easily accessible. Consider where employees are and how they prefer to get their information and adapt accordingly. Whether through an intranet portal, email, or a mobile app, create multiple touchpoints that are readily available to everyone.
Focusing on visibility and accessibility goes a long way to ensuring that communications effectively engage and inform employees. Internal communications teams should ensure that their communication platform is easy to navigate and allows content to be searchable. Additionally, they should take advantage of any push notifications or email reminders their platform offers so employees see their content as soon as it's released.
6. The content isn't fostering any kind of connection or dialogue.
When creating compelling content, fostering a connection and dialogue with your audience is vital. The days of simply broadcasting a message to your audience are long gone. In order to truly engage with employees, you need to provide them with opportunities to interact and contribute to the conversation.
Whether through social media, comment sections, or email, creating a two-way dialogue will help you better understand your audience and build inclusive and meaningful relationships with employees. Internal communications teams should strive to create content that connects their employees to the company.
Some examples include soliciting and featuring employee-generated content, scheduling Q&A sessions with leadership, and offering informal conversations within the intranet.
Internal communications teams should also ensure they promptly respond to any comments or questions that employees may have. This will show employees their voices are heard and valued, increasing engagement.
7. The company doesn't have an effective internal communications strategy.
A company's success depends on its ability to communicate effectively. Without a well-defined plan, internal communication can become unorganized, inconsistent, and ultimately ineffective. Misunderstandings, low morale, and decreased productivity can result.
To avoid these problems, it is essential to develop a comprehensive strategy that considers your organization's specific needs and goals. Doing so can ensure that your employees receive the right information at the right time through the most appropriate channels.
Internal communications teams should also establish clear protocols for how and when employees are expected to respond to communications. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and set expectations accordingly. With an effective internal communications plan, internal communications teams can better ensure they deliver content that resonates with their audience and earns engagement.
Keeping Your Audience Engaged
Internal communications teams should strive to create content that resonates with their audience and earns engagement, not just information to be consumed. You can't expect your colleagues to pay attention to content that doesn't connect with them.
These 7 reasons for low engagement are just the beginning of the conversation. Internal communications teams need to discover what factors are the most responsible for an inhibiting engagement at their workplace and develop thoughtful strategies that address them all. Identifying these obstacles might require soliciting ideas and insights from employees through surveys and focus groups.
With the right strategies and approaches, internal communications teams can ensure that employees are engaged with the content they receive and remain actively involved in conversations around it.