How To Signal Boost Communications in a Sea of Noise

Effective communication is a complex but common challenge. A constant stream of messages from within the workplace and beyond leaves employees grappling with a deluge of information. This volume and frequency of input can overwhelm even the most seasoned multitaskers, and can even lead to burnout.

Research by Statista in 2019 found that more than three-quarters of U.S. office workers check their work emails outside of work hours. Unsurprisingly, according to a 2021 survey by Wakefield Research on behalf of Superhuman, 38% of office workers cited "email fatigue" as a reason they would consider quitting their jobs.

Amidst the chaos lies the pivotal role of internal communicators, who must provide employees with essential information. How can you ensure these crucial messages reliably reach their intended recipients with clarity and impact?

The following strategies and tactics can help your audience connect with your messages and help your internal communications transcend the noise.

Strategic Brilliance

According to research by Radicati, the number of business emails sent and received per user per day has increased steadily over the past several years, from 122 in 2015 to 126 in 2019. Today, effective communication requires strategic wisdom to rise above the cacophony of information.

Not everyone has the capacity to navigate that sea of noise, but internal communicators can utilize their unique expertise and strategy to make sure the most important information stands out like a beacon. To make that strategy even more effective and resilient, there are a few foundational practices to consider.

Cultivate leadership alignment.

For internal communicators, effective communication isn't just a tool—it's the catalyst that can propel the organization toward meeting its goals.

However, there's a wide gap in communication between leaders and employees. According to Gallagher's State of the Sector 2021/22 report, just 58% of internal communicators felt their organization's leaders shared consistent messages and acted as employee role models.

For internal communication to be successful, senior management has to be on board with the message. Their endorsement lends credence to messaging efforts, and their actions reinforce them. HR and internal communication teams must show how effective communication can help the organization reach its goals in order to earn buy-in from executive leadership.

Tailor relevant messages to the audience.

Messages that resonate tend to be meticulously tailored to their recipients. Communicating in a way employees don't find relevant or relatable is unlikely to earn their attention.

We previously covered how to write an internal newsletter that employees will actually read. We also discussed some reasons employees aren't engaging with your content.

Internal communicators should use their knowledge of and insight into their audience to craft messages that speak to the recipients' specific needs, preferences, and interests.

Some groups within the organization may find certain communications exciting or relevant, whereas others might find the same messages pointless. That's why some organizations choose to segment their audiences, as demonstrated in the U.K. Government Communication Service's informative guide. Understanding your workplace's diversity will help ensure your messaging reaches its mark.

Communications giant Gallagher strongly recommends incorporating personalization into your internal communications strategy. Furthermore, research by McKinsey & Company in 2021 found that customers reward companies that personalize their communications. Internal communicators could easily apply the same concept to employees within their organization.

Maintaining a dynamic strategy of relevance and resonance requires organizations to deviate from a one-size-fits-all communication approach. For example, sending a "welcome to the company" email to a batch of new recruits would make sense, but there's no logic in sending the same email to the entire employee base.

The key to crafting targeted messages is segmenting the demographic based on multiple factors. These factors can include:

  • Location or type of workspace
  • Department or team
  • Job title
  • Seniority, tenure, or clearance level
  • Training or certification
  • Preferred language
  • Project involvement or program interest
  • Work schedule

Understanding employees' motivations, goals, and pain points can help ensure your messages reach those who need to see them. With this type of insight, communicators can craft messages that align with the needs of their workforce.

Communicate authentically.

Making a point to foster authentic internal communications can strengthen your organization. According to this Society for Human Resources Management article, open communication is critical in building the foundation for a collaborative, innovative workplace culture.

Gallagher's State of the Sector 2023 report addressed the importance of an authentic tone of voice within internal communications. In its report titled "9 Statistics That Prove You Need Internal Communication," Lexicon Content Marketing revealed that more than 80% of U.S. workers consider good internal communication critical in developing trust in their employer.

Within an organization, authentic communication can steer the company toward an overall culture of transparency, trust, and engagement. Without open and honest communication, employees feel out of the loop. Engagement may drop, collaboration may suffer, morale may tank, and you may even see an increase in workplace conflict.

In an age when information overload dilutes language and meaning, internal communicators must infuse messages with sincerity and relatability. Authentic internal communication humanizes the corporate discourse, breaking down barriers between leaders and employees.

By embracing respect, thoughtfulness, and two-way communication, organizations can forge a genuine connection that resonates deeply within the workforce.

Measure impact.

Measurement isn't just about analyzing past performance. It can also guide your internal communication strategy in the right direction. Though your metrics should include the usual measurements, such as open rates and engagement levels, they should dive deeper.

Measurement is a dynamic arena where art and science merge. Open rates and click-through numbers offer a surface-level snapshot, but the crux lies in deciphering the sentiment beneath the statistics.

Enter surveys and feedback mechanisms that channel the collective voice of the workforce. As we discussed in our recent blog post, "32 Impactful Employee Feedback Questions to Ask," asking the right questions helps you obtain the most valuable employee feedback.

Through this interactive communication loop, you can understand how your messages resonate with employees. Rather than making uninformed changes to your internal communication strategy and hoping for the best, you should use feedback to recalibrate and redirect.

By empowering employees to voice their thoughts and encouraging the exchange of feedback, internal communicators can pave the way for an overall organizational culture of honesty and collaboration.

Communication Tactics for Better Visibility

Recent research from Harvard Business Review found that poor internal communication strategies can lead to lower engagement, weaker employee retention, decreased productivity, and fractured trust. The same report revealed that only 7% of the workers surveyed felt internal communication at their workplace was accurate, timely, and open.

There are many ways to address a lack of communication in the workplace. Employ tactical wisdom as part of any practical internal communication strategy. Implement the following tactical suggestions to improve internal communication within your organization.

Multi-channel proficiency: From one to many

Hinging communication on a solitary channel is akin to using a single thread to weave an entire tapestry. Instead, embrace a multi-channel strategy that blankets various platforms to ensure your message resonates across the corporate landscape.

The advent of modern team communication tools has simplified this strategy, enabling seamless dissemination across an array of platforms. From Slack to email to video conferencing tools, you can ensure each message finds its way to every corner of the organization.

Internal communicators should make the most of each channel's capabilities. This means juggling the intricacies of multiple platforms while creating the most effective message.

In this collaborative article about the best tools and channels for personalized internal communication, LinkedIn professionals recommend tailoring messages and delivery methods to the various segments of your organization's employee base.

From interactive forums that foster dialogue and collaboration to visual elements that capture viewers' attention, internal communication specialists have virtually limitless tools. In this multimedia-saturated world, having this many choices may seem overwhelming. It's okay to start small. Choose one new type of element to incorporate into your communication and gauge its effectiveness before moving on to the next.

The importance of timeliness

Today, every information source — from news outlets to gossip blogs — provides real-time updates. Unfortunately, being slow to communicate pertinent information can harm credibility, relevance, and employee engagement. If employees hear your announcement through the gossip mill or the grapevine, it's sure to lose its impact. Internal communicators must ensure that official channels provide fresh, pertinent, and especially timely information.

A message's resonance often hinges not solely on its content but also on when it's delivered, as mentioned in PwC's report, The Chemistry of Communication: Framing your communication to cut through the noise.

You may have to reassess your priorities to ensure employees receive information promptly. Consider assigning an individual (with a backup, of course) to push out updates as they happen. You should also establish a standard process for making necessary edits or approvals to avoid information bottlenecks.

Employees who know they can expect timely communications will be much more likely to read incoming messages. As an internal communicator, condition them to read your communications first for the most up-to-date information.

The necessity of consistency

To maximize the impact of internal marketing communications, your messages should be consistent in tone and frequency. HR and internal communication associates should create a structured communication schedule on which employees can rely. Whether this is a weekly digest email, a biweekly email newsletter, or a monthly town hall meeting, consistency is the glue that holds the communication narrative together.

Werna Oberholzer addressed the tremendous power of message consistency and repetition in this 2021 LinkedIn article, which mentioned how repetition helps create new neurological pathways to help us retain information.

This journey toward communication consistency involves more than just adhering to a schedule. Internal communicators are, in a way, storytellers. Each communication touchpoint adds a sentence, page, or chapter to the organization's ongoing story. Communication consistency allows employees to keep up with the plot and understand that they're part of the story.

Captivating with content: Beyond words alone

In our constantly stimulating world, engaging content isn't just a preference — it's a necessity. Internal communicators wield a palette that extends beyond mere words. In its report titled "3 Reasons Video is the Right Internal Communication Method," TechSmith research revealed that 48% of workers consider video the most engaging form of communication, whereas 37% prefer text with images.

Augment your messages with multimedia elements, from captivating visuals to immersive videos. Viostream researched statistics about learning retention and video and found that 65% of learners in the U.S. learn more effectively through images and videos than through lectures or text. The numbers also revealed that video improves people's ability to retain new information by a staggering 83%.

There are many types of media to consider here. In the March 2021 issue of The Infinite Dial, Edison Research found that 28% of the U.S. population aged 12 and above listen to podcasts weekly. Newsweaver's publication on using multimedia effectively in internal communications suggests offering content in several formats, including video. Use slideshows, static images, and other design elements to communicate the message most effectively.

In a recent blog post, we shared a list of 10 free content tools you can use to enhance your internal marketing communications.

Elevating the Envoys: The Pivotal Role of Internal Communicators

According to Gartner's research on how workplace culture affects behavior and performance, internal communicators are essential to an organization's success.

When armed with strategic insights and tactical skills, internal communicators can impact employees from the front line to the executive offices. Their primary purpose is to balance relevance, consistency, and engagement across several communication channels.

Your job is not simply to transmit data but to transmit the importance of what you have to say. Using strategies that harness upper management support, a variety of captivating content, and various channels that reach all corners of the organization, the internal communicator can act as the clarion call amidst the chaos.

The Nexus of Strategy and Tactics

Internal communication within an organization should be a conversation rather than a monologue. In today's fast-paced business world, internal communicators play a vital role, striving to deliver essential information to employees in the most effective possible way. The strategies and tactics explored here can create a bridge between upper management and the employee base.

Strategic alignment between internal communicators and senior management is crucial for successful communication. Internal communicators should first segment their audience and then tailor strategies to each segment's needs and interests to bridge the communication gap between leaders and employees. Organizations can build trust and engagement by recognizing the importance of authentic communication. Moreover, measuring the impact of internal communications is essential to refine strategies on an ongoing basis, thereby ensuring messages resonate effectively.

In the digital age, poor internal communication strategies can limit employee engagement, retention, and productivity. To address these issues, adopt multi-channel communication methods. Timeliness, consistency, and engaging content are critical factors in effective communication.

Internal communicators can shape an organization's culture and foster meaningful connections between leadership and employees. Ultimately, successful communication is measured not only by clicks but by the resonance and impact of the messages delivered.

Ready to take the next step toward building a stronger digital employee experience?

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