Your company is kicking off a new human resources program or a companywide initiative. You’re asked to help with the employee communications. Where do you start?
A strong foundation is key to your success. Before jumping into strategies, tactics and action plans, start here:
1) Provide Ongoing Counsel to Your Leaders
Do your organization’s executives know what their reputations are? Do employees trust them and feel valued by them? Are executives as transparent as possible? Are they candid and authentic?
The credibility of any organizational initiative and its related communications are dependent on the leadership reputation tied to it. It’s not just WHAT leaders do, but HOW they do it – affecting employees’ feelings and engagement.
As an internal communications consultant and strategist, the relationships you have with leaders are key. You want to be able to provide them with feedback and insights to help with the success of the organization’s initiatives and communications.
#Trust: You can check out my 8 Key Factors for How Leaders Build Trust HERE.
2) Be Clear About Your Desired Outcomes
Whether it’s a quarterly goal, an executive presentation or a team meeting – be clear about your desired outcome. What thoughts/actions/feelings do you want to be the result of your efforts? How is this supporting the larger business objectives? What metrics can you attribute to this so you know if you’re successful with the outcome?
#DesignThinking: Use a design thinking approach when possible – do your research, get clear on the problem to solve, develop a hypothesis on what will solve it, find a way to (quickly, cheaply) test your hypothesis, decide if you should change/toss/proceed with your idea based on your test results. With this approach, you’re not making significant investments or spending time implementing a companywide effort before you get feedback. These efforts are an iterative process.
3) Know Your Audience
Who is your audience for this communications initiative? Are there categories of groups to consider within the organization based on where they work and what they do? What do they think/do/feel now about this initiative? What employee engagement data can be revisited to gain insights? What questions will they have? What do they need to be successful with this effort?
#EmployeeEngagement: Involve employees in every aspect of the initiative – ideally those who are energized by the topic and volunteer to contribute to the solution. Include them in identifying problems, strategizing on solutions, testing/implementing ideas. Employees are more engaged if they’re involved in the big picture discussions and see how they’re impacting the organization. Include them. Empower them to lead.
With this work as your foundation, your communication strategies and tactics will be much more successful!