Of course, not all efforts have netted such positive results. Many videos are overly produced, Slack posts are often too long, and generic "check-the-box" content is generally overlooked. Brevity is power, and content relevance is most important to employees.
Gallagher. What about using humor? Do you think it has a place in internal communication?
When appropriately infused, I believe humor definitely has a place in communications — internal or external. You have to know your audience. Working with leadership from all walks of life, you begin to develop ways to humanize them and their message delivery. Humor can be a wonderful lever to connect with people. Especially during challenging times — given the fluctuating market, economic uncertainty and upheaval in many parts of the world — leaders and people managers have an even greater responsibility to be more visible in employee communications. Gone are the days of "check the box" communications. You have to earn employees' attention and it's becoming harder and harder. Connecting with people and inspiring them about the business while also connecting the dots to their individual impact is at the heart of Internal Communications. So figuring out which levers to pull — and advising leaders how and when to do that — is critical to our role as communications experts.
Gallagher. How can we help leaders think differently about internal communication… and possibly get them out of their comfort zone?
Data is our best friend, especially when trying to convince a leader to try something new. In the absence of quantitative data, picking up the phone to get feedback is always an option (and sometimes it's even more valuable than the hard metrics)! Also, a heart-to-heart conversation is key. As a trusted advisor for your leaders, you have to be willing to be honest when you know something is not working. Often we feel at fault when a communication gets low engagement, or if there's anecdotal feedback about a message gone wrong. It happens to all of us — there's no such thing as a perfect message in the eyes of every employee. It's all part of getting to know your audience and learning what works. When you have data to point to what's working, leaders are far more likely to try something new. If it does well, celebrate it. And if it doesn't, be up front, cut your losses and move on.
*This article was first published in the Journal of Internal Communication brought to you by Gallagher. As a world-leading internal communications agency, we are excited to share our round-up of internal communication trends and provide practical examples of how organizations communicate with their employees.
Gallagher is a global internal communication and employee experience agency.
From transforming workplace culture to championing the physical, emotional, career and financial wellbeing of employees, everything we do is linked to a strategic business objective — and designed to elevate every aspect of the employee experience.
Our communication consultants help clients communicate their strategy and vision; turn their leaders into engaging communicators; review their internal communication channels; maximize the perceived value of their rewards and benefits packages and accelerate business transformation.
We have offices in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, but we support organizations of all sizes on a global basis.