How employee-first writing ramps up internal communications

Since Noah hired his first shipbuilding apprentices, corporate messaging has focused on the organization and a top-down cascade. Today, your staffers demand the spotlight.

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Employees will connect with content if they can see themselves in the story.

You can’t afford to waste time showing employees what the content means to them. That’s why you must put them first.

Think of employee communication in the following four parts to write in the employee-first style.

Part 1: Let the reader know what they ought to do.

What action should the employee take after reading your content? If you’re not clear about the answer, how are the employees supposed to know? (Sometimes the answer is “nothing.” Still, you have to make that clear.)

Take a few minutes to distill—into a single statement—what the employee ought to do.  Use that statement to keep yourself on track.

Examples of imperatives:

Turn that statement into your opening first line or two.


Tip: This applies to all communication, whether actively pushed out through channels such as email or pulled by employees through channels such as intranets.

Part 2: Outline what the reader needs to know.

Help employees understand how they will benefit from doing what you’re asking them to do or be aware of.  This is the “ground level context.”

Building on the examples in Part 1, here’s how this might translate into content:

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