Three-quarters (74%) of employees believe they are missing out on company news.
If team members aren’t up to date, or don’t hear the news from the company first, they are missing information that keeps them engaged and productive.
That’s where the concept of internal marketing is important, as marketing is communication with defined objectives and measures.
To educate employees, make their jobs more rewarding, improve their skills and keep them engaged with the company and their manager and leaders, here are the six best types of content to routinely send out to employees in 2020:
1. News and updates
Lots of events happen in a company every day: product launches, acquisitions, new feature rollouts, etc. News content is great to share with your company for this reason. It keeps everyone knowledgeable about what’s happening internally so they can share it with customers, stay motivated and adjust their work accordingly.
But not everyone needs or wants to hear about everything, and we do want our employees to stay productive and not waste their time on irrelevant news. Organize your news into “local” and “national” coverage, with “local” being to the employee geolocation, department or role, and “national” being news at the leadership and organizational level.
Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, so it shouldn’t be a surprise it works well in every channel, including email. They are effective ways to create an emotional connection with readers and keep them tuned in to your messages in the future.
The best method is to tell stories, both work-related and personal, about your employees that embody the traits, values and behaviors you admire. Whether it’s a story about a front-line worker making a milestone achievement, a manager overcoming a family medical trauma with the help of her team, or a leader’s community involvement project, show candid photos and tell the backstory. Keep it interesting by digging into the whys, not simply the whats and hows.
3. Educational content
Formal trainings, workshops and webinars are effective resources to help develop an employee’s skills, but your workers have to know these opportunities exist and should be encouraged and reminded to take action and get involved.
One way to motivate learning is to send summary information in the form of top tips, tricks and time-saving how-to posts, each with links to more extensive content. This information helps employees to improve their knowledge and skills and ultimately to perform their jobs better; even if they simply skim it and don’t dive deeper, they still learn something.
For many companies, this type of content gets posted on the intranet, quietly waiting for an employee to discover it. They most likely won’t. To make the most of your content development efforts, it works best to summarize this content and market it to employees via weekly or monthly email messages.
Again here, relevancy is crucial. Educational content is likely organized by topic, and a good communicator will align topics to particular audiences. A new business analyst doesn’t need education about quarterly financial reporting, nor does a new VP need information about how to install and configure your business intelligence software. To keep all employees tuned in to the routine educational updates, targeting matters.
Another good method is to include a content section inside the regular message, or a separate monthly roundup, of the most popular educational content for that period (content with the highest non-bounced page views). Such social proof helps increase attention and makes it easier for communicators, who may not understand the audience roles, to identify what is most valuable to people in particular roles or departments.
4. Questionnaires and surveys
Understanding employee behavior and interests is crucial for successful internal communications. Surveys and questionnaires are the best channels for gathering feedback, but take care not to over-survey your audience. You can run monthly surveys or even weekly pulse surveys, but not to the same people. Try not to ask for more than once per quarter of an employee.
An effective survey doesn’t have to be sent to everyone, just a statistically valid sample size. They can be sent out to your entire company or specific segments—like individual departments—to ask questions, such as:
- What content do you enjoy the most that we send?
- What would help improve your internal communication experience?
- What don’t you like about communicating internally?
Answers should be analyzed to determine common trends and patterns and for conducting tests. For instance, you may find that employees most enjoy educational newsletters and stories. The favored type(s) of content could be sent more often to increase engagement and communication.
5. Team spotlights and accomplishments
Every company has goals and objectives; most often, it is collaborative teams that accomplish them. Team members are the fuel that runs a company. Highlighting their hard work and achievements is a fantastic way to motivate other employees and encourage progress and teamwork.
Remember to focus on the human element and not just the win or statistics. Elaborate on the story, the situation, the struggle of overcoming obstacles, and the accomplishment and how it ultimately helps the organization. This is a surefire way to boost morale and increase engagement.
Not everyone wins every time, though, and there are important lessons in losses. Consider telling some of these stories as well, being careful not to frame the participants as losers, but as persistent, determined learners seeking a solution.
6. Reminders and announcements
Employees are busy. Reminders are fundamental in helping employees not forget or neglect important tasks, events and deadlines. Brief, timely reminders help increase productivity and time management. Ideally, you would add some automation and intelligence to these processes, so that you are not reminding the people who don’t need it.
By adding these six types of educational, internal marketing content to your communications plan for 2020, you will be on the road to higher employee engagement and a better employee experience.
This article is in partnership with PoliteMail.