Thanks to a multitude of communication tools (Intranet, email, newsletters, etc.) there has never been a better time to be an internal communicator. But while communicating may have gotten simpler, it’s still a challenging task. How do you speak to multiple departments? Who needs to know what? And why should your employees care? Here are some of the most common mistakes still made by internal communicators.
1. Assuming everyone reads at the same level. Just because you are an accomplished writer, doesn’t mean your readers are too. Consider everyone’s reading style and ability when creating content. If in doubt, run it through a free online reading level grader. I personally love the one by PixelSpoke. Anything written at a grade 9 level or higher needs to be simplified.
2. Making information too corporate. If every internal communication piece is focused solely on the company, don’t expect employees to read it. Sprinkling human elements into your corporate communications will go a long way in increasing the click through on even the mundane stuff.
3. Making it TOO social. The opposite to the problem above. Just because you are humanizing your content doesn’t mean it needs to be overly social. You might find pictures of kittens wrapped up like burritos adorable, but others may not. Find a good balance of corporate and human interest content.
4. Assuming everyone uses the same platform. Whether your content is sent out through email, or is contained on a corporate intranet, don’t presume all of your colleagues get their company information from the same medium. You may need to use multiple methods of communication (I once heard of someone taping newsletters to the bathroom mirrors).
5. Not measuring engagement. Do you know who has read what? If so, what are you doing with this information? Measuring engagement will let you know what your readers like and how to customize future content. Take advantage of poll features if your intranet platform allows for it.
6. Using departmental specific jargon. Do your customer service employees understand CTR? Does your Development staff understand EBITDA? Use terminology every employee will understand. If you want to use an acronym, spell it out.
7. Not including everyone. Don’t assume that your software developers aren’t interested in the latest customer acquisitions. Even if they appear unengaged, the more they understand about the company, the higher level of job satisfaction they will have.
Remember, the more employees understand, the higher their engagement, and ultimately the higher retention and increased performance.
What mistakes do you see internal communicators making?