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Grab employees’ attention with internal comms

3rd March, 2022.

How to grab employees’ attention with your internal comms

People are a tough audience to crack.  Today you have to work even harder to grab your employee’s attention. Twenty years ago, research found that we have an attention span of 12 seconds. Today, this has reduced to 8 seconds!

But why are we seeing this decrease?

Distraction. We have distractions everywhere. I bet just by inserting the emojis below you looked at those before reading this sentence!

😍 🐪 🍓 ⚽ 🏝️ 🏍️ ⌚ 🔑 ✔️ 🐬👀 🍉 🥄 🔔 🎈 💡 😛 🧲 😺 👌

Today we are always connected. Smartphones, hyperlinks, pop-ups; they all grapple for our attention making it far harder for us to focus on one thing at a time.

So, if we don’t capture the attention of our employees in that 8 second window, there’s really little point in sending the communication in the first place.

This snippet of our Operations Director speaking at a conference explains our challenge perfectly.

 

10 tips for capturing employees’ attention

1) Consider the words you use

The 101 of internal communications: using the right language to capture attention.

Headers and subject lines need particular attention because these in themselves could use half of those precious 8 seconds. Draw upon your creative juices and really put yourself in the shoes of your employees to find a headline that will make them want to read on. Below are some of the best subject lines we’ve seen our customers use when covering some of the ‘drier’ topics.

The best internal comms subject lines

  • “Upcoming changes: action required” (used for a policy update)
  • “Your input is needed today” (used for a staff survey)
  • “Breaking news” (used for a COVID update)
  • “[name], thank you” (used for a financial update)
  • “The recipe for success” (used for a financial update)
  • “We did it again” (used to notify people of a health and safety standard)

8 best practices for writing internal communications

In addition to the initial hook of the subject line or title, keep these best practices in mind with everything you write:

  • Write for people, from people
  • Use the vernacular your employees use
  • Be succinct
  • Use headlines to break copy up
  • Ensure the purpose of the communication is upfront and clear
  • Be consistent
  • Always proof read!

2) Use visual elements

Use video, infographics and images wherever possible. A study found that 75% of employees are more likely to watch a video than read an email or text.

The majority of us are very visual. We’re able to digest more information if it is visual and this captures our attention for longer. Even if text is necessary in your communication, consider using something visual at the start to draw people in.

3) Balance consistency with valuable content

Sending specific communications at set times can help with engagement. It becomes familiar for your employees to pause what they are doing and digest your communication. BUT this will only be effective if your communications are informative.

Just because you’ve always sent a newsletter every month for the last 6 months, it doesn’t mean you should maintain that rhythm if you don’t have anything valuable to say. If you believe employees have tuned into the consistency of your updates, instead of sending the full-blown newsletter you could just send a shorter message or even push out a note to say, ‘everything is ticking over nicely but it’s been a quiet month so just tune in next month instead!’

Don’t be afraid to break the mould. Employees will appreciate this level of honestly and it’ll help you keep their attention for longer.

4) Segment employees

In a commercial world we witness segmentation all the time (though it is often called ‘personalisation’ in this context). The messages we receive are addressed to us, the recommendations we receive via our online supermarket shop relate to what we’ve bought before, the adverts that pop up on web pages are items we’ve looked at but not yet bought. We live in a consumer-led world in which we are presented with information that is relevant to us.

If I repeatedly receive information that is not relevant to me, I will ignore it from the moment the message arrives. We’ve all been there. Think about the times you’ve ended up on a mailing list for something you have no interest in. Now, as soon as you see who the email is from, you do a quick swipe on your phone and it goes straight into your deleted folder.

Just as in our personal lives, relevance is key. Only send internal communications to the people it is relevant for, or of interest to. These segments need to be mapped against the type of communications you send and you will probably have multiple segments for each employee. For example, geographical segmentation, job role segmentation and project segmentation.

There’s no right or wrong answer. Just segment against your communication plan.

5) Personalise communications

Closely linked to the above point.

Ensure your communications are addressed to the individual. “Dear Team” doesn’t cut it when we are used to the level of personalisation described above. Our employees need to feel as though you are speaking directly to them.

Addressing your messages to a named person is a start but personalisation can go much further. With relevant segments in place, you can tailor messages much more precisely. Some technologies also enable you to respond to previous actions taken and tailor web pages against data and behaviours.

Ultimately, the more you can personalise your internal comms messages, the more engaged your employees will be.

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6) Connect people

On top of segmentation and personalisation consider the connections employees have with each other. People are interested in people. Utilising the connections that already exist will grab attention.

The sender

Your communications don’t have to be sent from the same person. And they certainly shouldn’t be sent from an ‘empty’ email address or account. For example, “The internal comms team” or worse still “do-no-reply@company-name”!

Think about the messages you are trying to get across and consider which ‘sender’ would capture the attention of your recipients the best. Would a financial update be better if it was passed down the chain and interpreted by each manager? Would the Christmas party announcement be better coming from someone at the centre of most social occasions?

Combining communications

Whilst necessary, ‘dry’ topics can make it extremely difficult to capture attention. If you aren’t seeing the engagement levels you want, consider wrapping your more mundane topics up with other people-focused updates. For example, while the financial update is important, your employees are more likely to be drawn to an update about their colleague. Using this as your hook could get their attention enough for them to then go on and read the financial update.

7) Consider the user experience

Within a few seconds an employee will decide if a communication deserves their attention purely based on how it looks. Take this blog as an example. If I had written this as it comes out of my mind without any paragraphs, breaks or headlines you probably wouldn’t have got this far.

Structure and layout

We need to make communications as digestible as possible. Consider the layout of your communication, the use of colour, images and bold text. Even the font you use will influence opinion.

Accessibility

Access to your communications also need to be as easy as possible. If employees need to navigate software to reach your communications what is that journey like? Multiple clicks that are perceived to be unnecessary will become a blocker. As would an ineffective search facility. Go on the journey you are expecting your employees to take and ensure it is as efficient and intuitive as possible.

Preference

If you are in a position to ask your employees what their preferred channel is for receiving information do so. By giving them control of how they digest information they will instantly be more engaged.

Piggy backing

Consider if your communications can sit alongside your employee’s day-to-day job. If there is a central access point for data or documentation could your communications also be located there? It’s no coincidence that intranets host HR documentation and employee communication platforms include employee directories. These sources of information act as a ‘pull’ to bring employees to a central point. With communications in the same place, you are making the process easier for your employees.

8) Utilise alerts

If you have something really important to tell staff, shout about it. You are just one communication amongst many distractions so use attention-grabbing techniques: push notification via text message, pop-ups on the intranet, urgent notifications on emails.

Whatever tools you have available, don’t be shy about utilising them. But don’t do it often. If you do, the perception of ‘urgent’ will fade.

9) Get the right timing

Be the source of information

Every internal communication needs to be informative, accurate and timely.

If I’ve heard news via the grapevine, I’m unlikely to read a post about it two days later. Even if the information I received initially went through a process of Chinese whispers and isn’t actually accurate, the arrival of the official update two days later will feel like old news and not grab my attention.

Wherever possible, internal communications need to be the first source of information, not an afterthought.

Accommodate working life

Whilst internal communications must be the informant of news, they must also consider the working patterns of employees. If there is always a ridiculously busy period at the end of the month, important communications should be reserved until there is greater capacity to digest the information.

10) Use data to learn

While all the above points are nuggets of best practice, ultimately it is your employees that will tell you what grabs their attention. Use all the stats available to you to build a picture of what works well. 

  • Open rates give you a good indication of the effectiveness of your subject line.
  • Click rates tell you if the content of the message is of interest.
  • Open times show you when your employees are reading your messages.
  • Heatmaps show you where your employees are looking.
  • Page visits show you what information people are most interested in.
  • Video views tell you if employees are paying attention all the way to the end.
  • Social media reactions show you what people feel about your messages.
  • Bounce rates tell you if the content is what your employees were expecting.
  • Surveys give you detailed insights on specific elements of your communications.
  • Device usage tells you how your employees digest your information. 

There is a plethora of data sources: the above is just a snapshot. Once you establish what data is available to you, build analysis into your schedule until you have enough insight to inform your decisions. 

This will make a huge difference. It will take away the guess work and give you evidence that you can build from. 

Round-up 

The purpose of internal communications is a good one. They exist to inform and create a community. But in the busyness of our lives this purpose can get lost. With these 10 best practices for engaging employees, you will bring your communications to the forefront and encourage employees to take notice. So go grab those 8 precious seconds with all your might!  

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author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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How 2021 will effect the 2022 internal communications agenda

6th January, 2022.

How 2021 will impact the 2022 internal comms agenda

With 2021 now behind us, many are reflecting on the year that has passed and planning for the year to come. Us included. 

2021 – what can we say about you?

It was an extension of 2020! COVID was still very present with many internal communication departments still being consumed by COVID updates. They were forced to be far more reactive than in the past and the disruption with sickness and isolation continued to challenge organisations up and down the country.

But, despite its challenges, the COVID pandemic has actually brought some positive change within internal communications.

  1. Digital transformation – technological solutions for internal comms have been on the market for many years now. Many organisations were considering their benefit, but the pandemic gave a new level of urgency bumping internal comms software up the agenda. As a result, many organisations are now far better equipped to communicate with their employees than they have ever been in the past.
  2. Leaders became more visible – COVID changed the dynamic between our leaders and employees. Leaders were asked to step up and lead from the front. Communications were more transparent and this approach was well received by everyone. As a result, many organisations are continuing with this more personable approach.
  3. A new understanding of wellbeing – employees were put first. Their wellbeing was the biggest priority and this has readjusted thinking for the long-term.
  4. Wider organisational agendas – with a greater focus on people, 2021 saw a shift in priorities. Everyone became more aware of the organisational impact on wider societal factors. Whether that’s how an organisation achieves work/life balance or how they respond to COP26. Corporate social responsibility has risen up the agendas and we believe this trend is set to continue.
  5. A greater need for internal comms – open, honest and consistent communications have been essential rather than nice to have. Senior leaders have directly seen the impact effective internal communications can have on an organisation. This recognition for internal comms has led many organisations to invest in a stronger internal communications function.

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This year’s focus

As an internal communicator, you are riding the wave of opportunity. Your internal communications have shone in 2021. They have demonstrated the difference strong internal communications can make to individuals, teams, and organisations as a whole.

We all hope that 2022 will be known as the year things returned to normal. But, for internal communications, we don’t want normality to resume. We want internal communications to continue as an essential function that sits centrally in every organisation. Not for internal comms to sink back into the shadows.

Continuing to evidence value will therefore be essential. You need to prove why internal comms should continue to be an investment for business leaders.

To evidence the best performance possible, you are going to need to run a tight ship that operates efficiently and delivers communications that engage with the right audiences.

Download our latest guide to delivering effective internal communications for guidance on:

  • Ensuring communications resonate
  • Removing internal comms inefficiencies
  • Creating an effective internal communications strategy
  • How to measure performance
  • How to convert an internal comms strategy into an internal comms tactical plan

Here’s to a positive year to come. Internal communications are on an exciting journey and we can’t wait to see the developments and growth that take place over the next 12 months.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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Blog Internal Communication

Steps to effective change management comms

25th November, 2021.

7 steps for effective change management communications

Change is a vital and common part of any evolving organisation. As such, change management communications consume a big chunk of an internal communication team’s time – whether that is communicating an acquisition, the implementation of new software or procedures, a new brand identify or simply a change in personnel.

Whatever the change, and no matter how positive that change, some of your employees will feel unnerved by the change while others will feel excited. Every change management project is complex for an internal communicator because of the strong emotions employees will feel.

We also have to deal with the fact that a significant number of change projects fail, or at least encounter serious problems. The statement that “70% of change projects fail” is well known in the corporate world and while some argue for this stat and some argue against, what is clear is that any change management project is very likely to experience a bumpy journey, particularly if it is a large project.

But what can internal communications do to make this journey smoother?

The role of internal communications during an organisational change​

Thankfully you don’t need to manage the change project which means you won’t be worrying about the ROI or how to resource the project. But you will need to provide timely and relevant information to those who need it throughout the change project. You are basically the mechanism for momentum: you stick together everything everyone is doing and bring other employees aboard for the journey!

The point of bringing employees onboard is a particularly important one. There is a saying that “you will only transform when you have changed how people behave” and this is particularly pertinent for change communications. No matter how successful the acquisition of a new company is, or the implementation of new software, the project can only be counted as a success if your employees embrace the new way of working and continue to align with your goals and values. Without this vital step, the success of the project will always be restricted.

So, what can you do to make an organisations change project as successful as possible?

The 7 essential steps to an effective change management plan

1. Segment your audiences effectively

We all know there is no point sharing a communication if it is of no relevance to the recipient. With change communications the recipient may be resistant to the project and not wish to hear your communication so the need to segment effectively is even more important.

Consider all of your audiences; from the employees who will need to adapt how they work as a result of the change, to the people making the change happen, to the leadership team.

Whilst your number one job is to communicate transparent updates to keep everyone informed, you may also need to do an element of education. For example, does your leadership team and deployment team fully understand the importance and value of internal communications during a change programme? If they don’t, you need to spell it out to them because a change communication plan without the support of leaders and managers is going to be an uphill struggle. 

So, while considering your audiences consider the type of communication you will need. Also consider whether each of those audiences may have people sitting in different camps. Could you have some that are in favour of change and some that are hesitant of change for example? If so, are there ways in which you can segment these groups so that you can build communications that are better suited to each audience?

Spend time considering each audience. Speak to some of them if that would be useful. By the end of this phase, you want to feel as though you could step into the shoes of each segmented audience member and be confident in the information they would like to, and need to, hear. 

Depending on the number of segmented audiences you have, you may find it useful to create an audience persona for each to refer to as you build your communications. These personas would be an average profile of someone in each group and include points that will really impact how they receive your internal communications. For example, what pains will they experience, what hesitations are they likely to have, who within the business is likely to influence their opinion, etc? These will help you keep your messages focused. 

The more you can understand the audiences you will be communicating with the more pertinent your internal communications will be.  

2. Consider your culture

 Statistics show that 70% of change projects fail because of culture-related issues. Your culture has the potential to either make or break this project, so it is important to take a moment to consider the strength of your culture before the project begins.

If you have a strong culture your task is far easier. Your employees will be invested in the change and that positivity will see most people through any challenging periods.

That said, depending on the scale and type of change, even the strongest of cultures can start to crack. This is something to keep a close eye on throughout the project. Scheduling regular employee pulse checks would be an effective way to monitor this.

Should culture be a concern for you it will be important to put a far greater emphasis on communications. Your employees are likely to need greater levels of communications to provide reassurance and keep them focused. Meanwhile your management should also play a heavier role in connecting with employees during the project to support and listen to them.

It will also be worth pointing out your cultural concerns to the leadership team to ensure they are aware of the potential issues. The more aware everyone is, the more can be done to help align everyone with the project and wider organisational goals.

3. Dig deep into the change project

 For you to communicate effectively you need to understand the ins and outs of this project; what the end goals are, how long it is anticipated to take, who will be involved, who will be impacted and why the change is necessary. The more knowledgeable you are the more transparent you can be with your change management communications.

This will also be an opportunity to get to know the individuals who will be responsive for rolling the project out. This will give you a good feel as to who is best placed to keep you updated throughout the project. The better this connection the more timely and accurate your communications.

4. Review past change management processes

 Have you, or anyone else in your team, produced a change management communication plan before? If so, great, your job may have become far easier! But be sure to analyse the previous project thoroughly. What you don’t want to do is inherit any past mistakes, failings, or even mediocre results.

If you are unsure of the effectiveness of previous change management communications projects, or if there is no evidence of any, speak to people. Inevitably, unless you are in a very young business, every organisation will have experienced change at some point and that change will have been communicated somehow. Speak to those involved in rolling out the project but also speak to people at the receiving end. While this process may not bring complete clarity over what you should do, it is likely to unearth some things that you shouldn’t do!

5. Establish your methods of communication

 Consider both the channels and mediums you are going to use.

First start with the how. How will you communicate to each of your audiences? Will the same method work for everyone or do you need to consider different routes. For example, while email might be effective for office workers, if you have frontline or shop floor employees they need to receive their information in a different way such as through an internal communications app.

If you already have effective channels of communication in place great, but if you don’t, depending on the scale of the change project, it may be worth exploring other options. If the employees who need to know about the project don’t receive your internal communications, or receive a diluted or delayed message, distrust and a sense of uneasiness is likely to manifest.

It is also worth considering multiple channels of communication. What works for one employee may not work for the other and for particularly important messages during the project, multiple channel communication will help to emphasis its importance.

You also need to consider the format of communication you are going to use. Traditionally we communicate in written form but could some of your change communications be better as a video, image, infographic or face-to-face. While you don’t want to create unnecessary work for yourself, it is important to consider all of your audiences and identify the mediums that are likely to best resonate with each group. 

6. Build your internal communication change management strategy

 In comparison to the other stages this is the easy bit – the writing! Using all the knowledge you’ve gained from the points above you can now start to plan your change communication plan.

We would recommend you have a high-level timeline for quick reference to help others in your team, and wider organisation, understand what needs to happen when. Download our free communication change timeline to get started on this. Change management timeline template

Throughout your communications as the duration of the project unravels, remember to regularly remind employees of the purpose of the change. As delays or problems occur and employees are inconvenienced by the work, it is easy to lose sight of the end goal. Regular reminders of how their working life will be improved once the change project is completed will always be valuable. 

7. Measure and review your strategy

The final but most important step in your change management communication process. This is often a step that is overlooked (48% of communicators do not monitor the effectiveness of their internal comms), but it will make or break your change communication plan.

After the time you have spent crafting your change communication plan you must track and measure its effectiveness. This will help you understand which communications are resonating and which aren’t. With the right data, you will also be able to see which teams are engaging with your communications and which aren’t. This is hugely valuable information that will enable you to adjust your plan and target specific groups with key messages.

With data in your back pocket, you can react and respond. You can identify ‘problem’ groups and adjust your strategy. Those who use our internal communications software will also use our analytics to identify potential issues before they have bubbled to the surface. For example, they can see engagement levels over a set time period and should a previously engaged team suddenly disengage they have conversations within the business to identify why. This means they can often resolve an engagement problem before it has impacted anyone else in the business.

In a project where there are so many variables this level of insight can make a massive difference to the effectiveness of the communications plan.

Of course, to be able to utilise this level of data you will need internal comms software to support you. If you are not currently in a position to utilise such software there are still other ways to measure your success. Granted they won’t give you the same level of insight but the data will still be useful. Here are a few methods you could use:

  • Email open and click rates – these will be a good gauge for the effectiveness of each communication and help you to establish strong subject lines and links.
  • Employee pulse checks – regular quick-fire surveys will help you to monitor overall engagement.
  • eNPS surveys – an employee Net Promoter Score will provide you with an employee engagement score. If you are embarking on a large change project you may want to carry out an eNPS survey at the beginning, the end, and potentially during, the change. This will help you to keep tabs of the impact the project has had.
  • Focus groups – bringing employees together and asking their opinion on your change communications and the wider project will give you a great snapshot of opinion.

The key takeaway is to measure as much as possible. The more you know about how your change communication plan is being received, the more you can do to improve it. The more you can do to improve it, the more successful it will be.

 

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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Benefits of an internal comms app

23rd September, 2021.

15 benefits of an internal communication app

For many years we have relied upon ‘traditional’ communication methods to share information internally with our employees. From face-to-face meetings to posters in rest areas to emails and intranets. While each of these channels has its own merits, they also have their limitations.

This blog compares internal communications software with these traditional communication tools, highlighting the key differences and benefits each of those differences brings. Here are 15 reasons that an internal comms app will transform your business.

1. Give employees a voice

The traditional methods of internal communication do a good job of disseminating information but they give little opportunity for employees to have their say.

While for some business leaders enabling employees to ‘have their say’ is a terrifying concept it really needn’t be. They picture scenes of anarchy with strongly opinionated individuals standing on the pedestal broadcasting their views for all to hear, but in reality, giving employees their say is about giving them an opportunity to share their opinion on the matters that affect their working lives.

What’s more, giving employees a voice is a critical part of employee engagement. Without employees feeling as though they are listened to, it will be impossible to truly engage employees. At best you will just be good at internal communications.

2. Reap the financial rewards

As the point above highlights, internal communication apps give an opportunity to truly engage employees to a level not achievable with traditional methods of communication.

With greater employee engagement come financial benefits. There is a lot of evidence available to back this up. Here are a couple of statistics from Engage for Success that paint a very clear picture:

  • Businesses with engagement scores in the top quartile had twice the annual net profit of those in the bottom quartile.
  • Organisations in the top quartile of employee engagement scores had 18% higher productivity than those in the bottom quartile.

Switching to an internal communication tool that drives, and measures, employee engagement makes business sense.

3. Reach everybody

One of the biggest problems with traditional internal communication channels is that they rarely reach everyone. In fact, in a recent survey we commissioned, 27% of internal communication professionals stated reaching all their employees was their greatest challenge right now.

Historically, organisations have utilised multiple channels to increase their reach but even then, with different work patterns, locations and occupations, it is rare that communications reach everyone.

An internal communication app changes this. Everyone, from an individual sat in an office, to a warehouse operative, to a paramedic, will receive your communications. That is because an internal comms app can be accessed without a company email address. All that is needed is a mobile phone. (VRAMP also has a desktop version for those who spend more time in front of a computer.)

4. Put the right information in front of the right people

In addition to reaching everybody you also need to ensure you are not bombarding them with information. Employees in the sales department will require different information to those on the frontline. The last thing you want is for them to be sifting through information to find what is of interest to them. Over time this will become bothersome, they’ll give up and disengage.

An internal communication app allows you to segment audiences so that employees only receive what is relevant and interesting to them. Every time they open the internal comms app they will see the information they want to read which will further boost employee engagement.

5. Share information quickly

There are times when there is information that needs to be circulated fast – whether that is a major health & safety alert or a business announcement that cannot afford Chinese whispers.

When using an internal communication app, at a click of a button everyone receives the information at the same time. Push notifications and options to pin an announcement to the top of feeds mean that those messages are received far quicker than any traditional communication method.

Content can also be written on the go (via a mobile) enabling multiple people to contribute content. This immediacy can make a huge difference, particularly in a crisis.

6. Provide a single source of truth

Internal communication apps simplify the entire communication process. One message can be sent to every employee at a click of a button. Without needing to rely on other people to disseminate messages you know that original messages aren’t being misinterpreted or, worse still, missed altogether.

Every employee knows that the information they read is true to the original source.

7. Make it easy for people to engage

As a society we want things to be easy. If employees have to take time out of their normal working day, remember yet another password or learn how to use a new system you risk them losing interest.

An internal comms app simplifies the entire communication process. Apps such as VRAMP will be very intuitive to use, akin to many social media platforms that most of the workforce will be familiar with. There is no need for a password and the internal comms app can be accessed on any iOS or Android device.

By improving employee’s accessibility to your communications, you will automatically increase their engagement.

8. Put employees on a level playing field

The logistics involved with traditional communication channels would mean that inevitably, employees who work at a computer would receive information earlier than those who work in a different location. Purely because of the logistics of passing messages through the chain of line managers. This creates an unspoken division – a ‘them and us’ culture.

The simplicity of preparing and sending all communications from one internal communications platform means you can remove these unspoken divides. There are no hierarchies for receiving information and everyone can get involved through comments and surveys so no one feels less important than their colleagues.

On paper, this is a subtle benefit but it makes a huge difference to the culture of a business.

9. Connect employees

An internal comms app goes beyond sending and receiving communications. They also have additional features such as an employee directory and document library that help to connect employees with people and documents.

Employees can search the database to find colleagues they need support from or documents they need for a specific job. This boosts collaboration and improves productivity.

10. Monitor skills gaps

Internal comms apps such as VRAMP also list the skills each employee has to offer. This searchable database makes it even easier for employees to collaborate but it also helps managers identify skills gaps and training needs.

11. Collate more ideas

With an internal communication app, you will reach a wider audience. Through comments and survey responses these previously unreachable employees could contribute valuable ideas.

With a larger source of ideas available it will not only boost creative thinking, but it will also make employees feel more valued, increasing loyalty and engagement.

12. Strengthen the company culture

With better communications reaching more people your employees will have a greater understanding of the company vision and goals.

The other points listed above will also help each employee understand where they fit within those goals and how they contribute to the company’s success.

With a strong, well understood culture across your entire workforce, you will have a powerful army of people that will drive your business forward.

13. Communicate more efficiently

As many of the points above highlight, an internal communications app will enable you to communicate and engage far more efficiently. And if you choose the right internal comms app there will also be no need to swap between platforms for internal communications and employee surveys.

Having everything you need in one tool not only makes your working life easier, but it will also help you work more collaboratively with any other colleagues who hold responsibility for internal comms or employee engagement.

14. Measure and prove the ROI of employee engagement

Potentially the biggest benefit of an internal communication app is its ability to provide you with data. You will be able to see which communications employees have engaged with most, which topics of conversation are most interesting to them and what employee engagement scores look like on a company and team level.

Furthermore, if you choose an internal communication app that includes employee survey tools you will also be able to view all the employee survey results in the same employee engagement system.

This level of data is game changing. Particularly when the traditional forms of communication have provided very little if any, analytics.

It means that employee engagement finally becomes a valid, valuable Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that can be measured alongside other business goals to evidence how employee engagement contributes to business performance.

15. Improve employee engagement

Without accurate analytics you cannot be confident in any changes you make to better your employee engagement strategy. An internal communication app removes the need for guesswork or hunches. Instead, you can make confident improvements to your strategy safe in the knowledge that you can measure the effectiveness of each of your changes.

The level of data that an internal comms app provides makes it possible to continually improve your employee engagement strategy.

Take your journey to the next level

If you’ve read this far it suggests that you can really see the benefit of an internal communications app. And rightly so, these are 15 of the strongest points, we could waffle on for days about the brilliance of internal comms apps!

Perhaps now is the time to discover more about how our internal comms app could help you realise these benefits? Either give us a call on 01392 984175 and we’ll happily answer any questions you have or request a demo of VRAMP to see exactly what an internal communication tool can do for you.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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ISO 27001

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

July 14, 2021.

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

VRAMP is thrilled to have been awarded the highest international information security standard. The ISO 27001:2017 certification highlights VRAMPs dedication to providing a highly secure employee engagement software solution.

What is ISO 27001?

Published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), ISO 27001:2017 requires a detailed audit to ensure compliance against an extensive list of information security criteria. The standard evidence that a business holds data safely and has the systems in place to combat any threats to the integrity of that data.

What this means for VRAMP’s clients?

It provides confidence that we have the best information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection a business can achieve. Our clients know that we have the systems in place to protect their data.

What ISO 27001 means to us

There are many milestones a business can reach, achieving ISO 27001 is one of them.

Protecting all data within our business, in particular that of our clients, is routed at the core of what we do at VRAMP as a data handler. This accreditation means that we not only meet the highest standards today, but also confirms that we will review our processes and information security on an ongoing basis to ensure VRAMP continually meets the highest standards.

We also believe that it sets us apart from our competitors. Many in the employee engagement software industry just rely upon their data centre to meet the ISO 27001 standards. We choose not to take any shortcuts. While we still only work with ISO 27001 accredited data centres, we also ensure we meet these standards too.

When you combine or security with the capabilities of our employee engagement software, it makes all of us extremely proud of what we have achieved for our clients.

If you feel like you need to find a better way to improve employee engagement, get in touch and we will show you how our employee engagement survey tools will help you achieve better results.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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Create internal comms

13th January, 2022. Create Internal Communications with Ease With VRAMP’s highly intuitive editor you can create visually appealing communications that your employees receive

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Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms Strategy

internal communication

Internal Communications Strategy

What exactly are you trying to achieve? Every company will have different goals, based on their individual needs. However, in a successful internal communications strategy, there are some goals that should be the gold standard. These are:

  • Share information – ensuring employees are kept fully informed
  • Unity culture – imparting the values and ethics behind business decisions
  • Employee feedback – offering employees a platform to share ideas and concern.

While the primary goal of internal communication is to keep employees informed, it is also crucial to ensure that a unity culture is strived for and two-way internal communication channels put in place. Ask yourself the 5 best internal communcations questions.

Who is it aimed at?

Never forget to focus on who your internal communications strategy is aimed at.

Your employees have a lot on their minds, from the stress of the job they have in hand to worries about what the future has in store. They have personal matters and concerns too. Your job is to cut through all the noise and get your company message heard.

To get, and keep employee engagement you will need to understand your workforce and what information they will find interesting and important. It may be helpful to segment the audience into specific groups based on age, locations, teams and attitude. Messages about pensions will be more important for older employees for example, as anyone under 25 plans to live forever!

Don’t expect a single internal communication to work for every employee. Use a range of techniques in your internal communications strategy to allow for individual needs.

Why do you do it?

To get the most out of your internal communication strategy, you need to define your goals.

This will be different for every company and it can’t be just “make more money”. For some the goal may be to improve staff retention levels, while for others it will be about improving productivity.

Using an employee engagement app like VRAMP give you the ability to set benchmarks and monitor engagement to achieve these goals.

Once you have strong, clear goals in mind, the rest of your internal communications strategy will fall into place much more easily.

What are you sending?

You need to always consider the two questions that reside in the minds of your employees, “why should I care?” and “how does this affect me?”. Employees will see everything you are saying through their own personal filter.

Your internal communications strategy will work best if you have already mapped out some outcomes that will interest them. Making their jobs more enjoyable and easier for example.

Not as easy as it sounds I know, you can’t put a positive spin on everything! This is where a positive unity culture comes into play, the bad news needs to be on everyone’s shoulders in the business, not just the shop floor.

How is it received?

It’s important to consider how your messages are transmitted when creating an internal communications strategy.

Will they respond to a company-wide email, a social media channel or perhaps a messaging service like Microsoft Teams? Your best option is always to provide a choice of channels to allow your employees to receive information the way they like it.

An employee engagement app offers a range of channels, tools and feedback mechanisms. Providing a two-way communication stream for maximum employee engagement.

When are you broadcasting?

Like comedy – timing is crucial in both external marketing and internal communications. It is a balancing act between announcing too early with incomplete information, and leaving it until after the office grapevine is in overdrive!

When your internal communications become sporadic and only when there is a crisis you will find engagement levels begin to suffer as employees feel forgotten and side-lined.

Your aim should be to maintain a regular and consistent pace of messaging within your internal communications strategy. Use the range of tools and reports at your disposal to ascertain when the best time of the day is for your employees.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

Relevant resources

Categories
Blog Internal Communication

Types of Internal Comms

internal communication

The Best Types of Internal Communications

Internal communications is an important activity that covers many areas of a company. As a result there are key internal communication types that need to happen if your business is to thrive.

The traditional methods of internal comms such as company mandates pinned to noticeboards and one-way email newsletters do not allow for vital feedback from departments, teams and employees. In this blog we will look at 3 of the best types of internal communications.

Leadership Communication

The original flow of “top to bottom” of information.

This method of downward communication still plays a vital role in internal communication. Keeping employees informed about the state of the company via formal announcements, company updates and progress reports.

Email is widely used by businesses to deliver this form of communication however this may not be the most effective method of reaching every employee consistently. Email inboxes are becoming overloaded and non-desk employees are often missed out.

You can solve these issues by using an internal comms app. Which give leaders the power to reach every employee with effective messages in modern formats like video, article feeds, employee surveys and polls.

Employee Communication

Vital feedback from employees back to managers.

Employees are on the frontline of your organisation. They will have opinions, thoughts and feelings gathered from their work that could really benefit your organisation. This crucial feedback must be listened to and acted on. This flow of “bottom to top” information can be achieved via workplace surveys, Employee Net Promoter Scores and staff polls.

The aim is not just to talk at your employees, give them a voice and engage with them through employee communication. This two-way street ensures every employee plays an active role in contributing to company success.

Crisis Communication

Never has this been more relevant than in 2020.

The Coronavirus has changed the way we look at internal communications forever. When a company faces the major disruptions and unexpected changes brought about by COVID-19, crisis communication becomes crucial to a business’s survival.

Having a crisis communication strategy helps mitigate risk, keeps employees safe and reduces the impact on your company income. The key here is reaching every employee during a crisis effectively and quickly.

A flexible internal communications app gives an organisation the ability to deliver crisis communications. It connects with employees wherever they are; at home, at work or on the road with feedback channels that allow you measure the reach of your communications. Its speed and flexibility gives you the power to quickly adjust your plans to suit the ever-changing situation.

author-rachel-stidworthy

Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

Relevant resources

Categories
Blog Internal Communication

Video in Internal Comms

internal communications

Using video to communicate with employees

Using video to communicate with employees is a very valuable part of any internal communication strategy. It isn’t a new idea but love it or hate it, video conferencing became much more common during lockdown and now we are all more familiar with being on screen.

It is not an easy thing to do. I’ve been a public speaker for many years, giving talks and seminars in front of hundreds of people but I turn into a bumbling idiot when looking into a camera. So what are the secrets to producing interesting good quality content?

Practice

Sounds obvious but it really does work! If you are using video to communicate with employees you must first feel relaxed and confident. Or as relaxed and confident as you can be at least!

Just grab your phone and start recording yourself talking about anything. These videos will never leave the safety of your phone storage, their purpose is to get you used to looking at the camera rather than yourself in the screen and feeling more comfortable with the result.

Let your eye line roam a little, staring at the camera intently whilst you recite content can come across a little… well, creepy!

Start alone at first, get used to the feeling of recording yourself. Then, when you’re feeling more confident, move to a public space and repeat the process. Hold the phone boldly – don’t try to secretly record yourself!

Equipment

3 items that will make your internal communication video look and feel more professional.

Lighting. A must on every filmset in the world is good lighting, even when filming outdoors and it will make a real difference to your videos. You can buy selfie ring lights that clip onto your mobile phone for as little as £15. Alternately you can get mini stands with halo lighting built in. Good lighting makes you look good, which in turn will improve confidence!

Tripod. Set your phone or camera into a stand so there is no distracting wobbles, no moving out of shot and no arm ache! Using a tripod with a phone or monitor mounted webcam frees up your hands for gesturing. Hand movement is an unconscious thing you would do if speaking face to face so freeing up your hands will relax you.

Microphone. Either invest in a good microphone or utilise the one in your earphones. A microphone eliminates external noises like wind and means you won’t find yourself talking loudly or unnaturally.

Do your preparation

Have a storyboard in mind before you start.

Film makers don’t just turn up on day one with the actors and start filming. They have scripts, storyboards, rehearsals and plans which they produce before filming begins.

Speak to colleagues or maybe run a quick survey to conclude the best way to go about using video to communicate with employees. What information would make their workday more enjoyable or productive? Find out who they want to hear from; is it the Managing Director, direct line managers or industry leaders?

I know this may seem a bit much for your weekly internal communication round up but your video content will be produced far quicker if you have a basic storyboard and agenda to follow rather than the classic “winging it” approach. Once you’ve got a storyboard have a pre-recording run through without the camera rolling. When you’re happy with the flow you can produce the content with no interruptions.

Don't fly solo

Release your inner chat show host.

Getting colleagues involved with your video content via employee or senior management interviews is a great way to relive any filming tension you may experience and increase overall employee engagement.

Without the emphasis on the camera your internal comms content will look and feel more natural in an informal chat setting. Making it more watchable and less staged.

Paralysis by analysis

Using video to communicate with employees is a really valuable tool in your internal comms strategy but remember you’re not remaking The Shawshank Redemption.

Unlike written or image based internal communication content, video seems to fall under a whole new level of post-production scrutiny. Resulting in very long lead times and worse, not releasing the content at all!

You are not Steven Spielberg, unless you are, and by some miracle you’ve stumbled on this blog. In which case, I’m a huge fan sir! The rest of us have to expect our internal communication videos to be slightly rough sometimes, for them to have places you’d love to redo. The key here is to let them go and publish.

Don’t get stuck overthinking. A video that is 95% perfect and released will improve employee engagement and company moral. A video that is 5% wrong (in your eyes) and not released will do neither.

 

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

ISO 27001

July 14, 2021. VRAMP achieves ISO 27001 VRAMP is thrilled to have been awarded the highest international information security standard. The ISO 27001:2017

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Categories
Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms During COVID

internal communication

Internal Crisis Communication During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The value of Internal Communication during a crisis

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading globally at an incredible rate. New cases are being recorded daily by doctors via regular updates from our government. The virus is also an issue for our economy as a whole. Businesses are beginning to feel the impacts on turnover, with many having to close down and furlough their employees.

But where does that leave the employees now working from home and the employees working on the frontline?

How does a business manage to instantly share the information its employees need to do their jobs when they are now scattered or working different shift patterns? How do you keep the workplace productivity high and team collaboration strong when your teams have been disrupted? And how do you engage with your employees when their world has turned upside down? 

Internal crisis communication has never been more important.

Lisa Ross, COO of Edelman in the U.S has said:

“Employees are turning to business as a source of truth on the daily issues they’re facing. So we’re counselling our clients to keep up a continual cadence of credible information.”

A cadence of credible info… Now that’s some smashing fancy talk for a Friday! Essentially your internal crisis communication needs to be a regular, probably more than normal, feed of information on what is going on and how important each employee’s role is in the businesses survival.

Your internal crisis communication needs to offer guidance

COVID-19 is changing internal communication and employee engagement. Your workforce could be feeling isolated and alone. They will have questions. “What’s going on?”, “will I still have a job at the end of all this?”, “will I lose my job if this lockdown carries on too long?”. Internal communication will play a vital role in handling these questions and keeping your employees focussed and on track.

74% of employees feel they are missing out on important information - Gallup poll.

Whilst your employees are working remotely or different the opportunity for “fake news” to feed into the business is high. Private WhatsApp chats and Microsoft Teams messaging will be spreading stories and gossip. You need a solid platform and strategy in place to stub out the negativity with updates and news on positivity and truth.

So what should you do?

These are my 3 top tips on how to manage your internal crisis communication:

Right Place - Right time

Hanging notices in the staff room doesn’t cut it anymore, neither do intranet updates that are locked away behind company firewalls. You need to send out timely messages on a regular basis on a platform every one of your employees has access too at home. 13% of employees use their company intranet and 2 in 3 employees ignore email newsletters through email fatigue.

Gauge Opinion

Your employees will have questions and if you do not answer them – fake news will! Use regular surveys and polls to gauge feeling and allow your employees a mechanism to ask questions and air their concerns.

Analyse Metrics

How do you know if your internal communication is effective if you don’t track it? You need to be able see if your employees are reading your updates and which content generates the most reads and questions. These important metrics form the building blocks of future campaigns and updates and will help you evolve your internal crisis communication to maximise its effectiveness.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

VRAMP achieves ISO 27001

ISO 27001

July 14, 2021. VRAMP achieves ISO 27001 VRAMP is thrilled to have been awarded the highest international information security standard. The ISO 27001:2017

Read More »
Categories
Blog Internal Communication

Internal Comms Problems

internal communication

How to overcome poor communication in the workplace

The role of an internal communication professional has changed. Communicating with employees for the purpose of releasing big news or changes is not enough. This closed approach to internal communication is likely to disengage employees and cause your internal communication strategy to subside. In this blog we outline the 5 most common problems and provide guidance on how to overcome poor communication. 

Non-Desk Employees

Not everyone works at a desk with access to company email or intranet. This creates a big logistical challenge but it’s vital you find a way around it if you are to overcome poor communication within your organisation.

Not having an internal comms app that every employee, contractor and stakeholder can access can hurt your relationships with your non-desk / remote workforce. Remote working is growing rapidly and internal communication professionals need to have a plan on how to keep them informed and engaged.

Time and effort goes into producing content for your workforce only for it to be inaccessible to Non-Desk Employees. 84% of Non-Desk Employees feel they do not receive enough support and communication to do their job.

Time Consuming

Updating multiple platforms & lack of collaboration is another hurdle many businesses need to overcome.

Creating engaging content is difficult enough, then you have to replicate it across email, intranet , staff noticeboards and social media.

In today’s fluid business world, internal communication professionals need to ensure much better cross department communication takes place. This ensures an even spread of content workload, fresh and interesting articles for your workforce and ultimately – far more engaged employees.

Customer facing teams like, marketing, sales, development and account management cannot work separately. In order to be successful, they need to communicate effectively on a regular basis.

The most effective way to do this will be with an internal comms app that all authors can access. With a single platform central to everything all your communicators do, you will ensure everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.

Low Engagement

Little or no feedback on company news.

29% of employees say their organisation’s current method of internal communication isn’t working. They feel disengaged and out of the loop.

Good employee engagement is a top contributing factor to high-performance growth culture business and an undeniable producer of productivity and payback.

Getting a better engagement rate requires three key values:

  • Employees want to be known and recognised as important individuals to the business.
  • They want to be valued. Employees want to know the company cares about them.
  • Empowerment. Some employees want increased responsibility, while others may want things like training and development.

Embracing a two-way engagement strategy to achieve a higher engagement rate and employee productivity with definitely help you overcome poor communication practices.

Email Fatigue

Overloaded employee inboxes are a common problem.

Email fatigue is a state that occurs when employees get tired of receiving email. They start to ignore messages, delete them, unsubscribe, or even worse – they send your emails to their spam folder.

Email fatigue is mostly the result of a company sending employees irrelevant emails or sending emails too frequently. Seeing gradual decrease in email engagement numbers like opens and clicks is a clear indicator of a tired and disengaged workforce.

An employee engagement app like VRAMP is designed so that the flow of information is faster, error free and more targeted with the use of feeds and teams. A solution such as this will not only help your overcome poor communication challenges, it will also help you attract a younger generation to work with you. 

Useable Analytics

Looking for more than just open and click rates.

Feedback and analytics are key to any internal communication strategy. You need it to measure engagement and gauge opinion whilst your employees appreciate the fact their voice is heard.

The focus should really be on measuring the impact of your internal communications on employee engagement, motivation and productivity. You need to be on top of your employee advocacy. Engagement metrics go a long way to help build a suitable program for this and will help you both identify and overcome poor communication issues.

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society and the world of internal communications. And my pug Winston…

Relevant resources

Email Capability

8th October, 2021. VRAMP now provides even more flexibility from one employee communication platform VRAMP has always enabled you to deliver communications that

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