In times of high-paced innovation and of rapid change towards novel concepts and technologies, communicating them effectively into your organisation is more critical than ever. Leaders must find ways to reach, inform and motivate all employees to join them on their path.
Traditional channels for internal corporate communication include employee magazines, intranet articles, brochures, or email newsletters. In my opinion those traditional corporate communication channels have some common limitations:
- Employees (including myself) tend to only skim through traditional communication channels and too often do not thoroughly read them.
- As a result of the previous point, traditional communication like magazines or newsletters are only practical for very simple messages. In-depth information like novel concepts or cultural aspects can hardly be communicated in such ways.
- Written text is rather impersonal, in texts you are missing out on the opportunity to reach your employees on a more personal and emotional level, which is an important prerequisite to initiate change.
I have made the experience that there are two powerful modern channels to communicate especially complex and change-related topics.
Internal audio podcasts have proven to be a promising choice if the topic is more complex and requires more time to bring the message across. Instead of having an estimated attention span of 15 seconds for an intranet article, you might successfully get 10 or 15 minutes of your listener’s attention in a podcast episode.
A very effective podcast format is an interview series with leaders and experts, who will - one or two at a time - bring in their unique perspectives on the to-be-communicated topic. Spoken word and a conversational setup leaves enough room for the listener to think and shape their own opinion about the topic.
If you make it easy for people to listen to it, adoption can be quite high in my experience. Not only from millennials and younger, but also from senior staff and executives who like to use this format in otherwise “idle” times like driving or exercising.
Technically the production of audio podcasts is rather simple. Plus: The barrier to join an audio interview as a speaker is also lower compared to many other means of communication or presentation.
Reading about a statement of your company’s leader is good, watching them actively talking about it is something completely different.
When I talk about a video here, I do not talk about professional and highly streamlined studio productions. All of us have seen great examples of leaders (also here on LinkedIn) who present their ideas in an intentionally semi-professional and therefore personal and approachable way - and are very successful with it.
I am convinced that this can and should be applied in internal communication across hierarchy levels as well. In times of ubiquitous video-recording devices, easy ways to record good audio (important!) and simple software tools to edit videos, the cost/benefit ratio of videos is better than ever.
In my experience, the best approach is to join both worlds and combine traditional and more modern ways of communication.
- Print an employee magazine article and add a QR-code to scan for deep-dive in a podcast with interviews of leaders and experts for the topic.
- Send a newsletter and link a video with personal statements of the leadership team on what they personally think are the priorities and benefits of the topic.
By doing that, you reach the broadest range of people, and reach them on a factual and personal level. Furthermore you give all of them the possibility to consume your communication in the way most convenient for them. Communication mission accomplished.
If you would like to read more of my blog, check out the list of posts here!