Strategic employee communications that lead
Fortune 500 companies through transformation

Cut Through the Clutter – 5 Tips for Creating Successful Communications

Illustration of a woman looking curious, coming out of a laptop screen.

Employee messaging: One and done – or seven times, seven ways?

“I’ve sent the email, so people should know what’s happening.” If only it were that easy! Communication should never be thought of as one and done.

No matter how well written or important your message may be, you will never reach everyone via email. And, even if your email was received, there’s no guarantee that the message was understood – or even looked at. The average employee receives more than 120 emails everyday and sends about 40. That’s a lot of content to consume and some is bound to fall between the cracks.

Everyone is competing for attention

We need to cut through massive amounts of clutter and noise to reach our audiences. That’s why it’s more important than ever to use the seven times, seven ways approach, meaning a message must be received at least 7 times and in 7 different ways for it to be “heard” and ultimately result in desired behavior change.

So how do we hit the seven times, seven ways marker?

1. Repetition

Be consistent and repeat key messages.

2. Know your audience groups

A great communications plan will include targeted tactics to reach all audience segments and address their respective needs.

  • Employees without computers/devices (e.g., plant employees, restaurant employees, healthcare workers, etc.)
  • Employees with a computer/device
  • Employees who may speak other languages
  • People leaders
  • Senior leaders

3. Multi-Channel

It’s time to get creative: One size does not fit all when it comes to employee engagement. For example, since there are fewer channel limits, it may be much easier to reach employees with a company device.

Non-tech-enabled employees are those who work on the plant floor, in the field, away from a computer – and they may not have email. These employees could benefit from alternative channels.

Graphic that reads "potential channels"
  • Blog posts
  • Email
  • Face-to-face (in-person or virtually)
  • Home mailing (aka “snail mail”)
  • Internal social channels
  • Intranet site
  • Intranet site banners
  • Leader video or system demos
  • Leader meetings
  • Leader toolkit
  • Manager talking points
  • Mobile app
  • Newsletters
  • Podcast
  • Posters
  • Success stories
  • Talking points for shift-change meetings
  • Table tents in the break room
  • Team meetings/shift change meetings
  • Town halls
  • TV/video monitor postings

4. Communicate in the right order

Respect the communications cascade – Share with senior leaders first, followed by people leaders. Focus on preparing your leaders so they are aware, understand the plan and potential impacts/benefits, are prepared to share and reinforce the key messages with their teams, and can answer related questions. Remember, an employee’s most trusted source of information is their immediate supervisor. Possible ways to share with leaders:

  • Face-to-face meeting
  • Provide a leader toolkit and share expectations (e.g., walking deck, talking points, topic fact sheet/elevator speech, FAQs)

5. Formatting matters

Include visuals to talk less and communicate more

Graphics can help you get your message across in a clear, concise way. Think about using screenshots, GIFs, videos, pie charts, infographics and great design.

Use bolding, subheads and bullet points

These signposts help simplify and direct attention to key action items. Make it easy for people to skim the message, but still absorb the main points.

Create a campaign

A tagline and/or memorable visual helps tie the communications together and make them easily recognizable to the audience.

Finally, don’t forget to track your progress: Which channels are most effective for each target audience?

Monitor open rates, engagement and anecdotal feedback to ensure you’re working smarter, not harder. Be creative and ready to adapt until you succeed in creating communications that stick.

If you need a hand connecting all those dots, Pivot Strategies is always here to help! Let’s chat.

What tips would you add to this list to help maximize messaging engagement?

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