“All staff” emails getting buried in inboxes? Printed newsletters seem outdated and environmentally unfriendly? It’s time to migrate company-wide communications to your (Content Management System) CMS intranet. Whether you’re getting the word out to an office of ten or thousands of employees worldwide, the key to getting your messages read is creating content that is valuable and where possible fun. No matter what intranet content you are creating if want to increase employee engagement you should try to create an emotional response. Ask yourself how many readers of this blog post only clicked the link to it because of the funny dog image?
Creating newsworthy content boosts the effectiveness of your communication. When the message is worth reading, staff will take the time to do so. Whether you’re announcing big policy changes or just free leftovers in the kitchen, here are a few tips to make sure your memos are read.
Make Your CMS Intranet A Central News Hub
While constant email updates can be seen as an interruption to workdays, an on-demand news hub is the exact opposite. If you’re already using a CMS intranet, employees may expect to see news updates on the homepage. But they may not always have the time to click through each story right away. Make sure they have the option of referring back to important announcements later by creating a hub for all news to be collected and saved.
This hub is especially helpful for new employees, so they can read up on recent history and keep up with upcoming events around the office. And when a seasoned employee returns from vacation, they have a quick access point to catch up on what happened while they were relaxing on the beach.
Organisation of the intranet news hub is important, so it’s easily searchable. Beyond sorting by date, it may be worth calling out important news updates on the home page. While user-generated stories bring a human element and increased readership, official content authored by HR or the CEO can become harder to find. If your CMS intranet has the ability to have different new blogs on different pages, it might be worth using an intuitive navigation structure to make finding various types of news articles easier. You could even go one step further and apply permission to each page if you want to restrict updates to different sets of users.
Fun Content Creates Added Value
Let’s face it, updates to policies and employee handbooks can seem boring leading to a lack of readers for sometimes the most important topics. If you know the topic is dry on its own, think of ways to make it seem more fun. Catchy headlines only go so far, so introduce contests or insert related trivia. You could also conduct polls and reveal the results within an otherwise dry article. Reward those who actually read a post thoroughly, by giving prizes to the first five people who comment on the article.
Images can go a long way to boost readership. Add infographics, visual aids, or photos to supplement messages, create a short video introduction by the President, or record an explanation of more a complicated topic.
While you want to engage with them, remember that your employees’ time is valuable. Keep your messages skim-able. Is your content simple, easily digestible by your readers, and free from jargon and technical language? According to the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), only 21% of communication professionals within average performing organizations say they do so. This rate increases to 50% within high-performing organizations.
Even though your staff are likely to be well educated, keep your writing to a seventh grade level. Don’t make your employees look up acronyms and unfamiliar terms. Avoid clichés and stick to active voice. You can also increase readability by using subheads and bullet points.
How Does Your Content Measure Up?
Are your updates being read? Are your messages getting your point across? Measure their successfulness to be sure. Don’t be part of the whopping 60% who don’t measure the effectiveness of internal communication strategies (according to IABC research). Excuses for not measuring include: not having the time, a boss not understanding the value, and not knowing what results you’d receive back.
Metrics are the only way to assure your communications are not falling on deaf ears. There are a few easy ways to dive into readership habits. Measure participation by looking at unique user logins per day. Tracking when posts are opened will reveal peak times of day during which readership is at the highest. This will clue you in on the best time to publish important updates and ensure they receive the attention they deserve. You can also measure how long a reader stayed on a certain page, or which articles were shared the most, revealing what content best resonates with your staff.
Keep these areas of measurement in mind:
- Readership: How far was the article’s reach? Did the majority of staff read it?
- Readability: Use a readability test to measure how easy your message is to digest.
- Engagement: Did it trigger conversation? Was there any further debate or discussion among the comments?
- Relevancy: Consider your desired outcome from readers and if the article achieved that. Did they respond to the call to action, or feel something as a result?
Social Media And Your Intranet
News doesn’t have to be one-sided. It can also be crowdsourced since anything that is important to your staff is relevant. Social networks have changed news from being static to something everyone can participate in and interact with.
According to recent research, 63% of Facebook and Twitter users get their news from social networks. And further, they comment and share articles with followers. Not only that, 50% of millennials rate social networks as “the most important” or “an important” news source.
Your CMS intranet should ride this trend, shifting straight dissemination to a dynamic conversation. While there are elements of traditional social media networks that aren’t useful in a business setting, many principles do apply for increasing engagement and can be easily adapted to a professional environment. A social intranet shouldn’t imply schmoozing or taking away from productivity. Rather, social activity in a centralized place makes employees feel involved and connected. Your company will be viewed as more transparent, stimulating a sense of membership and community.
According to Pew researchers, social media is a “pathway to the news.” Within your CMS intranet, its social capabilities are the “pathways” to the articles and updates you want employees to read. By getting staff involved, they’ll help disseminate information by sharing, discussing, and participating in the important company news. Encourage readers to link to supporting articles from other sources or blog about their reactions to news – either way, involvement is a must.
One step that you may consider is embedding the company social feeds such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn on a single page on your intranet. This will save your users time as they can then see all of the different updates in one place and very quickly stay up to date.
Effect CMS Intranet Content Summary
Don’t just assume that your employees are actually reading your company news. You need to where possible measure the current readership and analyze how to boost those statistics. The bottom line is, create effective, enjoyable, and engaging content that they perceive as valuable and this will, in turn, stimulate employee engagement.
Ready to create your own intranet news hub with intuitive navigation and embedded social media feeds? We can help! We provide a cloud-based, CMS intranet platform that will help ensure your news is read. Contact us to for a free demonstration.
This picture is so hilarious, I love it! 🙂
Thanks Fred, we were trying to give a real life example of how fun content can have an emotional effect, in some cases driving better employee engagement. If anyone has posted something on their intranet that has driven high levels of engagement, we’d love to hear from them. There must be a few funny stories out there.