Communicating with an entire company is a challenge whether you have five employees or thousands. From communicating policy change to letting everyone know there is leftover food from the board meeting, getting the message to the masses is never easy. Printed newsletters and memos get lost in the paper shuffle. “All staff” e-mails are often put off or viewed as a work interruption. At the heart of effective communication is value. Whether you are communicating with your staff or your customers, they must view what you are telling them as valuable. What’s the solution? Create an intranet that features news worth reading, content that is perceived as valuable. Here’s how.
Create a News Hub
Allow for numerous filters, not just news dates. Employees may try to find a news story they saw on the homepage, but can’t recall the date. Offer search options by topic, department, author or regional office. Think about offering the “most popular”, “most shared” or “highest rated” categories, using terms employees are familiar with in the social world.
Encourage user-generated news within your hub. User-generated content drives the social community created by today’s intranet. It’s where the value comes from. Interesting topics from peers are perceived as valuable and are likely to keep readers coming back for more. However, user-generated content can’t overshadow the official content coming from HR or the President’s office. Be careful not to separate the two, sending the message that user-generated content is less important. Instead, use your design to categorize content. For example, you could use color codes to distinguish “official” news.
Make it Fun
Be sure your news items are readable. According to the International Association of Business Communicators, (IABC) only 21 percent of communication professionals within average performing organizations say they keep their language simple and jargon-free compared with 50 percent that uses simple, jargon-free language within high-performing organizations. Employees should be able to easily skim an article for important information, not wade through unfamiliar terms. Make good use of subheadings, bullet points, and avoid clichés and jargon. Whether your staff is well-educated or not, keep your writing to a seventh grade reading level or lower. Don’t use unfamiliar abbreviations or acronyms. Lastly, use the active voice.
- Readership: Did the majority of employees read it?
- Readability: Use an online readability test to measure your writing.
- Engagement: Did the article stimulate comments, debate or discussion among your staff?
- Satisfaction: Did employees rate the article? Do you have a rating mechanism in place?
- Relevancy: Did the article encourage the action you wanted the reader to take? Were they supposed to feel, think or do something specific?
- Bouncing: Did employees click back within five seconds of clicking on the article?
Get Employees Involved
While the term “social intranet” may conjure up images of employees chatting it up or sharing pictures of their recent vacation, this is far from what a social intranet actually does for internal communication. In short, it gets employees involved. It’s a platform that takes advantage of popular social applications and adapts them for a business environment. The familiarity and transparency that result provide an engaging environment where employees feel like a member of a community, not a user of a software application.
The effectiveness of this model can be seen by popular news organizations. MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and most local stations have their own social media accounts, and have the functionality in place for readers to share, like and comment on articles. Pew researchers call social media a “pathway to the news.” Think of the social areas of your intranet has “pathways” to the news you want employees to read. Get them involved in discussions with contests, polls, employee recognition or employee guest blogs. Encourage them to feature links to news stories within their discussions, blog posts or individual news feeds. Involvement is key.
In short, don’t leave it to chance that your employees will read your news. Plan an effective strategy that engages them and helps them see value. A social intranet provides the perfect platform to create a news hub, make it fun, measure effectiveness and get employees involved. MyHub Intranet Solutions Limited provides a cloud-based, social intranet platform that accomplishes just that. Contact us to take advantage or sign up for a Free Trial.