Will unplugged front-line employees actually read your cleverly worded email? And could your catchy cafeteria flyer escape notice by the team with its own break room?
Careful audience analysis can help you humanize and understand your employees, leading to more effective communication and, ultimately, improved employee engagement.
Most employees are exposed to up to 10,000 messages a day. In fact, the average worker is checking work and personal messages 6.3 hours per day. Give your communication a chance to grab your audience’s eight-second attention span by “tuning in” to their preferences.
Where to Start: Identify All Audiences
Start with your audience—not your message. Audience analysis is a crucial first step in internal communications planning. During that process, you want to ensure you are reaching your employees where they currently are.
Larger organizations tend to release news through mass email distributions and front-line communications while failing to look across all the places and media where employees are active. Delivering communications in an age of content saturation requires reaching people in a more targeted way.
For example, one Gagen client—one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems—was trying to shape and influence the employee experience for their workforce of 60,000+ employees in roles as diverse as physicians, nurses, executives, people managers, and other caregivers—all in different locations and on different schedules. The necessity to differentiate among each audience’s needs was clear.
Before jumping to tactics, start by first naming your audiences. Ask yourself:
- Who needs to know or understand?
- Who needs to be involved?
- Who will be affected?
Bring Your Audience to Life
Now that you’re clear on whom you need to reach, humanize them. Be thorough and specific. Keep in mind each group’s wants and needs vary by demographic, region, role, and other factors.
To determine what these employee groups need to be better informed, connected, and engaged, take the time to dig deeper:
- Identify preferences. What do they like?
- Call out triggers. What keeps them up at night?
- Clarify outcomes. What do you want them to know, feel, do, or overcome?
- Find out what’s in it for them. How will you make their lives better?
Answering these questions for each audience segment will help you craft better, more relevant messages. Plan your content and channel strategies as well as communications strategies through the lens of these audiences to reach them all successfully.
For the healthcare client mentioned above, the company traditionally used email to communicate with employees broadly. However, internal analysis revealed most workers used shared workspaces—or none at all—so their low open rate of mass emails wasn’t a surprise. To better reach this diverse, unplugged workforce, the company determined the need for a smart, mobile-accessible intranet that recognizes each user and shows them content specifically relevant to them.
Sure, analysis takes time. But the upfront work—finding audience interests and needs—yields tremendous dividends later on. The best written message or most creative campaign will fall flat if not shared with the right people in the right way at the right time.
Put Receivers First
The audience—not the sender, product, or project—is the star in any successful communication. Plan accordingly.
As companies embark on complex business transformations, the need to humanize communications and the employee experience is more important than ever.
At a recent roundtable discussion, Gagen convened 20 senior executives across a range of industries to understand how large-scale organizational change is impacting their businesses. One important way we recommended dealing with the human struggle of change involves using face-to-face communications with employees to build trust and restore energy. The human touch can go a long way toward ensuring your message gets heard.
Need help humanizing your communications? Contact us to learn how we can support your initiative.