Optimizing Your Multi-Channel Employee Communications Strategy

Reaching and engaging a distributed workforce with critical internal communications can be challenging. Whether you’re communicating leadership directives, company news, policies, procedures, or benefits, reaching the right employees in the right channel at the right time requires a well-planned strategy and effective tools.

Improving the messaging flow requires an optimized multi-channel internal comms approach. The first step is consolidation, where you must ask, “How does each channel perform? And which audience does each channel reach?” Equipped with this information, you can keep the most effective channels and eliminate the rest.

What’s the best way to approach multi-channel optimization? Let’s look at the research.

Face-to-face communication is best for reaching non-desk workers and for leader and manager meetings. Personal conversations are ideal for training employees when delivering feedback and delivering emotionally complex or nuanced information. Face-to-face communication includes both in-person face-to-face communication as well as using video conferencing technology like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Research shows face-to-face interactions help build trust and positively impact things like team empowerment, persuasion, and employee participation. Plus, nonverbal communication cues help reduce misunderstandings and improve conflict resolution.

Email remains the primary corporate communications channel for reaching desk and work-from-home employees. Email is most appropriate when a message requires undivided attention, asks for an action, follows up on an emotionally-challenging topic, or covers technically complex information. Email also wins for assignments, appointment or deadline reminders, general announcements, and video content.

To optimize your email strategy, send to more targeted distribution lists, send messages earlier in the week, keep content to one minute (250 words), and include fewer links. Too much content (not too many messages) often causes email overload. So keep emails brief.

Collaborative messaging platforms like Teams and Slack are also great for desk and mobile workers when answering quick questions, brainstorming, and socializing (particularly remote workers). That said, chat platforms have their drawbacks: most notably the risk of hurting productivity rather than helping it.

Your intranet is well-suited as a centralized library of important information, articles, files, and data. It can also help colleagues locate each other and give employees easy access to their HR and benefits info — answering FAQs like “How much PTO do I have?” Intranet pages are great tools for distributing time-sensitive company information since the content can’t get buried in a thread like an email or chat.

Strengthening your multi-channel approach

Gallup data show that only 13% of employees strongly agree that their organization’s leadership communicates effectively with the rest of the organization. You can remedy that by optimizing and consolidating your multi-channel approach — increasing engagement, participation, and employee action.

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