Top 10 tips for stand-out reward communications
It’s amazing how easy it is for a large-scale, successful reward project to falter when it comes to communicating it to employees. Sharing your plans with colleagues in a straightforward but engaging way is key to making sure your hard work lands successfully and stays in place.
Over the years we’ve worked closely with several internal teams to produce compelling communications, so here are my top tips for getting it right…
1. Identify your audience
Who are all the groups of people you need to talk to? Who will be directly impacted, who do you need to help deliver your message and who should you keep in the loop? While you are identifying the different groups, think about who they are, how they may feel about the changes and how they are personally impacted.
2. Make it personal
Technology now allows us to communicate personally, both in the way we address a mass message (eg Dear Lucy), but also in the way we present information. Entering an intranet site should be a personal experience, and you should be greeted by relevant information – my job role, my department etc. A bland blanket message gives an impression of laziness and a company that doesn’t care.
3. Create a vision
The day to day operational messages and information that your employees need to do their job will be more interesting, relevant and better received if they have context. So, share your vision. We know that to create engagement you need leadership and leaders are visionary. Give employees highlights of the business plan: the goals and objectives of the company, what is the long game?
4. Be clear about what you want to say
Think about the messages, but get to the point and make it relevant. Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes: what’s important to them, what do they care about?
5. Start today
The error many businesses make is to wait, thinking: “We don’t have all the answers yet, we need a complete concrete plan before we communicate”. This is a mistake. If there is a gap in your communications it will be filled – and not by you. Start talking: you really don’t need the whole picture to be in place. Share what you know now and add to it or change it if needed down the line.
6. Create a conversation
One of the biggest changes in communication and marketing is the way we involve people. Direct involvement with clients via reviews on retail sites, comments on blogs and social media have been the catalyst for the biggest change to business communications in recent years. If we embrace a real dialogue with our customers and clients then we should afford our staff the same treatment. Involve them, allow them to collaborate with the business, communicate across the hierarchy and comment.
7. Keep talking
Once you’ve created the vision and shared the story, keep talking. Keep your employees updated with relevant information, changes and information. Ask for opinion and their help with a project. Keep communication channels open!
8. Make it stimulating – be creative
You are competing with so many other communications and messages. Your employees will no doubt have access to social media during their lunch break, as well as the traditional advertising channels out there. Work and home life has become blurred and you need to get their attention. Treat your employees as you would your customers: market to them. Be creative, entertaining, stimulating, thought provoking or, if appropriate, funny.
9. Diversity and variety
Use a variety of media to get your message across. The intranet is a great place to store all the detailed information, but use other media to support it. How about tapping into peer-to-peer communication channels by sharing a blog written by a member of the project team? In a similar vein, brown bag lunches with the leadership team are an effective route to informal discussion, and offer both sides a chance to jump the traditional hierarchical divide.
10. My final tip is to show respect
By following these rules and making a message personal and relevant you are showing respect to the people you are communicating with. If not, you are wasting valuable time and resources. If you write 1,000 words and share it with 100 people it will take just over 8.5 hours of their time to read – more than one day’s work. Is what you’re saying worth it?
The author is Karen Thornley, Marketing Director at Innecto Reward Consulting.
This article was provided by Innecto Reward Consulting.
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