Who cares about your latest internal comms or change management programme?
The sad reality is that outside your team, nobody’s really bothered.*
Everyone is far too busy doing their jobs, working jolly hard (now more than ever), and your internal campaign is just one more thing worming its way into their inbox and getting in the way. Any time employees have to spend on what your email’s asking them to do needs to be added in to their schedule, on top of all their usual day to day tasks. And as most folks don’t like change, they resist and ignore it as much as possible. So the barriers are pretty huge right from the start.
It’s a common problem in large corporates: there are so many internal programmes going on, each with their own individual messaging and comms, it’s hard for employees to keep up. They’re drowning in new campaign for this, a need to start working like that, a request to bake a cake for charity (no more banana bread, please), and a super duper important company-wide Zoom at 4pm, but not in their time zone so they’ll have to miss the kids’ bathtime again.
Understandably, messaging fatigue sets in quickly and employees zone you out. And if they’re not even that bothered about the messaging in the first place, it becomes incredibly easy for them to file everything in the bin (although they’ve split out the recyclable elements so not everything has fallen on deaf ears).
So, how do you turn the tide?
The first thing to do is go back to marketing basics, starting with your audience:
- What do employees actually want (rather than what do you want to tell them)? What’s in it for them?
- Which elements are actually of interest and relevant to them?
- Is the language you’re using five times longer than it needs to be and dull as ditch water? There’s nothing wrong with long form copy but it’s very hard to pull off well.
- Does your campaign actually stand out from all the other comms flying around or is it a master of corporate camouflage?
- Is it super clear what you’re asking them to do? And is it remotely reasonable for them to be able to fit it in to their day or, hand on heart time, are you taking the Michael?
With so many people working from home – something that’s going to continue for at least the next few months – a lot of tactical options have been removed and most businesses are now relying on digital (massive brownie points if you’ve wangled the budget for physical elements that can be sent out to people). If you’re looking for branded and visual comms, you’re pretty much doubling down on intranets and email. And you can almost hear people’s hearts sing with joy at the prospect of another layer on the intranet to navigate through, one more microsite to visit and even more emails to wade through than ever before.
But then what?
Well, going market orientated starts to tilt those odds a little more in your favour, but you still need to grab their attention. Without that, your campaign is going absolutely nowhere.
*Okay okay, I know I said nobody will be interested. Well, that’s probably not strictly true. There will inevitably be a few people who really care and feel invested in it. Try and identify these folks as soon as possible and draw them into your gang so they can act as champions across the wider company, amplifying your messages and feeding back insight, acting as your eyes and ears on the ground. Make them your new best friends, because they'll be making your life a heck of a lot easier.