A one-size-fits-all approach to communications may be the easiest and fastest way to produce communications, but it may be leaving sections of your population out of the loop. Consider this:
Mary in marketing is a mom with two grown kids and has been with the company for years. Ian is the new IT specialist fresh out of grad school and isn’t looking to settle down any time soon. Both need, and possibly want, health and wellness information, but likely not the same content. Agreed?
So, how do you reach, and hopefully engage, both employees… and others who are at different stages of their lives? Think variety.
Each generation in your workforce consumes information in different manners. Here’s a look at the generations most likely in your company, and the media they typically respond to best:
This is not to say that each generation will only respond to the specific media listed. So, it is wise to use a variety of media to ensure everyone is comfortable with the communication style and absorbs your message.
Here are 3 tips to enhance your communication:
1. If you are using a newsletter or other communication with multiple topics, whether in print or electronic format, don’t focus in-depth on just one topic in each wellness area; provide two or three topics at a higher level.
You can always direct employees, who may crave more information on a particular topic, to online content. So, instead of a page-long article on eye issues (which usually affect older individuals more than younger people), write a smaller brief on the topic and another short article on sleep habits (a universal issue) and perhaps one on how to protect young kids from medication errors (something younger parents would appreciate). Check out this example from the HOPE Health Letter.
2. When giving multiple examples in tips-type communications, craft your examples with different life stages in mind. For example, when distributing ideas for easy ways to be physically active, you might want to include playing tag with grandkids and playing volleyball with friends after work.
3. Send all employees the various media. The lines are blurring when it comes to what media is best for which generation. The chart above is a general guideline, and what studies have shown each generation prefers and is comfortable with using. Therefore, if possible, send all media to all workers, and let them decide whether to engage with it.
You will also want to think about how many impressions of your message you need to release. “Once-and-done” is no longer a viable strategy with today’s workforce. Breaking up your messages, and releasing them multiple times over a period of time can help employees absorb your messages. Tell your employees, remind them, and then remind them again.
So, how can you decide the best mix and communication style for your company? Start with producing a chart of your workplace demographics. Include each generation and how many workers are in each category. Then, think about what you need to communicate and how you want to use the various media to reach each segment. You can also survey employees for a snapshot of their preferences, and cross-reference that against your chart.
You can also use this quick assessment tool for a snapshot of what may work best for your workplace: Media Planning Tool.
Let’s talk! Looking for more ideas on how to communicate important messages to your employees? We can help! Give me a call at 800-334-4094 or eMail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.