Quick Summary: From instant messages to internal memos, employees are flooded with information at work. Your health education materials and benefits information may get swept away in the communication whitewater. By adhering to some sound strategies, you can deliver important HR messages to employees who are drowning in information overload.
According to a study conducted by Pitney Bowes and the Institute for the Future, the white-collar worker receives an average of 190 messages a day, including phone calls, emails, faxes, internal memos, snail mail, Post-it notes, and cell phone calls.
If it seems overwhelming that employees are bombarded with so many messages, consider this: The findings from that study were published in Business2.0 magazine a decade ago . Today’s employees are inundated with even more information from all the sources mentioned, plus podcasts, blogs, social networking sites, IM, text messages, and more.
Here are 7 sure-fire ways to keep your messages visible:
#1 – Find preferred methods of communication. Don’t assume your employees want to check the company intranet for benefits information or call a hotline to find a physician. Survey your staff to find out how they want to receive information; then send communiqués via the most popular methods, when possible.
#2 – Make sure the message fits the method. If you’re brainstorming or expect a lot of questions, don’t rely on emails: Set up a face-to-face meeting. Conversely, don’t waste your employees’ precious time at a sit-down session in a conference room if you’re simply handing out annual benefits enrollment packets (use interoffice mail or regular mail sent to them at home).
#3 – Consolidate information. To reduce the number of emails you send—and to help ensure the messages are consistent—place similar information in an electronic news bulletin. Issue the bulletin twice a month and keep items brief. Adding hyperlinks allows interested employees to get more details on your intranet site and prevents everyone else from slogging through too much data.
#4 – Create a Web site library of major communication where you can store information on benefits, providers, wellness programs, and other topics. With a quick email or phone message reminder, you can refer employees to the library rather than deluge them with paper. Staff can download what they need, when they need it.
#5 – Rely on managers to disseminate information. Send department managers necessary information and let them present it at staff meetings. If you use this method, however, check back with the managers to make sure they’ve relayed the message.
#6 – Review your recipient lists. Does everyone at the company need to receive all your emails, memos, and newsletters? Periodically check the distribution list for all your communication to make sure they are getting to the right people.
#7 – Keep messages as simple as you can. If you rely on industry jargon or present pages of information, employees may tune out. Break up complex benefits information into “bite-sized” portions that are easier for your staff to digest.
• Survey employees. Find out what methods of communication they prefer.
• Follow-up on your messages. Emails, memos, and other forms of communication can easily get lost or forgotten. If you require a response, develop a follow-up system: Make reminder phone calls or send brief emails within a certain time—whether it’s 24 hours or 1 week—after the initial contact.
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