4 Questions to Improve Internal Communications

by Jeannie Walters

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When I’m up on my soapbox proselytizing about customer experience, employee engagement is a topic that’s easy to get preachy about. After all, if your employees aren’t engaged than neither are your customers. It’s really that simple.

More often than not, I find my clients do a lot of great things for their employees. They have good cultures, they offer great benefits and they have those extras that make working someplace fun – picnics, games, and generally nice people. But when it’s time to send out an email about the picnic or the annual benefits enrollment, it’s like they forget where they work and who they work with and send out communications lacking all personality, clarity and – the worst – humanity.

Here are 4 questions to ask before you hit send on any email going to many employees or colleagues:

1. What’s the point? What action do I want the reader to take?

I can’t tell you how often there isn’t one. Really. For example, HR wants to push training. So that’s the gist of the message – training is here! Sign up! It has nothing to do with the reader.

Ask yourself what behavior, understanding or to-do you want the reader to get from this.

2. Is this in the right voice for our culture?

If your culture is laid back and casual, your communications shouldn’t be stuffy and stodgy.

3. Do I give enough information to get the job done? What if someone needs help?

One email I reviewed said this: “We’ve been having lots of errors with the time reporting software. We know this is happening but you still must enter all your hours by Friday at noon.”

So if the software was misbehaving, what’s an employee to do? Apparently, continue to hit his or her head against the keyboard! Provide an escape route for those people who might need it. Is there a specific person to contact? Is there a resource available? Don’t assume things will go as planned. They rarely do.

4. Is this readable?

Think about the amount of emails most of us get in a day. We are all training ourselves on a daily basis to care about some more than others. If I get something that’s not useful, not readable, or not important, I’m going to ignore it. Finally, if there is super critical information you are trying to communicate, don’t bury it in 4 paragraphs. Highlight what you need to and use scannable copy in the form of bullets, lists, and headers to help get your point across.

Employee engagement is a lot more than communications. But if you communicate at all, it’s important to consider how you engage via that channel, too.

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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