Cutting through complexity  

If there’s one lesson we can take from the pandemic, it’s the importance of authentic, clear communication. We live in a world where government guidance on what we can and can’t do is ever-changing and increasingly complex.

Bombarded with different corporate messages every day, employees are struggling to navigate the noise or what to believe in – let alone know what’s required of them.

But within this messaging chaos, businesses and leaders need to find a way to meaningfully connect with their people.

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And the answer lies in building belief. Shifting to a values-first world, where communications are more than just words. But where belief is rooted in, and inspires, authentic actions at every level of an organisation.

Why? Because people who believe in their employers go on to transform the performance of that business. And clear communication is key to driving belief and creating a people-powered business. Here’s how you can achieve this.

Establish your key messages 

Before you begin sending out any message, be clear about what the purpose of the communication is and what you want to be known for. Once this is agreed, develop your key messages. Make sure that you refer back to these when crafting the communication so that the most important points are covered.  

A solid infrastructure will save you time  

HR teams and internal comms teams should be working closely together to be able send out a message quickly. Ensure there is a weekly catch-up with your colleagues in internal comms so they can hear what is upcoming and plan accordingly.

This will allow planning time internally and is also key to make sure your message isn’t conflicting with anything else that’s circulating concurrently.

Your internal comms partners can advise on the most effective channels to use to target your audience. They can also help in shaping the content so it is clear, compelling and easy to digest.

Defined channels help grab attention  

How the message is delivered is just as important as what’s said. Decide with internal comms who should be the face of certain subject matters, and which channels would be most effective to use.

For instance, is it preferred by employees, has it previously demonstrated cut-through, or is it best because of its functionality, such as a Yammer broadcast which allows for comment and discussion?

Signpost the communication to employees. It is critical that your people can easily identify an important message.

Either because it has arrived via a certain medium, comes from a particular leader, or is crafted in a way that grabs their attention

Setting and managing these expectations is vital to ensure your communications achieve the desired reach.

Craft for maximum clarity

When it comes to the message itself, think about how the most important points can be communicated quickly. A reader should be able to grasp the main headline within three seconds of reading.

To achieve this, focus on simplicity. Avoid using jargon or overly long sentences. Always lead with the main point that you want to make and then back it up if more explanation is needed.

Use personal anecdotes considerately. Sometimes they work well to bring colour to a point and amplify examples. However, other times they distract from the overall objective. There needs to be a good balance so your audience knows what to expect.

Provide clear next steps to back up your message 

For a message to be truly embedded within an organisation, a single statement is not enough. Think about a central repository where people can go for more information. Or other feedback loops where employees can go if they have questions. Ensuring they can speak up without consequence and can receive a considered response in a timely manner.

So, to navigate complexity, think about actions not just words as this is what really helps to drive belief in a message. Before setting out on any piece of comms, have a clear idea of what you want people to do as a result. This will bring clarity to your message, ensuring it is received well by employees.

And remember. Try to avoid treating internal comms like a postal service, where once the message is received the communication is complete. The steps outlined here are just the basics. Effective internal communication is about planning and thinking to achieve an end result or outcome that usually goes beyond the simple transaction of a message.

Esme Lim is account manager at MSL UK