Working as a creative partner for companies who constantly need to find interesting ways to engage their employees has given us a lot of interesting insight into what actually works.

 1. Everyone has something of importance to Say. But does it really need to be heard?

This is true not just of the corporate world, but of the world in general. The most common feedback we receive from companies is that people don’t bother reading/responding to non-work related mail. When there are work related mails that need your attention, it’s easier to avoid mails that don’t really require a response. So it’s important to limit the amount of communication that needs to go out to your employees. Wherever possible, tie in multiple pieces of communication into one single unit. 

2. Speak to your people like they speak to each other

Understand the lingo of your people. An overly formal tone of message has the ability to kill any interest in your communication in a single swoop. You also cannot begin official communication with ‘So Wassup?”

Finding the right balance is critical .Keep it simple. Keep it real. You’ll find a lot more listeners.

3. Find out what works. Understand why it works. Do more of it.

You need to find a way to constantly check the pulse of your communication. If you receive encouraging feedback on a particular piece of communication try to identify why people liked it. Do the same for something that did not work. Over the course of time you will be able to draw patterns that tell you what works and what doesn’t. Think of yourself as a radio station and your employees as your listeners. If you want to keep them tuned in, you need to play more of what they’d like to hear.

4. The subject line/ headline is critical

I remember receiving an email just 4 months into my first corporate job. The title read, IMPORTANT: Environment Survey. I remember thinking about how much I cared about the environment generally. And I kept wondering why the company wanted me to fill out a survey about my feelings for the environment. I soon realized that the survey was about the environment at work. We’ve been told a million times to never judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t change the fact that we only pick up a book if we find the title interesting.

5. Move away from mail…whenever you can

Emails feels like more work getting added to your to-do list. So imagine an employee’s reaction when they get email from work that’s not really about their actual work. If they’re having a difficult day they will choose the easy way out and put away the email as something to look at later or worse still send it away to trash. Having said that it’s the simplest way to send out a piece of communication. So before you send out an email, think if can find a better way to put out your message. If you cannot find an alternative, then and only then send an email about it.

If you are in the business of employee engagement and have ideas about what works and what doesn’t, please share it with me. It would be interesting to have more perspectives on what works and what doesn’t.