A three-step model of employee engagement in internal communication

We constantly read and hear it’s more and more difficult to engage our employees in actions in a workplace. The three-step model of employee engagement in IC tools may be helpful.

The idea of this three-step model is to divide our actions into three parts: open, read and share. While implementing this model we need to answer three questions:
1.    open: how to involve the employees to open an IC tool and check what’s new there?
2.    read: how to persuade them to read the content?
3.    share: how to engage our employees to share the content they find in an IC tool?

When we divide our actions into these three steps, I believe it’ll be easier to plan proper actions for each step. And it’ll be easier than answering only one big question which is: how to engage our employees to use our new IC tool? Does it sound easier when you divide this question into three smaller questions? If yes, let’s check what we can do at these three stages.

#1 Involve them to open
How can we involve the employees to open the IC tool? An important issue is the IC tool itself. If its functionalities are useful and helpful in the communication and cooperation among the employees, it’ll be easier for us to persuade its users to open it. IC tools should be intuitive, with no technical errors, well-designed, user friendly and they should meet expectations of the users. If the tools are organised incorrectly, it’s difficult to use them, or the content isn’t for the employees, it may discourage its users from opening it. The visual effects and design are also important. The attractive IC tools get more chances to be used and opened. Remember that our employees have wide experience in using external media that are usually very well-designed and organised. They have the same expectations towards the internal media at the company.   

Our employees will also open more often these IC tools that help them solve their problems and tasks at work.  They can do some tasks faster, e.g. by clicking an online holiday request than printing it, then signing and walking to some office or settle their business trip online, they are more willing to use such an IC tool. If they know the tool is useful and may help them save their time, they’re more willing to open it.

Another option that may help us encourage them to open the IC tool is an online notification (via email or visible inside a platform we use).  After getting this reminder of a new article or a video just published, e.g. on the intranet, more employees will check it. Creating a newsletter to promote the content published online is also a good idea to encourage the employees to open the IC tool.

Promotion and education about the IC tools are other ways that should be on our to-do list. We need to promote the tool to make sure that  as many as possible potential users hear about it, and then educate about this solution to show how to use it, how it may help in communication and cooperation.   

#2 Persuade them to read
A key to our success is the content, in terms of  both about opening and reading stages of this three-step model. The content is the main factor that determines if the employee opens the tool and read what’s displayed there. What kind of the content is opened and read more often? These articles or videos which help the employees work more efficiently, faster and better. The ones which are useful, helpful, bring value, and are about the employees. So don’t publish whatever you get or are asked for. Check what kind of topics should be on your list and focus on them.

Another way of encouraging the employees to read are catchy titles, good photos, interesting infographics, promotion banners, etc. Remember that the form must match the employees’ needs. If you’re not sure if they prefer videos, text or graphics –  check it. Monitor what they click and watch. Check the time your employees spend on it, hear what they say and talk to them to ask them about their preferences.  

#3 Encourage them to share
So how to engage them to share? I think it’s the most difficult step. The first tip is very simple – remember about share buttons that should be visible and in a correct place. Above them publish some call to actions to suggest the user what to do after, e.g. reading the article or watching a video on the intranet. What may discourage the users is a technical problem with using these solutions, difficulties with finding the buttons or lack of these buttons.

Promotion and education about the idea of sharing may also bring a positive effect. Do your employees know why it’s worth sharing the knowledge, tips and interesting ideas within the organisation? Are these actions preferable in your company? Are the leaders involved in sharing as well? Or maybe the supervisors see such actions as a waste of time that their employees may use in a more effective way?

The attractiveness of the content should be mentioned here once again.  People are more willing to share the content if it’s attractive: not only the one which looks great, but also the one which brings value, is high quality and helpful.

This three-step model may help you achieve better results in engaging your employees in the IC. Analyse your IC tools, know your users and their expectations and then plan actions divided into these three steps. And don’t forget to monitor the results.   


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