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If you have a really important message that you need to get into the hands and minds of your entire workforce as quickly as possible, it turns out that you might be just as well sending up a smoke signal or slotting a message into a bottle and launching it into the ocean as sending it by email.
Research shows that the average employee spends more than a quarter of their working week reading and responding to emails, and that while reading and writing emails our IQ points actually drop by 10 points on average. Not only that, but it takes more than 20 minutes for us to adjust back to other tasks after time spent checking our emails.
It's worth also considering that email was never intended as a collaborative means of communication but many use it that way now. That results in piles and piles of CCs, BCCs and, worst of all, Reply Alls clogging your inbox.
All of this has led to 'email fatigue', as employees gradually become numb to the urgency of emails and allow them to pile up unseen. Including those urgent messages that you need everyone to be aware of yesterday.
Of course, we're assuming all your employees have easy, regular access to their company email in the first place. If you're working in an industry with a large percentage of frontline employees who work on the shop and factory floor, in distribution centers and warehouses, in hotels, kitchens, or even on hospital wards, then chances are you're not dishing out for email licenses and personal laptops for each and every one of your workers.
This is why employers are increasingly turning to collaboration, communication and project management platforms that employees can access directly from their own personal device and where important messages aren't lost under a sea of 'reply alls'. Some of these platforms, enterprise social networks, and employee apps have special functions that help highlight the most important updates in a way that email cannot.
On Speakap, for example, administrators have a couple of options for communicating messages that are especially important:
- Administrators can make use of push notifications, so employees who have them enabled will receive an alert to show that a new message has arrived, along with the subject of that message.
- Administrators can now also pin important messages to the top of timelines to make sure that those key communications are never missed.
Don't overindulge in alerts
Although admins now have a couple of powerful weapons in their armory to ensure that employees quite literally get the message, comms teams should still make sure they don't overuse these otherwise employees will quickly become desensitized to the novelty.
A few tips admins can employ:
- Alternate between push notifications and pinning messages – don't use both all the time.
- Rather than blasting one-way communications, try to wrap up important notifications in questions that will garner feedback and responses from employees.
- If your enterprise social network or employee communication app allows for multiple types of updates, such as image posts, link posts, videos or even polls, use these to keep news feeling fresh and engaging to your workforce.
- Only push or pin the most important messages.
Speaking of which...
4 Internal Communications Messages That Should Be Pinned To The Top of Timelines and 4 More That Shouldn't
1. Company updates
Do: Push or pin messages about major company meetings, changes to the leadership and updates about new locations, mergers and acquisitions. Although many organizations understandably shy away from bad news, transparency goes a long way to reassuring employees.
Don't: Send out a push notification to inform employees about obscure legal technicalities or behind-the-scenes changes to financial models that have little effect on their working lives. While the CFO stepping down is worth pinning, Dave finishing his internship in Accounts isn't. Sorry Dave.
Do: Pin messages about major annual training that should be completed by all or large parts of the workforce, such as annual compliance training, health and safety training, or data privacy training.
Don't: Pin or push messages to employees about every single new course available anywhere within your organization.
3. Employee surveys
Do: Push and pin one main message about the influential upcoming employee engagement survey, containing key details like the deadline, how long it will take, why it's significant, and where to take part. Then push and pin one main message outlining the results, and informing employees where they can see the full results and what will be the next steps.
Don't: Pin daily or weekly reminders to take part and later forget to share the results. Surefire ways to ensure that engagement levels will plummet in the following year's survey!
4. HR announcements
Do: Share announcements about public holidays, and days when opening hours will be affected. Also, messages about important moments like completing your performance review or enrolling in the company pension plan should be extremely visible. HR information is an example of exactly the right type of message that should be pinned to the top of timelines.
Don't: Pin or push messages celebrating Dave the intern's birthday, wishing Helen from HR in New Hampshire a great vacation, or congratulating Steve the store manager on finally getting his motorbike license. That's what private or group messages are for.
Follow these tips and tricks for pinning messages at the top of timelines or sending out push notifications around news and they'll become powerful tactics to employ when you have a message that really needs to be seen by 100% of your organization.
To see Speakap's Pinned Messages or Push Notification features in action, book your free demo today.