L&D and HR are responsible for communicating and publishing some of the most read materials in an organisation. It is therefore one of the areas that can have the biggest impact on employee and learner engagement.
To overcome learner apathy, L&D have to work harder than ever to ensure that their content and message attracts and holds the attention of the learner. This isn’t an easy task. Staff are busier than ever. They are overwhelmed and distracted by the plethora of information they are exposed to through the multiple channels of communication they have access to.
The way staff and learners are communicated with is key to engagement, and this in turn can make the biggest difference to any organisations success.
So how do L&D and HR overcome the challenge of engaging its staff, and how can we use effective communication as the catalyst for great engagement?
Here are some top tips for improving engagement through effective communication.
Understand your organisational culture and audience
It goes without saying that effective communication starts with understanding your organisation, the audience and, importantly, its culture. This will also help with ensuring you are using a consistent message to avoid confusing staff.
Bin the jargon
Keep communication clear and avoid confusing terms and phrases. You may assume that everyone knows what something means, but it’s almost guaranteed that there’ll be someone who doesn’t. This can potentially lead to alienation of some members of staff.
Think about the “tone of voice” and language
Successful brands always seem to get this right, think Virgin or Innocent, for example. Decide on the best tone of voice that fits with your brand, your audience and your customers. This could be one of many tones, such as to the point, jokey, fun, professional or influencing, to name a few. The tone should be applicable for both internal and external audiences and should focus on the individual.
Use visual thinking
The value of images in communicating a complex and potentially confusing message shouldn’t be underestimated. Studies have shown that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Wikipedia describes visual thinking as “the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing.”
Be economic and succinct with your message
Why? Because staff have little time, so capture their attention early and give them the information they need.
No one likes it when politicians spin their way through the delivery of a message and your employees won’t like it either. People like to be kept up to date and want facts and context. Share a message when you have all of the information to support it, and be open and honest about it. If there’s something confidential that shouldn’t be shared to a wider audience, don’t share it – but don’t elude to it either.
Storytelling will capture people’s imaginations and emotional buy-in. It gives them something to relate to and encourages empathy with the storyteller. We just talked about facts and context, so try to find a way to incorporate these into your story. People want to know what the situation was before, what it is now and what it will be.
Give employees the power to feedback – communication is a two-way street
Staffwant and should be listened to, so ensure you have a process and means of allowing staff to have a voice. This could be done by ways of social media, forum discussions or group meetings.
Use multiple channels to relay your message
A simple email is no longer sufficient to grab an employee’s attention. Use different channels such as social media, video, live events, publications and blogs to encourage engagement. The likelihood is that you will have a wide variety of employees whose needs and wants are completely different. It’s important to make sure you are relaying your message in a way that appeals to each and every one of them.
Interested in finding out more about how to build great professional relationships through effective communication? Our complimentary whitepaper provides just that, and you can download it here.
Alternatively, give us a call today to find out how we help you create an engaged culture of learners within your organisation.
Stuart Ford, Learning Solutions Sales Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I will talk through my thoughts on some of the key challenges facing Learning and Development professionals, along with useful tips and advice.
Copyright © 2016 Bray Leino Learning