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Right Message, Right Place, Right Time, and in the Right Way: Strategies to Ensure Your Employees Hear You

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Much has been documented about the need to provide information and training to employees at the place and time of need.  Typically, this infers the use of mobile devices and the assumption that the content is likely to be a how-to video or short video to convey the message.  In fact, statistics strongly substantiate these points:  Mobile and video.

According to the Cisco, mobile video traffic now accounts for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic and will represent more than three-quarters by 2021.[1] The  2016 Ooyala Global Video Index report finds that 51% of all plays are mobile, an increase of 15% from 2015 and 203% from 2014.

However, it would be a mistake to discount the role and value of other media and form factors for corporate communications. Media and the devices or objects that deliver content, such as print, audio, text and video, will continue to endure and improve.  Some will last longer than others (for example, VHS vs. DVD vs .mp4, etc) and will be significant, if not, critical tools for corporate communications for years to come.  Other media, well, they may best suited for complementary or supplementary roles to video, depending on the unique structure and needs of the enterprise.  Why is this relevant?

Not all companies are the same nor are the requirements for them to communicate with employees equal. The work stations in manufacturing plants demands communication methods that are different from sales associates in retail stores (at the point of sale / counter), meeting rooms in branch offices, desktop workspaces in offices and the mobile settings of field service technicians or sales agents.  Also, the employee base may range from baby boomers to millennials, who have different preferences to be informed and educated.

Media Selection and Blend – Find What Works!

Leading companies leverage any and all media to distribute information and conduct meetings and training sessions to maximize the reach, effectiveness, and timeliness of communications, cost effectively – From the tried and true to new and innovative.  So, what works?

If done right, most anything, everything – so long as it is accessible by the correct audience. 

Let’s start with video and, from there, address other media and methods to ensure communications are available to all employees - somehow.  A company should have:

An enterprise-wide video communications channel to provide live executive and corporate information and distance learning

    • It could be via the Internet or a private network (terrestrial or satellite) – The public and/or private Cloud.
    • Also, it should provide the live content and other packaged videos for on-demand viewing.
    • It should reach employees where they work, meet and gather – anywhere that they consume information.

A company-wide portal that provides access to videos and other media.

A digital signage network - In today’s business environment, digital display screens in key viewing areas throughout the company are as standard as wall fixtures and furniture.  Screens are in common areas as well as break rooms.

A studio and production center to originate live meetings and events and produce packaged messages and training content. 

Instructor-led (mini) studio or stations to conduct live interactive training – distance learning.

Telepresence/video teleconference (VTC) rooms and systems for meetings and conferences.  They can perform as origination studios for content to be distributed to other delivery channels (see above).

It is now standard for meeting rooms, conference rooms, auditoriums and training rooms to have HD (high definition) display screens and projectors.  The rooms should be equipped to display content from all current media formats and sources, as well as legacy media that is still embraced throughout the company.  This includes audio, print, graphics, images, and, of course video.

Also, it is common for these rooms perform as origination points for live meetings or sessions.  The rooms may include VTC capabilities and/or an audio/visual system. If not, the presenters and instructors can use a fixed or personal PC/MAC (camera ready), mobile device or smart phone. 

When today’s social and visually centric society is combined with affordable devices (technology), this puts the power of communications in the hands of virtually every employee - Where individuals create, share and view content, using all media, e.g.: video, audio, text, graphics and infographics.  By embracing the use of commercially available apps and devices, along with enterprise infrastructure and tools, companies can extend the reach of their communication capabilities (digital touch points) to employees anytime, anywhere.

Think about it, virtually every employee can be notified of, or provided, critical content or program information using email, text, calendars, Facebook, Twitter, etc. by sharing links to upcoming meetings, documents or packaged videos for on demand viewing. They can find critical and timely information via the company portal or the digital signage system.  The portal should feature a robust program guide, making all information and content readily available and easily accessible to employees company wide.

The digital signage system should provide brief messages and event updates and direct viewers to specific content sources, including links and sites via the company portal.

Even basic email can play a significant role in driving employees to video content.  According to Experian Marketing Services, including the word “video” in an email subject line increases click-thru rates by 7-13%.  Also, Experian reports that including a video in an email increased the email’s conversion rate by an average of 21% over the use of a static image alone.[1]

On the flip-side, live meetings and video content can direct employees to other media and sources of information, e.g.:  PDFs of corporate policies and updates, sales presentations and training materials that are available via the company portal.

Summary

Having the capability to communicate is critical. However, the longtime adage that “content is king” still rules.  It is critical that content is timely and relevant.  If it is, with today’s technology and capabilities, employees will find it.  At least, they will find what interests them.

To ensure widespread viewing, companies must have a system to schedule and deliver the content and a process that notifies employees that content is or will be available, and where.  This involves the use of a variety of media.

The end objective is to make all information and content readily available and easily accessible to all employees.

 

Contributor: Randy Palubiak, President, Enliten Management Group