At a recent CharityComms special interest group for Internal Comms, the group discussed how to overcome the challenge of reaching those individuals and groups that are difficult to engage within an organisation.
Hard to reach groups vary from home-workers, volunteers, senior leadership team, those not on email, part-time workers, and those who do not work at a desk or in a single location.
There was a lot of discussion at the meeting about approaches to reaching these groups and here are some tried and tested tips:
Often when an organisation’s workforce is dispersed across a wide area and managed regionally or locally people may be engaged locally but not with the wider organisational issues. In this instance many found that providing a local comms framework was a successful way to engage audiences. Empower regional managers and allow them the freedom to be flexible and take control of their comms with “tools not rules”.
Make messages relevant to a region or group with a more tailored approach. This also applies to style and format of messages. One organisation found that a hard to reach group all read magazines in the staff room so emulated the style of this for their internal comms pieces.
Use a range of methods to engage people. Some found that videos are increasingly helpful to ensure that home and remote workers are included in staff briefings. These need not be expensive and some will use a smartphone camera for this.
Other methods of engaging with hard to reach groups mentioned were Twitter and Facebook, Yammer, blogs on the intranet, and webinars.
Sometimes digital methods will not apply to certain groups and it was recognised that something as simple as a face to face conversation can often be extremely powerful. Other non-digital methods suggested were hot desks, printed newsletters sent to home addresses, networking events at staff conferences, and even posters on the back of the toilet door!
Understand that not all staff or volunteers need to, or want to know everything that is happening at an organisation and ask yourself whether the message you are sending is a ‘need to know’ or ‘nice to know’.
Recognise that there will always be groups that are hard to reach. Using a number of platforms, styles, and methods will increase the likelihood of engaging them. Measure success and keep trying.