What Technology Are You Using?

What system do you use to send mass messaging to your employees? If you’re like most organizations, you probably use email. According to The Internal Communication and Technology Survey of 500 respondents from SMB to global enterprises, 68 percent communicate via email with at least 80 percent of their employees, mostly for events, pulse surveys, leadership communications, employee newsletters, change communications, and HR/rewards/pension communications. Many also utilize their company intranet site, often sending an email to direct employees to the intranet site.

While these technologies can be effective, they also have plenty of drawbacks. The survey  lends us some insight into the types of challenges internal communication leaders face with email:

  • 86% believe they need to minimize information overload and create personalized communications
  • 62% struggle to track delivery and readership metrics
  • 51% are challenged to segment their audience for content targeting
  • 51% can’t capture interactive feedback through comments

Email may be quick to send, but it isn’t always quick to read and many employees simply ignore them. Some research finds fewer than half of employees open internal communication emails. Another study puts the open rate at 66 percent for all internal communications emails. Either way, emails are clearly missing a large portion of their audience.

5 Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Mass Communication System

Email and intranet sites may work for some, but if they are missing any, are they really effective? How can you tell if your organization needs a better mass communication system? We’ll give you five red flags it’s time for an upgrade.

1. Your messages aren’t being received by everyone in your intended audience.

No matter how well crafted your employee messaging may be, it has little value if there are employees who never receive or open it. Emails are often missed or unread, mostly because we simply get too many of them to open them all. Even when we have every intention of going back to that email and reading it when we have the time, we often forget or the email gets buried among the dozens, if not hundreds of other incoming emails.

Related: How to Get Workers to Listen to Employee Communications

A dedicated mass communication system ensures every employee receives the message. The key is to use the system to send the messages across multiple channels or the channels you know your employees are most likely to use. Being able to customize your channel preference per employee, department, location, or job function can make all of the difference.

Remote or lone workers may not have access to a computer. They may be in a location without internet service. A solid mass notification system will enable users to send messages via mobile push notifications, texts, phone, or custom devices. Be sure you can reach all of your audience so no employee is ever left in the dark.

Related: Are You Doing Enough to Keep Your Lone Workers Safe?

2. Employees are receiving untimely information.

Internal communications are frequently time sensitive. They may include event details, emergency alerts, benefit deadlines, new product or service information, and monthly corporate newsletters with lots of important details. If employees receive the information late, whether it’s because they didn’t receive the initial message or it was buried in other emails, it can have a ripple effect – from the employee, to those who manage the event, benefits and other areas from where the message came.

The only way to ensure your audience is receiving the messages at the right time is to leverage a mass notification system. Using this modern technology, communicators can not only send messages quickly, but they can identify which messages weren’t received or opened. No employee should ever say, “I didn’t get the message.”

3. You have no way of communicating with offline employees.

Email may work okay for those employees who are actively engaged with email, but what about the employees who are traveling, working remotely, or aren’t connected? Those employees need the messages, too, especially if they are emergency notifications.

Even with the obvious shortfalls of email, 83 percent of companies say they have not yet implemented a technology solution to communicate digitally with offline employees. This is not only negligent but can put offline employees in real danger.

An emergency notification system ensures messages can be sent across multiple channels individually or simultaneously – per employee. Such multi-modal capabilities are a good investment into the safety and peace of mind of every employee.

4. You have no way to segment your population.

Not every message is intended for every employee. You can set up distribution lists in your email service, but what if an employee leaves, comes on board, or moves departments? Are you consistent in keeping up with all of these changes? Can you easily segment by who is on the clock, in the event you have shift workers? Even if you have these capabilities, it isn’t very easy or fast.

One of the biggest problems with internal communications is that they are ignored. The more irrelevant messaging you send out, the less likely any will be read. It’s important to use your communication opportunities wisely and this means not wasting anyone’s time with messages that don’t apply.

A mass communication system makes segmenting your audience simple and quick. You should be able to establish parameters and filter your audience by many characteristics, including date, location, department, job function, office or branch, and any other customized segmentation you need. Only the right people should get the messaging that’s right for them.

In the case of an emergency, every second counts. The less time you spend creating your distribution list, the faster your alerts get to their intended audience. Within a couple of clicks, you should be able to select the list you need and send the message on whichever channel(s) necessary.

5. You want to improve and measure your communication effectiveness.

Internal communications is an operating expense. It costs money to pay employees to develop and send the communications, along with any software costs to enable their transmission. Just as with any IT investment, measuring ROI is an important KPI, yet as many as 74 percent of internal communication professionals are unable to demonstrate ROI for their messages.

With email, intranet communications, and most other channels, there is little companies can do to determine whether their messages are resonating. They simply put the messages out there and hope they are received, opened, and acted upon.

Related: Employee Engagement Starts with Communication

A mass communication system, however, is different. It enables internal communications to be measured per message, per channel, per date and even per employee. Looking at hard data, communicators can track each message – not just which messages were sent, but who received them, when they were opened (or not). Surveys can also be sent across channels to gauge employee perception of these messages. Using analytics and survey results, companies can continually improve their communications.

No matter what mass notification system you use, it’s worth the time and effort to review its capabilities to determine if it is meeting the needs of every employee. Email is not sufficient. Intranet sites don’t always work. As much as 79 percent of organizations say that internal communications is a key success factor. If you’re wanting to improve internal communications, begin with the technology necessary to support it.