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Is anyone listening when you speak?

May 2, 2019

3 ways to break through the information overload

Marketers and communications professionals are surgical in how they choose, tailor, and time both content and delivery. Whether engaging external or internal customers, it’s critical now more than ever to apply the same rigor used in segmentation strategies to break through the noise and reach your employees.

Here are a few tactical things you can do to get started:

1. Know who you’re talking to – The first step is to understand your audience. Remember that your readers and listeners are filtering your message through their interests, beliefs, and attitudes. Think through the demographics and composition of the group and take a moment to walk in their shoes. Let this inform how you adapt your message to maximize its reach and impact.

Is the purpose of your message to inform or persuade? Think about collective experiences the organization has recently undergone (e.g., a new operating model, M&A activity, etc.) to evaluate how ready they are to hear your message. This is where “the thought counts.”

2. Know how to reach them – Often, your delivery channel is just as important as the delivery. Don’t fall into the trap of “the way we’ve always done it.” Determine whether your message is best served via email, team scrums, status reports, townhalls, or internal collaboration tools, such as Slack or Workplace. You can also harness the power of Organizational Network Analysis to analyze the informal networks that exist within your organization and identify the influencers who can engage to help share your message. Remember that influencers are not necessarily the most titled individuals within your organization.

Then, be creative about how you package your content for each respective channel; reach into your communications toolbox to dress up your message and increase its reach. Your tools might be humor, click-bait headlines, images, videos, infographics, internal memes, contests, or other eye-catching, thumb-scroll-stopping ideas. Try something unconventional!

One organization we worked with was undergoing a large-scale business transformation, and its employees were not engaged with the traditional communications from the leadership team. So the team revamped the entire communications approach: They created an animated video series to provide specific information to different business units about what was coming and the change impacts; they engaged employees in contests and gave out prizes to the winners; and they created communication reels that were shown on video screens throughout the offices. Following the revamp, the team received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback about the animated videos from across the entire organization. This innovative approach elevated communications and resonated with employees at all levels, across continents and cultures.

3. Find their heartstrings – Remember that your message needs to reach your employee audience both collectively and individually. Your ability to answer the age-old “What’s in it for me?” question is critical to establishing connection. Ditch the corporate jargon and communicate your call-to-action with vision, clarity, and purpose. Use your passion, courageous vulnerability, stories, or anecdotes to connect with your employees on a human level.

A very senior Deloitte leader uses her Instagram following to bring the organization’s desired culture and strategy to life with attention-grabbing images, captions, and creative hashtags. Her Instagram account gives professionals the opportunity to engage with her directly in a different environment. This type of interaction can result in highly engaged employees who feel like they can trust their leaders.

Try these suggestions and make up some of your own to stay top of mind with your employees in an environment of constant disruption. An adaptable and forward-thinking employee engagement strategy is essential for an organization to thrive. Be willing to break the mold!

Eileen Fernandes is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice and the Deloitte Consulting Bay Area managing principal. She advises clients on the people implications of large-scale business transformation and mergers and acquisitions.

Elizabeth Lascaze is a manager in the Human Capital Organization Transformation practice, where she focuses on strategic change in large-scale M&A deals within the tech sector. Her functional experience includes PMO, global change and communications, and Day 1 readiness.

Danielle John is a senior consultant in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she specializes in change management and communications for public sector clients.

Rebecca Perez is a business analyst in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, with experience in change management, communications, and training.


1Email statistics report: 2015–2019, The Radicati Group, Inc. https://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Statistics-Report-2015-2019-Executive-Summary.pdf.
2 Josh James, “Data never sleeps 6.0,” Domo, June 5, 2018, https://www.domo.com/blog/data-never-sleeps-6/.
3 Jim Harter, “Employee engagement on the rise in the U.S.,” Gallup, August 28, 2018, https://news.gallup.com/poll/241649/employee-engagement-rise.aspx

Originally published at Capital H blog