Not all internal messages need to be segmented, but when it comes to the big stuff, you should use a slightly different approach and timing for each audience within your organization.
A common mistake that can be made in internal communications is not respecting your own hierarchy. Now I am not one for an overly hieratical organization, but in some businesses its necessary and for those same reasons, you need to communicate through the hierarchy – don’t skip levels! More often than not, middle management gets missed when it comes to receiving tailored information; however these are the very same people we rely on to distribute important information.
Here are some tips on audience segmentation:
1. Segment your audience
For more of you, the departments and levels within your company will usually provide this. When it comes to a change in your organization, think about how it will affect different groups. Find the similarities between these groups, and each will become your communication segment.
Determine how you plan on distributing the information to every segment. The information you are communicating and your organizational structure will help determine this. Remember that big changes should have a more personal touch! [Blog: When Face-to-Face communication is needed]
Looking at your segments, consider the timing of communications. The information you are releasing will more than likely shape your communication calendar. When cascading information through team meetings, ensure that you give managers enough time to digest and have questions answered, before you expect them to pass the information on.
4. Tailor the message
While everyone will want to know the big picture, they will also want to know how changes will directly effect their day-to-day work life. Its about giving employees the “next up information,” don’t just leave them hanging with the announcement.
5. Arm your team
Ensure that everyone you are relying on in the distribution of your message is either armed with the information to answer questions, or knows who and where to go to answer any questions employees may have.
When you move away from the blanket communication approach, you create more engagement and employee buy in around company wide changes. Don’t underestimate the power of segmented communication and the role it plays in keeping employees informed and happy.