October 12, 2018
Digital Signage Strategy

How to Solve Department Miscommunication with Digital Signage

Managing Company-wide Communication is Difficult

In the corporate environment, the client comes first. This often leaves office communication efforts as an afterthought. Managers and directors are left buzzing around, thinking of the best strategies to please the investors. 

And the rest of the office has to wait for information to trickle down to them via word of mouth, emails, or flyers.  Companies must reevaluate how to streamline office communication.

If you work in an office, these stats from Atlassian won’t come as a surprise: Most employees are attending 62 meetings a month. If each meeting is an hour long, half of those meetings are deemed ‘unproductive.’ This results in 37 billion dollars of annual salary wages being misspent on unnecessary meetings. 

The waste doesn’t stop there. Most employees receive up to 304 business emails on average each week. The annual productivity cost of these poorly written communications, per employee, is $2100-4100 dollars.

Meetings just repeat the same information that has been circulation over emails for the past few days. How can companies remedy this cycle? By implementing a solution that reaches all audiences in a simple, visually engaging manner. 

How to Centrally Manage Employee Communication Across All Locations

We’re about to say something that anyone who’s planned a wedding already knows: It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with 25 people or 250. Things are gonna get complicated.

Your corporate communications hopefully don’t result in tears over seating arrangements. But without the right infrastructure -- well, we won’t say tears will fall, but there may be heads banging against keyboards.

It’s pretty easy to figure out why a big multi-branch company would have a hard time effectively communicating with each and every employee: Staffers are spread out between departments, offices, cities, even countries.

And yet, on the other end of the spectrum, leaner teams often have just as many internal comms challenges as their larger counterparts. Without effective internal communication, day to day employee work tasks can quickly become a waste of time and money.
So, you’ve got hundreds of employees working, scattered across the globe. Wouldn’t it be awesome to gather everyone together, every last staffer from every last department, for an all-hands meeting? 

Let’s be real -- it’s not happening. Even at Industry Weapon, where our employees are situated in one office, it’s still hard to get everyone in one room at one time. And we pride ourselves on open communication practices. 

Yet, a lot of companies are made up of part time and contracted positions and may not be included in the company culture happenings. This exclusion is not by design, but rather because these employees aren’t granted access to the forms of communication that cover meeting invites. 

Employees feel less motivated when they’re left out of inter-departmental meetings. For one thing, the meeting topics usually revolve around the big picture vision for the company. To miss this mean to miss out on collaborative conversations. 

Also, the employee experience takes a nosedive when one feels excluded. It’s like sitting at the kids table for a family holiday when your similarly aged cousins are with the adults. It doesn’t take a communication specialist to understand that these scenarios need to be avoided. 

How To Engage Remote Teams 

Vicki Norris, the Director of Marketing at Highwoods Properties, knows that her CEO, Edward Fritsch, would love to host one of those mythical all-hands meetings. 

But as she put it: “With 450 employees, never gonna happen. Not gonna happen once a year, every five years … we can’t shut down and bring everyone to one location.” 

But Ed had, as Vicki put it, a vision. And who are we to deny Ed his vision? Here’s how Highwoods and Industry Weapon teamed up to make it happen.

Her team had to come up with an internal communication strategy that could feel as authentic as a face to face interaction, but wouldn’t be overly formal and intimidating. To have an employee engage with a program sent out by the communications department, it had to be relevant and digital.

With flopped attempts behind them, Highwoods was ready to try an innovative, engaging new employee communication solution. Enter digital signage. This broadcast medium attracts staff of all departments with fun, socially relevant content.  

The marketing team pinpointed the most optimal communal spots throughout each office to install digital signage, on which they display their daily electronic newsletter. In between, employee communications like the internal newsletter and safety messages are displayed on the screens.

What employees like even more than the digital signage itself is the ability to pop onto the intranet and view anything they missed. If you catch just the end of a story, you can pull the same content up on your own computer to get the whole message.

This method of employee communication is more effective than blasting the newsletter via email or print once and hoping each person reads all the important announcements.

Is it possible to round up hundreds of employees for one big, beautiful meeting? Maybe not, but with digital signage, you can create that cohesive all-hands-on-deck feeling. 

Let’s make the vision a reality. 

[See how Highwoods Properties makes employee communication a year round conversation in episode one of our Business Impact Workshops.]

How to Get Employees to Notice Your Internal Communication

Not long ago, Vicki Norris was responsible for distributing employee communications to 70 team members. But when she became Director of Marketing for Highwoods Properties, her audience multiplied nearly seven times. This meant she had to share information with a whopping 470 employees.

To be honest, when we sat down with Vicki and other members of Highwoods' marketing team, we expected to hear that when her audience got so much bigger, her corporate comms strategy went from manageable to nightmarish.

Instead, Vicki revealed that it actually became easier to map out a plan. Why? Because the infrastructure was already in place.

Suddenly, instead of two or three people attempting to cobble together a decent strategy (while juggling tons of other stuff on their plates), there was a whole department tasked with handling a responsibility that affects every last employee.

So the question became, okay -- now that we have the bandwidth to do this, how do we really take advantage of it?

Having a designated department to procure company news was awesome, but Vicki still needed a way to share the messaging so that it wouldn’t be ignored. Email is a middle management tool and typically is seen as a delegation medium that employees try to avoid.

External and internal distractions dwell in their inbox, just as their personal phones are the gateway to social media black hole. Employees feel company culture is negatively impacted when all communications are received via email, anyway.  

Evolving with New Employee Communication Tools

Before figuring out the right internal communication and engagement strategy, most companies go through a few clunkers. The most common tried-and-failed employee communication strategies are print and email.

In years past, these were the only options. And they worked! But times have changed, and today, you’d be hard-pressed to fascinate an employee with a flier on a bulletin board. Not to mention that fliers aren’t eco-friendly and make offices look dated. (Can you tell we really don’t love fliers?)

So that leads us to email. Look, email is critical for day-to-day employee communication -- there’s no doubt about it. But employees are drowning in emails and have to mentally prioritize which ones actually deserve their full attention. 

As Highwoods and countless other companies have found, internal communications rarely make the cut. So what other employee communication tools are left in the box? Mobile apps? Social media posts?

The Best Employee Engagement Tool is Digital Signage

When Industry Weapon entered the picture, we were met with a team already brimming with cool ideas and creativity. We have the tools to make lofty ideas for internal comms a reality. And since we’ve worked with groups large and small, we know how to maximize the impact of a communications team of any size. 

We know that engaging, informing, and motivating employees isn’t a one size fits all. But we do know that digital signage is a very effective internal communication tool for marketing departments and corporate comm teams, alike.

Employees are not always sitting at their desks. Digital signage increases employee engagement by simply acting as a digital medium that reached audiences in their most vulnerable times (i.e. in the breakroom, outside of meeting rooms, in the elevator).

It reinforces corporate culture by broadcasting consistent messages from the company’s visionary parties. It also has the ability to turn employees into brand ambassadors by displaying the media that keeps morale sky high. Nothing makes a faster, positive bond than an inside joke- am I right?

For Highwoods, the internal communications team was able to get the tool they needed to build a stronger corporation from the inside out. 

[See how Highwoods Properties makes employee communication a year round conversation in episode one of our Business Impact Workshops.]


Digital Signage Facilitates Office Communication

As companies grow in size, their office communication strategies must also evolve. Email isn’t always the answer- sensitive filters can toss the wrong messages into the wrong bins. 

Digital signage is the best way to facilitate communication within an organization. It saves companies time, effort, and money. It’s the most effective way to communicate to multiple endpoints by strategically targeting audiences with relevant, real time information. 

Whether your audience is consciously or unconsciously viewing your screens, messaging will be stickier and lead to increased awareness. 30 days after viewing a digital sign, 47% of audiences retained information received.

Intriguing employees with content relevant to their daily tasks is a proven way to get everyone on track. Internal signs distribute timely information, make operations more efficient, and transmit emergency alerts. They can also showcase daily agenda, executive messaging, and motivational content to boost morale.

External signs are perfect for product promotion, acknowledging achievement, and creating overall brand awareness. Whichever office communication you seek to display, there is no doubt that digital signage has a solution for you.  

[Make internal communications the first step in your digital transformation. Grab a copy of our ebook: Magnify Your Internal Communications]