Getting the Message Across

A fellow employee at a company I used to work for once asked me what I thought about management’s new restructuring concept. Unfortunately I hadn’t heard that the company had published that information. They had put it on their intranet. I’d spent happier times at the dentist than logged in on their intranet.

The fact of the matter was my job at the time entailed reading a lot (of rubbish) the whole day long, as well as keeping abreast of what was going on in print media as well as online. That and the fact that I had at home a wall full of books, most of which I wanted to read but didn’t have time to, made poring over the company’s text-heavy intranet (and in German!) less of the delight that it should have been.

If this sounds at all familiar, recently came to the rescue with a couple of interesting articles.

One by Lindsey Miller deals with giving “treats” to employees to entice them to the intranet. She talks about companies using fun easily digestible head candy such as contests, polls and employee-to-employee classifieds as a lure to the intranet.

So while the employees are, say, figuring out which part of the colleague bio is true and which is fiction in order to win the 10-euro coupon for EuroDisney, they might also bother to glance at the bone-dry section on corporate strategy.

The other article by Shel Holtz talks about the tried-and-true method of making dull information accessible – print.

You want to tell me that the deadline for employee benefits enrollment is coming? Don’t bury it in the intranet, and don’t dare send me yet another email. Stick it on a bulletin board, a poster, or a table-tent card. Heck, even a sign in the men’s toilet will do. Any place where I’ll actually see it.

It seems to me, both articles boil down to the same thing – keep the message and the medium simple. The more complex the two things are, the harder you’re going to have work to get people to look at the stuff.