If you’ve spent years poring over your words trying to remove any possibility of ambiguity, you know “not open to interpretation” is practically an unreachable goal. And the age of 140 characters and #hashtags makes the impossible even more difficult. So, how do u get ur point across clearly? Here are a few ideas.
Recognize that writing and communicating are different
These are both very important skills to bring to bear; one results in technically accurate prose while the other encourages engagement. Employees consume information in bite size pieces, so your focus should be on brief, technically accurate, content. Consider three levels of content that you want to produce —the executive teaser (the menu), the at-a-glance essentials (the snack) and the extended policy-type exposition (the meal). The former is aimed at engaging the user, and the latter makes sure the approved and compliant information is readily available.
Split content creation and content management
My own creative skills end at using different sized fonts for emphasis. It takes me longer to get my desired fonts displaying correctly in a shaded table than it does for me to write an entire page of information. One option is to use a couple of basic templates outside your HR Portal or Intranet for content creation, and then hand that off to someone for whom content management is second nature.
This might even be a type of shared service across HR. The split between content creation and content management is great for program and event content, while for more straightforward items such as news articles, announcements or manager bulletins, the content creator can also be the content manager. A combination of distributed and centralized content creation and content management results in an accurate, timely, and engaging online experience.
Embrace the ability to personalize the experience
Your Intranet or HR Portal can likely accommodate targeted content by country, business unit or location. This provides a level of localized content for sure, but consider going well beyond this level of personalization. Think about your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and how it may differ from audience to audience. Do you have great college savings and financial education programs? Target such information to those who have dependent children on file. Do you have employees who customarily move between countries? Allow these employees to see benefits in one country compared to another. Is career progression part of your EVP for certain groups? Be sure to promote stories and examples to the right population segments to bring his part of your EVP alive.
Sustain engagement with a tiered governance model
A whizbang employee experience is only as effective as the relevancy and accessibility of content. Be thoughtful about the use of real estate on a portal homepage. If you truly desire a single point of entry, then configure emails and communication from various transactional systems and partner sites to point to that portal. Use statistics from relevant service centers to understand which employee inquiries are being handled, massage your homepage and content to be more readily available and measure the impact of your effort next month.
Define an annual calendar and schedule content publication in advance, making sure there’s always something timely and relevant to draw the user into a trust relationship with the portal. You can designate some to own program content, some to manage news and articles, and others to focus on ease of access to downstream partners and systems to make that single point of entry is realistic and a value-add.
The old adage of “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them” still holds. It’s just the medium and the software that are different.
Chris Keys has focused for over 20 years on bringing practical, creative solutions to clients through the use of Willis Towers Watson HR Software. Chris has used technology across the world and across the HR enterprise to impact engagement, merger and acquisition activity, HR transformation and business process design, benefits administration, employee support, and shared services. In his current role, Chris is responsible for consistent growth and application of Willis Towers Watson HR Portal Software.