November 19, 2018
Audience Engagement

Let Your Internal Communications Go Viral

Employee Engagement and Company Culture Go Hand-in-Hand

Here’s the honest truth: There are plenty of ways to do digital signage wrong. And we’re not just talking about using Comic Sans. (Although that’s obviously a sin.)

So how does a company figure out what internal comms content best resonates with its employees? Well, at Highwoods, the team started with a survey, which shed some much-needed light.

They quickly learned that employees wanted to know more about what other divisions, other people like them, were doing on a day-to-day basis. With that in mind, an idea was born.

Fun Content Improves Employee Engagement and Company Culture

Meet the little blue man.

Vicki explained to us that every year, Highwood’s CEO goes on a “road show,” visiting each division to deliver a “State of Us.” The three-hour meeting is a highlight of the year -- everybody loves attending and feeling that real sense of community.

Armed with the knowledge that employees wanted to know more about each other on a personal level, the marketing team debuted the “little blue man,” a small figurine inspired by Ed’s annual road show.

Each employee got their own and was encouraged to snap photos of the lil guy out and about. People brought their little blue man on travels across the globe -- their own “road shows,” if you will -- and submitted their pics to be featured on the daily electronic newsletter displayed in each office.

The marketing team not only broadcast the photos but also added creative copy, like fun facts about Scotland when the little blue man made a trip over to Edinburgh.

Individual employees were able to contribute to the campaign, which proved that highly engaged team members are simple the ones who have a change to get involved.

An Internal Communication Strategy with Long-Term Employee Engagement

For anyone in a corporate environment, the day-to-day grind can really become stale. Even when you love your job, things get repetitive. You’re itching for something new, anything new, yet the workday keeps coming up short. In turn, it leads to job dissatisfaction and company-wide low morale.

It’s an issue that has plagued businesses for a long, long time, and it feels unsolvable. But when the marketing team at Highwoods Properties developed one of their best internal communication strategies to date, they didn’t realize they were inadvertently finding a solution to this very dilemma.

The employee engagement concept was, in short, awesome. We’ll let Vicki explain it in her own words: “We asked every division to create a video pretending you’re pitching Jeff Bezos from Amazon -- what would you say about your division?” The assignment was simple, but packed with options.

‍Pandora’s Boxes Lift the Lid to Employee Creativity

In order to help the employees create their videos, each division was sent a box of filmmaking tools like microphones and clapboards. But then... another box arrived and the real fun began.

The second box is what pushed this project over the edge. It included an assortment of completely unexpected items, from a trucker cap to a full-sized adult dinosaur costume. The rule? Each internal team of employees had to incorporate all of these items, bizarre as they may be, into their pitch video.

Employees in all divisions of the company absolutely loved the challenge. Their submissions were completed in totally different ways, showing off the individual personalities of their smaller groups as well as the corporate culture of Highwoods as a whole.

Employee-Made Content is Best Because No One Tires of Seeing Themselves

The final products were given a moment of glory; as each video received its own big-screen debut on Highwoods’ digital signage throughout their numerous facilities.

It wasn’t just a fun activity for a few days. The project invigorated employee morale, reaffirmed a sense of community, and provided home-grown content that the whole company could enjoy for weeks and months to come.

These videos will eventually be taken down to make room for other content, but the marketing team knows they can rebroadcast them anytime the company needs a moral boost.

The Tool for Internal Engagement

Internal digital signage is targeted specifically for employees. Most commonly installed in lounges/break rooms, hallways, conference areas, and cafeterias. Any place that employees typically frequent throughout the week is perfect for digital signage.

Customer or partner facing messaging can be displayed in office lobbies to serve as a public relations or marketing tool. Visitors can view content customized for public consumption, such as image-enhancing company news, company achievements, and messages from business executives.

Companies use digital signage as a motivational tool to keep employees on-task. Department managers display the latest sales numbers and approaching deadlines to remind everyone of their responsibilities.

The screens also recognize employees who have gone above and beyond by reporting their achievements. Anything that was once worthy of an email or memo can now be displayed via the screens. Announce upcoming events, milestones, and media coverage.

To see how Highwoods Properties uses digital signage to improve their internal communication techniques, watch Episode One of our Business Impact Workshop.

Effective Communications Lead to Positive Corporate Culture

Not every idea is going to resonate with employees. It really is a process of thinking creatively and extensively about what might work -- and then giving those ideas a fair shot.

Sometimes a concept takes a few days (or even longer) to gain steam and make an impact: The “little blue man” took time to grow, develop and ultimately rock.

But once you do have an idea that’s gaining traction, that’s when it’s time to double down and push the envelope. Why is it working? What about it is so compelling? How do we keep up the employee engagement?

We’ve found that a 30-70 split -- 30% company-oriented communications, 70% more evergreen or newsy content -- is the magic ratio for maximum engagement. What you choose to do with that 30% can be incredible.

At Industry Weapon, we’ve developed so many types of digital content, so in some ways, we’ve seen it all. But that said, we’re constantly surprised and impressed by our customers’ awesomely unique ideas.

The next “little blue man”-caliber idea is just around your work environment corner. If your company is battling high turnover, deploy our employee retention program and save money.

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