How to Get Corporate Employees to Stand in Line for Your Internal Announcement

Lessons Learned From an Award-Winning Campaign

The marks of a successful employee communications campaign usually include milestones like leadership buy-in, program sign-ups, intranet traffic, improved morale and even attendance at events. Fahlgren Mortine was recently able to help a client achieve all of the typical measures of employee communications success, and much more. By the end of the program, employees lined up through the building to attend our red carpet event—all without knowing what it was for.

How did we do it? Check out our seven lessons learned from our PRSA Silver Anvil-winning campaign.

1. Create an air of mystery.

With executive buy-in, our planning early on focused on developing a series of themed tease events. These teases got the employees thinking about our overall theme without giving anything away about our announcement. The fact that this was so different than typical PowerPoint, bullets-driven communications was key to its success.

2. Pay off the suspense.

By creating mystery, we knew we needed to pay it off in a big way. We designed an announcement event that was grand enough both in design and content to make employees excited to be part of it. Early event attendees helped drive further attendance (and the long line) by texting back to their co-workers that they shouldn’t miss this event.

3. Go outside normal communications channels.

In a world of email, we decided to go back to basics, using posters and cafeteria booths to share our message. We also leveraged all possible employee touch points, putting signs in the yard, flags on the driveway and even floating items in the company pond.

4. Enlist help from all corners.

The core communications team relied on assistance from facilities and maintenance, people who are great to tap into due to their extensive knowledge of the facility. They also like to be “in the know” and were great allies when we proposed non-traditional ideas.

5. Make an effort to include everyone.

Since this was a facility that included a mix of white collar and manufacturing, we made extra effort to design communications options that fit each audience, including extra posters and signs at plant entrances

6. Allow people to actively participate.

We built participation milestones into the project to ensure we were reaching employees. Simple things like letting people register to win a prize or wear their favorite team jersey, helped employees join in the fun of the tease events and helped us gauge whether the message was getting through.

7. Don’t underestimate your own success.

No event is perfect and our planning team’s key error was underestimating the success of our own event, to the tune of inviting twice as many people as the room would hold. We recovered by replicating the event for a second round of attendees, which included a speech from the CEO who was happy to repeat.

Not every employee communications program can include floating icebergs in the company pond or a 7- foot-wide cake (like ours did), but your program can include elements that surprise and engage employees while branching outside traditional communications channels.

How are you engaging and surprising employees with your communications programs? Let us know in the comments.

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