strategic communications

Best practice communications: Communicating health benefits year-round (Part 1)

Open enrollment communications used to happen annually. Not any longer. Changes to health care have turned benefits communications into year-round campaigns with heavy education and training components.


In addition to health benefits enrollment communications that traditionally happen between September and November, there are now good reasons to plan separate but related campaigns in December/January, in March/April, and in May/June.

Drowning in randomness

There is a well-known photo of Lego people pushing a cart with square wheels. An observer stands to one side holding a set of round ones, while his laboring peers respond, “No thanks. We are too busy.”


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a veteran trader and thoughtful essayist. In his book, Fooled by Randomness, he observes that, “Trading forces someone to think hard; those who merely work hard generally lose their focus and intellectual energy. In addition, they end up drowning in randomness [in ways that]… draw people to focus on noise rather than the signal.”



Three ways employee communications can be more strategic

Most groups want to be strategic, but we often make assumptions about what that might look like. I addressed the topic of strategic communications at a high level in one of my recent posts.


This time, I want to be more specific about the tactics of strategy. What can employee communications specifically do to be more strategic, support change and help drive better business outcomes?


Three ways to help employees accept the next big change

Lack of employee acceptance is a main reason for the failure of many company initiatives. Leaders can generate a lot of electricity at the corporate power plant, but if the “power lines” to employees are broken, your energy will not translate to action or results.


What good is a brilliant strategy that never comes to fruition? What is the real cost of failed or forced implementations in terms of employee morale and institutional inertia when the next big initiative comes around?


Tactical and strategic employee communications

Successful communicators evaluate and synthesize company communications so that employees trust the messages they are hearing, have shared purpose and confidence in what they need to do and feel progress toward clear goals.


If you can imagine the company that attains to these ideals in their workforce — mutual trust, shared purpose, clarity of prioritized goals, confidence in action — then you can see the full strategic potential in your communication function.


So how does that translate to the actions and behaviors of communicators? What does it look like in the workplace?


What does strategic communications mean? From bricks to cathedrals

There’s an old story about the building of a cathedral. The patron who has largely funded construction has asked for a tour of the building site, and the architect and foreman gladly oblige her.


On the appointed day, she arrives to be greeted by the pair, who promptly take her to where the work is being done. They encounter three brick masons over the course of the day, and the patron is greatly struck by the range of their attitudes and the quality of their work.