I like to think of myself as the Steve Jobs of Internal Communication. While that might be a stretch, I do believe there is a lot we can learn from Apple when it comes to communicating with employees. One of the primary reasons Apple is so successful is because they focus on simplicity. They sell only a handful of products, and put all of their effort into making sure those products are amazing. As well, Apple products all have a beautiful aesthetic that comes from clean and sophisticated design. Finally, the user interface and software are easy to use — because they are not complicated.
So why do I believe that simplicity is important for employee communication?
- Save time – your employees are busy. By streamlining your communication, your employees might actually take the time to read it. Do you send out too many messages and like the boy who cried wolf, eventually no one pays attention? Or maybe the information you are sending out isn’t clear, forcing your employees to take more time than they should trying to figure out what you are trying to say?
- Save money – according to research firm Basex, unnecessary interruptions from things like email and instant messaging cost the U.S. economy $650 billion in lost productivity. Reducing the ‘noise’ and increasing the clarity of your communications will limit unnecessary distractions while keeping your employees informed, involved and engaged.
- Stand out – like Apple, if you focus on doing a few things really well, your employee communication can really stand out. If you put time and effort into the strategy behind your messages, then your communication will get the attention it deserves.
Here are five ways you can keep it simple:
- Laser-like focus: Develop a strategy that keeps you focused on specific goals. Everything you do should be aligned with specific and measurable outcomes.
- Streamline your channels: You don’t need twenty different ways to reach your employees. Use a few highly effective channels and make them awesome.
- Don’t overwhelm: The human brain has its limits. Simplicity and clarity are two ways to decrease the cognitive load on your employees while increasing understanding.
- Edit: Don’t use five paragraphs, with ten run-on sentences filled with complicated words when you can say the same thing in a few short sentences using simple words. The power of a well written message is highly underrated. Good writing makes your information easier to read, adds clarity and increases the chances that your audience will remember what you said.
- Discipline: Achieving simplicity is much harder than most people think. It took amazing leadership from Steve Jobs and a very disciplined approach to become one of the world’s most powerful brands. Always consider your audience, make the extra effort to streamline and edit, or perhaps use a designer to bring your words visual clarity.
When designing and delivering information for your employees, keep-it-simple and you will get better results while saving everyone a lot of time and money.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery
If you are struggling to keep it simple, give us a call. We can help.
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