How to Communicate Compliance Effectively in Today’s Digital Workplace
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Remote work is here to stay, and regardless of how you feel about remote working, it has its drawbacks. Digital workplace tools might have quickened the pace of communication; at the same time, they are significant distractions. Additionally, fifteen percent of employees name distractions at home as the fourth biggest struggle when working remotely. And the one thing you don’t need when you’re conveying important internal policies, procedures, and federal and state laws that must be complied with is distracted employees. Read on to learn how to communicate compliance effectively in today’s digital workplace – without further distracting your employees.
Table of contents
1. Keep compliance messages short
When everyone’s so busy, how do you cut through the noise of workplace priorities to make sure employees genuinely read your compliance communication? Structure your messages into short, powerful bursts of knowledge. Few employees will devote any time to reading long, complex messages between tasks, so break your messages into a series of short and simple messages.
Consider that ten short messages delivered at intervals over a more extended period might be more effective than publishing one tome in January and expecting your employees to remember every policy and procedure they need to know of for the rest of the year. This approach also ensures you can adjust and update your compliance messages as needed. This way, the information you share is always current.
2. Repeat messages often
Here we go again: repetition is key (we’re repeating it because it is!). Repeating your compliance messages ensures they genuinely reach your audience – when they didn’t catch the information the first time you published it, they will the next time (or the next time). You can easily set up a compliance campaign on a particular topic consisting of multiple messages. Create your content and your messages, schedule it in advance, and your content will automatically get published when your employees must receive it; the CMS will do the rest.
Additionally, repeating information makes it stick. As soon as we stop learning or reading about the information, we start forgetting. This process can be explained with Ebbinghaus’s Forgetting Curve. You can break the Forgetting Curve’s downward trend by repeating information. In doing so, you are also increasing the chances your employees will better understand and internalize your compliance messages. Subtle repetition is necessary to change behavior, which essentially is compliance communication’s goal. From the human firewall to healthcare compliance, strong communication will make the new behavior second nature.
‘We continuously repeat safety messages; this repetition ensures the message sticks’
Our client Hertel Netherlands would agree: Jasmijn Stolk, Manager Marketing & Communication at Hertel Netherlands, explains safety is paramount in all of Hertel’s business activities. Compliance messages are shown repeatedly through screensavers, digital signage screens, and their corporate app to prevent any incidents. ‘We continuously repeat safety messages with Netpresenter. Our ‘life-saving rules’, our nine basis safety rules, are also repeatedly brought to the attention of our employees. This repetition ensures the message sticks – so much so that one of our assistant project leaders prevented work from having to be halted. She knew exactly what to do thanks to the repetition of our life-saving rules!’
However, don’t repeat the exact same message endlessly, as people will not read it anymore since they know they’ve already seen it. Surprise them by displaying your message in a slightly different way. Possibilities with digital signage or corporate screensavers are endless. Say it with a template, regain attention with a GIF or even show a video to convey important messages.
3. Know your audience’s preferred comms channels
If email works for you, that’s fine, but consider that research showed two in three employees ignore corporate emails. Your users may be consuming information through entirely different channels. Do you work with non-desk employees? They might not even have email, so it may be worth considering putting up digital signage screens in public spaces in your organization. Do your employees work from home? Chances are, you can find them on Microsoft Teams. Are your employees always on the road? Then a corporate app could be the best way to reach them.
Do your employees primarily use your intranet, such as SharePoint? Create a dedicated page in your intranet and keep it up to date. Feature messages for the week or month, and provide links to codes of conduct, ethics documents, et cetera. Connect your SharePoint to other channels such as digital signage, screensavers, or an employee app to make the information even easier to find. You’ll be sure everybody knows about the latest compliance information.
Think about how your employees generally consume their information. To ensure your compliance communication reaches all your employees, publish compliance communication through multiple communication channels. Embrace the omnichannel approach!
Reduce distractions at work and improve communication in your organization with these 9 practical tips
4. Push when it matters
Getting the attention of your busy employees may be a big compliance challenge for your organization. When your message is unquestionably urgent and important, such as a new procedure with which employees must comply, you will want to have a channel that can provide your employees immediately and simultaneously with reliable information. In this case, you can send a push notification or even an old skool text message; you’re guaranteed to draw your employees’ attention. Add a read confirmation, and you will also know who has and has not read your message. Add a link to your dedicated page in SharePoint that provides your employees with more information, and there you go, you drew your entire organization’s attention without adding to the noise.
5. Target your audience
Some rules and procedures should only be complied with in specific departments of your organization. To keep information relevant and avoid adding to information overload, target your messages to specific audience groups within your organization, for example, sales consultants, managers, or management assistants. Targeting your information will ensure higher relevance and usability, which will lead to an increase in readership: employees know that the information they receive is of relevance to them, which will make them less likely to ignore messages you send. This will all lead to higher compliance levels.