18 July 2019

5 learnings on engaging a remote workforce from our joint IoIC and CIPR event

Last week we hosted the IoIC and CIPR for an event all about engaging hard-to-reach employees. It's a hot topic at the moment and one we're helping a bunch of our clients with, so we were excited to get stuck in.

We were chuffed to be joined by Jenni Field and Benjamin Ellis who talked us through their ‘Remotely Interested?‘ research which explores what remote workers really want from internal communications teams.

We were also lucky to have internal communications pro (and one of our lovely clients), Sue Palfrey, Head of Internal Communications at Pennon, presenting the challenges and successes she’s experienced during her time working with remote workers at both the National Trust and in her current role. 

It was a great opportunity to bring people together from a range of organisations, from charities to local government and big utilities, to discuss best practice and share hints and tips on how to engage this hard-to-reach audience.

Couldn’t make it? Not to worry. We’ve rounded up our 5 top tips to help reach staff who aren’t office-based: 


Get to know your audience 

Use insight from your people to know what comms work well, what they don’t like and how they prefer to receive information. There’s no use funnelling budget into the latest, hi-tech, online communications if your employees prefer a poster or printed magazine. And equally, if the simple approach isn’t working, find out from your employees what will land well and do more of that. 


The importance of distinguishing remote workers is vital

When it comes to communicating with remote workers, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The term ‘remote working’ can encompass a wide range of different types of work: a bus driver is going to have a very different experience at work to someone who works in a cafe and the same goes for an employee who works from home for a corporate organisation. Work out who your remote workers are and tailor your communications to them. They’re going to digest information differently, so make the comms suitable. 


Be mindful that digital channels won’t work for everyone 

In an increasingly digital world, it can be tempting to put everything online. Email, Workplace, intranets – there are so many options available. But remember that not all of your remote workers will engage in that way. Perhaps they’re based on a shop floor, and not at a desk. Or they’re on the road with little access to a laptop or the internet. It’s important to think of ways to reach these workers as well as those that are based on a computer all day, and sometimes that might just mean keeping things simple with good old-fashioned print! 


Make good communicators out of line managers to get messages across well

People working in remote locations or roles may rely heavily on their line manager for information and company comms. While it’s really important to equip line managers with the right content to share with their employees, it’s also crucial that they communicate information in an effective way. Giving line managers the right training to make sure they know how best to communicate with their teams can make a huge difference in how engaged remote workers feel. 


Make comms relevant 

Sounds obvious, but people are busy and as internal communicators, you don’t want to add to the ‘noise’ they’re already working with. Relevance is key to engaging people well: send stuff they need to do their jobs or are interested in and they’ll engage. Add another email they don’t want, or necessarily need, to read to their inbox and they’re likely to switch off. Make sure information you’re sending is useful, informative and relevant, always. 


We’re working with clients on a range of internal communications options from VR experiences to employee engagement events to staff magazines and more. If you want to discuss what would work best for your people, let’s talk.

And why not join our remote workers webinar at the end of July to explore this subject more? Register here: https://www.mccannsynergy.com/news-and-insight/webinar-engaging-remote-workers-through-internal-communications/ or contact us for more details

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