Message Received

How many messages do you get a day? Add up all of your emails and your MS Teams chatroom and Slack messages. Add to that all the notifications on your social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn. Oh, and don’t forget your family and friends’ channels, like Telegram. Seriously, I have them all. Zalando and H&M messages reminded me that I still have items in my shopping cart…and my daughter’s school newsletter with hidden information when the next exam is coming up…add them all up…still counting? I’ve stopped counting, I even started ignoring the red notification numbers on my iPhone detailing thousands of unread messages.

Yes, we are flooded with messages daily. Our brains do a brilliant job of sifting through all of them and deciding what we should pay attention to and what we should ignore. The goal for us in HR communications is to create memorable communications that stand out in this flood – those that you don’t even need to try to remember. What’s our strategy? I’ve already told you we are listening, and we’ve heard our audiences like visuals.  

Improving Your Experience

The challenge of reaching our audiences lies in communicating with words and visuals that convey emotion. The way something looks might be more important now than it has ever been. So, if you need to get a message across, why not make it as straightforward as possible?

The right words at the right moment, when paired with the right visual – are powerful. Research shows when people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10% of it after three days. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.

Structuring communications to include small amounts of text with visuals that convey memorable information can really make a difference. We are structuring our communications to follow a simple structure that tells our audience upfront what they need to do. We answer the questions why, what, and how. And try to find just the right graphic, icons, GIF, or video.

Visuals have helped communicate our story from the beginning. When our CHRO at SAP, Stefan Ries, jumped on stage at SuccessConnect as a punk, he was sending a clear message – let’s bring disruption and innovation to HR.

Video Is Going Viral

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? Imagine, clickable videos that dive deeper into the information you want. A few months ago, we began doing just this. We accompany our internal HR Punks Round-Up with a YouTube-style clickable video hosted by an HR team member. The idea is in response to the request of video as a medium to deliver messages. While the video style catches the audience’s attention, the clickable part links to resources directly embedded in the video to encourage engagement. 

YouTube users watch over one billion hours of videos per day. That represents billions of views. And, that number will only continue to grow. But we also have to consider the length of our videos. With a little over half of all videos published last year being under 2 minutes, we have to send clear, concise messages as we communicate across social media channels. Two minutes is starting to feel long in my opinion; one minute is the goal. Why not 30 seconds? Time is valuable.

Our five-generation workforce is our greatest asset. All five have unique needs and preferences, especially when it comes to communication. While for the most part millennials prefer communicating via messaging apps and videos, other generations prefer face-to-face interaction, or detailed text. It is a communications balancing act, but we must make those key visuals clear enough so everyone gets them, no matter the generation. It is a challenge we are taking on.

Check back here soon for my next blog about ‘choice’. For more on how the HR Punks are innovating visit