Corporate communications writer specializing in employee engagement, health & wellness, emergency preparedness, change management and technology.

Why “Why” is the Critical Question to Answer in Employee Communications

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in EmployComm, homepage | 0 comments

Why “Why” is the Critical Question to Answer in Employee Communications

Whether you’re introducing a new benefit, kicking off a change initiative or simply sending a reminder, employees want to know why. And they want to know why right off the bat.

We all want to know why. It’s the first question that comes to mind when we read or hear any communication. Consciously or subconsciously, we’re asking ourselves:

Why should I care? We have so many other emails to open and read. If your subject line doesn’t answer the “why is this important to me now,” I might not even open it. Subject lines that provide the benefit (or what’s in it for me) tend to get opened quicker, such as “Win a Free iPad” or “A Faster Way to Enroll in Benefits.” For time-critical communications, answer the “why is this important to me now” in the subject line, such as “Training Enrollment Deadline This Friday.”

Why are they doing this? We’re all, to varying degrees, resistant to change. So we heave a sigh and wonder why the powers that be have mucked around with what was working perfectly well. You’d better answer this why right up front — in the first line, if possible. Explain how this new initiative is in response to feedback or how it will speed up a process and make employees’ lives easier. Again, focus on the benefit to the employee.

Why do I need to act now? We have a zillion other things on our plate. Why should we drop everything else and take action on this now? You must include a call to action and make it time critical. Then make it as easy as possible for employees to take action. Tell employees what they need to do and how to do it, such as “Link here to fill out the form” or “Complete the enclosed postcard.”

Would you like more tips on communication planning? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and receive the free Communications Planning Checklist — everything you need to set a solid foundation of success for your next communication. Whether you’re sending one email or planning an integrated communications campaign, my Communications Planning Checklist is a simple tool for creating communications that are targeted, effective and meet your goals.

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