Said is done isn't it?
This is a dangerous falsehood perceived as a truth for many. Said is NOT done and the key messages of any organisation must be repeated often and for a sustained period of time to secure employee engagement and the discretionary effort all bottom lines crave…
Make it so..!
When a decision has been made at the top level of an organisation to implement a new strategy, policy or change programme the most senior managerial body often moves on to the next key issue they face. They have made their decision and in turning to each of their teams and saying “Make it so..!” it is easy for some to miss the fact that the decision is where the initiative really.
It is not enough to decide on an implementation however good the ideas involved are. Top management has to walk the talk; they have to be role models for a sustained period. To always be adding something about the new key message in their speeches, town hall meetings and in their written communications. To ﬁnd new ways of showing interest, asking for results, activities and updates on things that proves the key aspects of the new initiative is seeping into the very heart and soul of the organisation. To show interest, give support and feedback.
It will pass
The most common reaction to a change implementation is: “Don’t worry. This is just another campaign from the top management! – Wait for a few weeks before you do anything. It will soon pass…” Only by sustained repetition of the key messages, by top management and though mainstream internal communication channels will you be able to ensure change has taken place and that change has taken root.
Said is never done
The sometimes frustrating reality of internal communications is that the job of communication is never done. It’s an on-going process of dialogue employees in ways that keep them engaged, in the loop and plugged into the shift the initiative is designed to create. One solitary communication campaign won’t create a lasting shift across a single team let alone an entire organisation. It is vital to create long-term campaigns to repeat and ingrain messages and programs until they become part of the new normal. If something happens or is said often enough, most people will eventually be persuaded.
We know repetition works
Take Music. A piece of music when we listen to it repeatedly gets under our skin. Advertisements which we see repeated on television time after time replay themselves in our mind when we see the product later in the Supermarket. Repetition has a serious effect on us.
Repetition creates patterns in our mind
Our brains are excellent pattern-matchers and reward us for using this very helpful skill. Repetition creates a pattern, which consequently and naturally grabs our attention at first and then creates the comfort of familiarity.
Repetition creates familiarity
Yes it can also breed contempt; the reality is that familiarity leads to liking in far more case than it does to contempt. We are far more likely to buy brands we are familiar with even when we have never tried the product before.
Repetition aids understanding
It gives time for the penny to drop; time for us to think, to reflect, to discuss and generally after repeated exposure things become clearer and more understandable.
Spaced repetition supports memory
Remember learning your multiplication tables at school? We often have to repeat things more than once for them to sink into our long term memories. The value of spaced repetition was described in a book by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. He described his findings that the strength of learned information decays over time in an exponential manner.
There is a “Curve of Forgetting”
When we are first told about something or learn something new we will generally be able to remember it for a couple of days. After about a week, for most of us, the amount of what we can recall about the original message will be much reduced or significantly distorted. When the lesson is repeated before it has been forgotten, retention is strengthened. Further repetition at a later point in time will strengthen the memory even.
Engagement demands an on-going commitment
Every interaction with a member of your team has the potential to influence their engagement and inspire additional discretionary effort or send. Every repeated communication builds patterns, familiarity, understanding, and increases retention of the core message in the minds of all your people.
That's why successful internal communication is never a one-time event.