Navigating the Overcrowded Communications Skies

One of the gems I took away from Melcrum’s recent internal communications webinar was the picture of internal communications professionals as “air traffic controllers” – overseeing the flow of internal communications so middle managers are not overwhelmed with information. There’s simply a glut of information being carried by a fleet of media in an already overcrowded work-space. And we need to be sensitive to employee workloads and time constraints in being able to absorb it all.

If you’re in a position to better manage the flow of internal communications, where do you start? An employee survey will help (yikes! not another survey?!) …

In the meantime, consider this idea: sort your communications into “need to know” vs. “nice to know” categories and prioritize accordingly. What critical info do employees really need to know to do their jobs compared with info that is perhaps interesting or helpful but doesn’t have strategic impact.

Simplistic? Absolutely … but a useful first step in navigating the crowded skies of internal communications.

2 Comments

  • Sybil October 26, 2006 Reply

    Brad, thanks for pointing out that internal communicators need to be sensitive to contributing to survey burnout as well as information overload. Actually, it’s a challenge for everyone in organizations, not just the communicators and marketers.

  • Brad Bellaver October 23, 2006 Reply

    Although many organizations still struggle to say anything to their employees, many deal with an overload of irrelevant messages and try to figure our what is REALLY the most important thing. To my knowledge, the Air Traffic Control concept was popularized by Bill Quirke, from his book “Making the Connections.” We are planning to introduce this concept to my fellow internal communicators within the large firm that I work in.
    It’s funny that you mentioned surveying people. I am thinking about introducing the ATC concept with surveys first. My organization sends more surveys than anyone could possibly answer! The goal will be to determine who is sending surveys and try to come up with some sort of window where groups can manage survey distribution without annoying employees or creating “survey burnout” which is the state today.
    As for labeling messages, I would love to see actual examples of this. I love the idea, I would like to see how organizations execute it.
    My two cents.

Leave a Reply to Brad Bellaver Cancel reply