Choosing your channel: what's best?
There are a range of face-to-face, electronic and print channels you might want to use in your department. The ones you choose will depend on what you want to achieve and the audience you need to reach. For instance, if you want to raise awareness, you'll be using a very different channel compared to gaining ownership and commitment. Similarly, the needs of a line manager are likely to be different to a non-office based member of staff. With those in mind, here's a summary of channels to consider.
Pros: Reaches a mass audience quickly. Messaging is consistent and reaches the recipient directly.
Cons: Not everyone has regular access to emails. Messages can be misintepreted. Information overload can quickly result and people switch off.
Pros: Quick to update. Errors can quickly be addressed. Webstats give an idea of interest.
Cons: Not inclusive for everyone. Relies on people seeking out information.
Pros: Can be personalised and made relevant to the team involved. Can provide an opportunity for discussion and feedback. Line managers/team leaders can facilitate in an interactive way.
Cons: Success depends on the skills and buy-in of the line manager/ team leaders. The manager and team must be happy to make the time commitment for the meetings on a regular basis.
Pros: Can build team spirit if networking is encouraged. Good opportunity for leaders to address staff face-to-face. Can involve people through opportunities to ask questions or take part in breakout groups
Cons: Can end up being an 'information' session. Organising/facilitating/presenting can be time consuming
Pros: Research suggests 6-8 people is the optimum number for focus groups. People may feel happy to contribute in a small group and speak openly and honestly
Cons: Action needs to be taken in response to the feedback gained. Need to ensure that everyone in the group feels happy to contribute - for instance, it might not be appropriate to have line managers and staff in the same session.
Pros: Features-based content can draw staff in. Staff can read during breaks. Can reach non-computer based staff effectively.
Cons: Content can quickly date. Can't quickly gather feedback on how it's been received. Can be tricky to make it relevant to all.
Pros: Visible, quick to view when time-pressured, good for getting information out there.
Cons: Can't track if it's been read. Information can quickly go out of date. Overloaded notice-boards may get ignored.