How to Use Digital Signage for Employee Communications
Businesses are constantly trying to come up with new ways to optimize internal communications with employees and with good reason. Effective employee communication translates into greater employee engagement, a better understanding of company goals and directives on a micro and macro level, and, in turn, a cross-company unification of purpose.
All of this leads to a more efficient and productive workforce on both micro and macro levels, as well as greater employee satisfaction, greater confidence in themselves and management, and a heightened sense of community and purpose. So how have companies been communicating with their employees in the past, and why does digital signage present itself as a revolutionizing tool in employee communications.
Employers have used a number of methods to communicate with employees. The most common examples are emails, instant messaging, pop-up alerts, and physical notice boards. While these methods are effective up to a certain extent, there are a number of reasons why they are less than ideal.
For one, these methods have been used for so long that employees have become all but numb to them. A key point that has gained widespread recognition has been the insight that conveying content is not enough for recognition, understanding, and retention. What is also incredibly important is the method of content presentation.
An example can make this point clear. Imagine the differences in overall understanding and retention of information when that information is read to a group of employees from a script with no other presentation aids to when the same information is conveyed with a PowerPoint slide with helpful graphics and dotted lists of key points as well as engagement with the audience such that the presentation becomes, in a sense, a group presentation with the primary presenter guiding the conversation.
We would surely expect that the employees walking away from the second presentation would do so with a much more thorough understanding of the content and the practical implications for their own activity in response to the content than they would have walking away from the first presentation.
While this example is somewhat exaggerated for the purpose of clarity, it is not too bold of a claim to state that the difference between email, instant messaging communication, and physical notice boards and the digital signage solutions for internal communications are analogous to the differences between the first presentation and the second presentation.
This is not to say that email and instant messaging do not have a role to play, especially when it comes to conveying information that pertains to only a few individuals in a company or as a means to convey urgent and time-sensitive information. However, as we will see, digital signage has many advantages that can truly revolutionize the way a company does internal communication and corporate communication.
What is Digital Signage In an Internal Communication Context?
Digital signage involves using screens optimized with digital signage software and templates throughout your workplace to communicate information to employees. Whether it's an office, a retail store, a factory, or a warehouse, wherever you have screens you can send important information, reminders, updates, and more.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Signage for Internal Communication?
1) Screens grab attention
Screens with colorful images on them cannot help but draw the attention of employees. Unlike email, digital signage solutions like those offered by Loop TV allow endless opportunities for eye-grabbing messages, animations, graphs, videos, social media posts, live feeds, and much more. Moreover, you can update the information in real-time for efficient messaging and directives that employees can not help but see.
Compared with the capabilities for the presentation of information that come with digital signage solutions, the advantages over email communication become quite clear. Moreover, digital signage does more than catch an employee's attention. With all the visual means for conveying information, the content will often be much easier to understand than if read in an email.
2) Screens conveys important information with ease
As noted above, screens with visuals have a lot of advantages when it comes to conveying important information. Much research has gone into determining the effect of visuals on comprehension and retention. In this digital age, it can come as no real surprise that visual information combined with written communication is much more effective than written information alone. Digital signage allows for the seamless integration of written and pictorial information, making it the ideal method for conveying information to employees.
3) One source reaches many people
Unlike an internal communication tool where you have to pay per user, digital signage is a one-to-many approach. A screen in your office can be shown to dozens of employees. And you can also have multiple screens across locations showing the same content – managed from one centralized CMS.
Whereas tools like Slack and email send information to a few select people, digital signage expands the communication channel and increases transparency. In addition to increasing transparency, this kind of open communication can help contextualize the work that people are doing. It's much easier to find purpose and direction in their tasks when they know how their tasks fit into the broader goal.
Contextualization can also lead to collaboration among people who previously had been operating on different sets of information and were therefore effectively isolated from each other. From collaboration comes innovation. And we see how digital signage has the potential not only to maximize the impact of communication but can also transform how an office works in potentially beneficial ways.
How to Use Digital Signage to Optimize Employee Communication
Now that we have a grasp on some of the broader implications that workplace digital signage has as a communication tool, we can now move on to some concrete examples of how you can employ digital signage to optimize internal communications, improve employee experience, foster collaboration amongst team members, and increase employee engagement, all of which have the potential to greatly benefit your business.
1) Improve Meeting Room Booking Systems
One way that corporate digital signage can optimize communication is by showcasing meeting room bookings. With small screens outside of meeting rooms, your digital signage can show you who is using the meeting room, other scheduled uses of meeting rooms, and time slots available for using a meeting room. This is just a small example of the highly practical applications of digital signage solutions.
2) Easily Share Company Dashboards
Company dashboards are a great way to keep track of how your business is performing and visualize real-time performance against forecasted performance and goals. In fact, the type of data that you can display on dashboards is potentially endless. Showing company dashboards is a great way to keep employees informed and cognizant of real-time company performance and overall company goals.
3) Create Social Media Feeds
You can also turn your digital signage screens into social media walls. This can be great for keeping a pulse on brand engagement or customer issues. This is a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of how people are engaging with your business. You can optimize your digital signage solution to show a rolling feed of customer engagement so you can see what customers are saying mere seconds after they say it, and you can also get a view of the big picture by highlighting your social media analytics.
4) Increase Employee Engagement
Digital screens can also be used for employee engagement, on as much a personal level as professional. Add photographs from the latest company events, congratulate promotions, celebrate birthdays, and highlight employees doing exceptional work.
You can also increase employee engagement by giving information on the work being done by particular teams or departments so that people gain a greater understanding of the business as a whole and, in turn, feel a greater sense of community as they see how each department affects other departments. The office is much more like an organism than many may know with the work of one department feeding into another and vice versa.
Additionally, you can increase employee engagement by breaking down the information barriers between management and employees by increasing company transparency and announcing company updates, figures, and visions for the future.
5) Share Digital Noticeboards
Digital noticeboards are a great way to foster community among employees. A notice board can be as simple as a screen with a color theme and text. A great way to foster community is to allow employees to post notices on the notice board. If some employees are planning on grabbing some food after work, they can post their plans on the noticeboard so that other people in the company can join them. Or the notice board could be an ideas board where employees share their ideas amongst their peers and management, generating discussion and allowing employees to have their voices heard.
6) Communicate Across All Internal Offices and Departments
Digital signage gives the capability to send out information to all areas of the office. This could be the same message sent to all employees, but you are not limited when it comes to digital signage. You can also personalize the digital signage for different departments, making sure that each department gets the information that is relevant to them.
Best Practices for Employee Digital Signage
1) Change Digital Signage Content Regularly
For digital signage to keep the attention of employees, it is important to update the information displayed at regular intervals. This might mean developing multiple digital signage playlists that you alternate for a certain period before changing to a new set of playlists. Another way to keep the content fresh is to display content that updates itself such as social media feeds.
2) Prioritize Feedback
As with any aspect of a business, it is important to get feedback from employees about how they feel about the way that you employ digital signage. By gathering feedback from employees, you can continually optimize digital signage as a communication tool. After all, you are communicating with employees, so their ideas about improvements or problems should absolutely be taken into account.
3) Use Screens Regularly
For maximum results, you will want to make sure that screens are being used regularly and that they are ultimately integrated into the fabric of office affairs. If digital signage is only used occasionally or only utilized in minor ways, you will miss out on the potential power of an employee communication network fully optimized with digital signage functionality.
Things to Remember When You Use Digital Signage for Employee Communication
One of the most important things to remember is that digital signage is a communication tool amongst many other communication tools, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. One should not approach digital signage as a replacement for all other methods of employee communication. There are many situations where a digital sign would be wildly ineffective compared to a group video call or intranet communications.
It is important to recognize the strengths of digital signage while also recognizing its limitations. Its strengths are certainly clear. It grabs an employee's attention (whether they are in the breakroom or in the office), can convey important information with ease, and when used correctly can improve employee experience, office efficiency, employee engagement, and company transparency, among many other things.
What it cannot replace is person-to-person discussion when that is what is called for. Moreover, some information is simply too complex or too lengthy to be conveyed on a screen. And of course, some information is best shared with a select group of people for whom the information is relevant. There is no need to inform everyone about everything that is going on in the workplace. Oversaturation of information would simply reduce the impact of digital signage.
All that being said, digital signage is truly the way forward when it comes to employee communication. It is easy to grow complacent when you have a system of communication in place that works adequately even if it is not the best option available. However, when you consider all the benefits of digital signage solutions, one can’t help but see how much of a difference this tool can make.