Internal Communications for Manufacturing, A More Considered Approach
Over the past few years (post-covid) we’ve seen a shift in the work we’re being asked to support with when it comes to our manufacturing clients. There’s still a real need for external communications, from email campaigns, event support, social media, content, website redesigns and thought-leadership in the press, but the comms we’ve been brought in to give a little more TLC to more recently, have been internal comms.
There’s a growing body of research suggesting a strong link between employee happiness and productivity in manufacturing, for example, when it comes to increased productivity:
- Reduced Absenteeism: Happy employees are less likely to miss work due to illness or other reasons. Studies show a reduction in absenteeism of up to 41% in highly engaged teams.
- Job security and fair compensation: A steady income and feeling valued through fair pay are crucial for basic financial security and self-worth.
- Positive work environment: A safe, clean, and well-maintained workplace with good management and supportive colleagues fosters good morale and reduces stress.
- Meaningful work and opportunities for growth: Feeling like the work contributes to something bigger and offering avenues for learning and skill development can bring purpose and satisfaction.
- Work-life balance: Having enough time for rest, family, and leisure activities creates a healthy balance and prevents burnout.
Where to Start
It’s always best to look at your internal communication strategy from an annual point of view and then work on the more granular ideas from there. You know when your company’s annual report is due, when you have company updates and when things like CSR reports will be published. Start your strategy by slotting them into a calendar and having campaign ideas ready for execution.
You also need to ensure that internal communications doesn’t fall between the cracks, assign someone to the ongoing comms and bake this into their job role, ensure they have the time and resources to create meaningful communications. Remember, consistency is key. Build trust and engagement with regular, relevant communication that makes your workforce feel valued and informed.
You may have an assigned member of staff dedicated to your internal comms but it may not be their entire role, we’ve found this role usually straddles marketing and HR. Your nominated member of staff may not have the experience required to create meaningful communications or maybe they’ve been doing it for a while and could benefit from having a shot of inspiration from an external source. Our manufacturing clients choose to solicit our support for their internal comms for numerous reasons:
- Expertise: They have access to our teams’ specialised skills in engaging manufacturing workforce audiences.
- Cost-effective: It’s often more commercially beneficial to bring in an external agency for your internal comms than it would be to hire someone new into the team.
- A Fresh perspective: With an agency on hand we’re constantly looking at ideas and approaches to boost communication effectiveness and with our breadth of clients in the industry, we not only have insight into what works across other businesses, we have an economy of scale on inspiration for compelling communications
When to Outsource
Manufacturing clients have approached us for support on their internal comms when they have:
- Been through an acquisition event. This could have been the company’s acquisition of another business and the support they need on bringing new members of staff into the family, or when their business itself was being acquired and they need support in the navigation of the narrative and assurance of the workforce, for example our work with Allied Glass when they became Verallia UK.
- Had a sudden change in size or market. When a manufacturing business gets to a certain size, they may start to consider a more strategic and professional approach to their internal comms. We’ve also seen a lent an experienced hand to companies who have expanded into new territories, geographically or who have diversified into new offerings resulting in a new and different make-up of employees.
- Had a change in management. Oftentimes when there’s a corporate reshuffle, feathers can get ruffled and the reverberations can be felt across the factory floor. To reinstate equilibrium and create a sense of stability for a workforce, it’s important for new leaders to plan their communications strategies and implement them with a real sense of care and direction.
- Delved into Digitalisation. This could be a new era of industrial digitalisation and our clients have required support on their change management communications through helpful videos and animations, or the digitalisation of the comms themselves, for example moving from a printed publication to more digital means. Our work with coatings and chemicals giant PPG and the digitalisation of the 60 year printed magazine PPG People stands testament to how this can work on a mass scale.
Engage, Inform and Inspire with Multi-Media Internal Communications
Finally, manufacturers need to go above and beyond the usual stale newsletter and try a mix of different media, we support our clients with:
- Short, impactful videos and animations to announce news, showcase employees, or explain processes.
- Helpful infographics and data visualisations to make complex information clear and memorable.
- Interactive quizzes and polls to boost engagement and gather valuable feedback.
- Fun and interesting days of the year or months with themes, these can be as entertaining as National Ice cream day and as poignant as Men’s Mental Health Month.
If you’re looking for support on your internal communications for manufacturing and aren’t sure where to start, get in touch to find out more about our services and how we can support you in becoming a more communicative place to work!