Communicating strategy to thousands of employees (in one organization) can seem overwhelming. Can you suggest the best way to start?

Start with your mission and current year goals. Build from there. In most cases you can use your mission statement to cover the corporate level strategy. Moving down to business units or product groups and doing the same is a good process. Some companies then circle back and tie it all together with a final wrap up at the corporate level. Addressing one topic per meeting is typically best. Also see answer to #12.

Do you have recommendations for “quick poll” tools?

Yes, there are many out there. The most popular are Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, Poll Daddy, Qualtrics, Survey Gizmo and Constant Contact.

What is the best way to use quick polls – through survey forms, internal social media, at the end of an event in paper format, …?

Everyone is different … the best thing you can do is test various channels and see what works best for your organization. Where do you see more traffic? The most important thing is the timing of the poll. Try to launch it as close as possible to whatever you’re surveying about – you always want to strike while the iron is hot!

How do you survey a non-connected audience?

You need to go back to grass roots. Many times quick 3-8 question paper surveys work wonders. The key is establishing a great relationship with managers and supervisors in those areas so they can encourage participation among these employees. You can try to launch a quick manual survey in morning huddles (just make sure they’re short!). Also, internal mobile apps are the biggest trend in internal communications with these audiences as well.

Where can we get a list of post video quick polls?

I always tell communicators to try and avoid ‘canned’ survey templates as much as possible. Every organization is unique – and the survey needs to reflect your organization, voice and content. So, start by defining the goals of the video you created. Based on those goals, what questions make the most sense to ask to find out whether or not you’re on the right track to achieving those goals? Finally, ask yourself what you’ll do with the data you get back to make sure you can assign an action to your findings.

Live Q&A is important. But in a corporate setting people are afraid to ask hard questions. They fear they will be retaliated against. How do you get employees to ask questions without being fearful?

2 things: first, have the executive start with a hard question you know the audience wants answered, as this can break the ice; second, you can have people write questions on 3×5 cards and pass them to a moderator so the person asking is anonymous. In both cases, the answers are delivered live even though the person asking may not be known.

a) How can a small (30 person) company without an intranet easily obtain and use metrics? b) What kinds of metrics (and baseline) should we keep in mind as we establish a companywide intranet?

a. Based off of how you currently communicate to your employees establish the top 3-5 goals of the communication team. What are you trying to do with the communications you’re creating (either online or offline)? Then ask yourself what is the best way to understand if you’re achieving those goals? Do you need to talk to small groups of employees? Quick manual surveys after face to face meetings? Also, work with your executive team to understand the best ways to link your communications to the overall strategy of the company. Can you use email addresses to create an online survey and then just email the URL to employees? b. As you start to establish your intranet – remember the site is for employees and always keep that in mind. What will they use it for? How will they use it? How can communications provide tools and content to get employees in the habit of always using the intranet on a consistent basis? All intranets should be a hub for the latest tools, news and information that employees need to do their jobs as well as create a community and encourage interaction and collaboration. Keep those goals in mind as you start to build your internal site – but always keep the conversation going with the audience along the way to make sure you’re on the right track.

How do you rate the use of News style articles vs. videos? Also do you have an optimum length of video?

Video articles are very powerful if done correctly. Think news segment length. 2-3 minutes max per topic.

Any suggestions on how to engage internal employees for a recruitment video

Ask people why they like to work where they work. Ask employees to talk about a time they were proud of the company they worked for and why. You can solicit volunteers by email and then shoot really short clips for a montage.

How do you drive employees to complete post-video quick polls? For instance, if you post a video on the company intranet and want to know how effective it is, who do you target, and how, with a quick poll when you don’t really know who’s watching the video and who isn’t?

Many of the quick poll tools allow you to program the poll so that it ‘pops up’ right after the video ends. This is a great way to get the poll in front of the viewer, right after they saw the video. Also, there’s nothing wrong in sending an email out to your audience the video was intended for, with the first question being ‘did you watch the video?’ Most survey tools will allow you to ask questions based off their response. If yes … they go to 3-5 questions about what they saw and their reaction to it. If no, we need to find out why they didn’t watch it. Did they not know about it? Have technical difficulties? Didn’t like the content? etc. Also, don’t be afraid to use incentives if you can to try to boost response – mugs, Starbucks gift cards, etc. go a long way.

Polls: always seem to come across as a ‘test’ did you know the right answer…. how do you avoid?

It’s all in the way you write the questions. Likert scales can be used so people can give you an idea of their feelings/agreements around particular statements, instead of ‘quizzing’ participants. For example: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statement: After watching the video, I feel I know what I specifically need to do in order to help our company achieve our Q4 goals. Answer Options: Strongly agree, Agree, No opinion, Disagree, Strongly Disagree.

How do you connect a video to strategy – be cost-effective in production, but not corporate and stuffy? Who is doing this well? What does it look like?

Film quick employee interviews about projects that represent the key points in the strategy. Have them share what they did and how it benefitted the customer. Stories are the most powerful way to link employees to strategy.

What’s the best way to develop a multi-generational strategy?

I’ll be controversial and say you should focus on your millennials and see how you are falling short there. In most cases, that is the area with the biggest communication gap. Even though millennials have some unique ideas about what is important to them, their list is rarely unimportant to other generations. The lists just tend to prioritized differently.

Our video department is tied up with marketing priorities. How can I utilize video without their help, while reassuring them that our product will be in brand?

Borrow the basic equipment and shoot a couple of your own videos. Internally the brand requirements should be pretty easy to meet. Frankly, engagement with employees is a prerequisite to managing a brand internally. Let them review your first few pieces and get a good agreement on how that can work going forward without slowing you down.