All

How Internal Communication Strategies Boost Employee Engagement

How Internal Communication Strategies Boost Employee Engagement 761 489 VP Legacies

Of the many formulas that contribute to the growth of an organization, one of them is employee engagement. Employee engagement indicates the potential for a company’s long term success because it understands the value of employee satisfaction and retention. In recent years, more and more people are exploring engagement as revenue drivers – recent studies show 71% of executives cite employee engagement as a primary concern for growth.

You might be wondering how to drive employee engagement in your company: the answer is through internal communication. Communication serves as the driving force behind keeping the morale of employees high. It gives them the reassurance that what they do matters and keeps the spark of emotional stakes alive. 

Internal communication entails treating the employees with respect and letting them know that they all contribute value to the company. Modes of communication are vital pathways to achieving your bottom line, and when they’re thoughtful and well-forged, they can also boost employee morale and help everyone feel connected. As long as employees are kept in the loop, given regular feedback, and exposed to a high degree of transparency, employee engagement will stay high. At VP Legacies, we keep internal communication with real personal connections in mind with every learning module we create for our company. Here’s why and how internal communication can boost employee engagement.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

Why is Internal Communication Important for Employee Engagement?

Reports suggest that 85% of the employees around the world don’t feel engaged at work. This could be due to reasons like not being copied on emails or receiving vague information, which makes them feel left out or disconnected from their work environment. This is where the importance of internal communication steps in. 

Here are some of the reasons why internal communications and employee engagement are strongly linked:

  • Open communication between the manager and the employees makes them feel valued. 37% of employees have confessed that being recognized for their work is the best way to feel supported and respected.

As a company, you should make your employees feel comfortable enough to go to management in case they encounter an issue. Employees should also know that managers are being upfront with them regarding current information about the company. Managers should create a connective environment that allows the employees to share professional intimacies with them, be it concerns about the company or concerns related to the industry. 

  • When the internal communication between the employees and the management is poor, employees can feel anxious and distracted. This causes a disconnect between the employees and the company, leading them to hold back key insights from their fellow workers, who in turn feeling withdrawn from their work and the team. 
  • Internal communication encourages conversations between people from various departments. This allows goals to be reached more quickly, as people feel free to interact with one another in case they need help with their respective work. 

If the in-house departments don’t coordinate with each other, the efficiency and rate of progress slows down. This in turn causes work to feel mechanical for most employees, and that’s the last thing you want as an organization.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

How to Use Internal Communication Strategies to Increase Employee Engagement

Boosting employee engagement through internal communication is something more and more organizations are formally trying. Some of the ways in which you can accomplish that are as follows:

  1. Make the Company’s Goals and Objectives Visible

Publish the goals you have for your company so that your employees can view them at all times. This allows you to approach your employees from a transparent perspective. When an employer’s goals are transparent, employees tend to find it easier to understand, and therefore work towards achieving that goal.

Clear goals help in improving productivity and performance around the workplace. When your employees know that their contribution aids in the growth of the company, they feel responsible and motivated enough to work harder. 

Find a course that meets your company’s goals at VP Legacies.

  1. Lower the Frequency of Meetings and Emails

While meetings and emails form an indispensable part of the workforce, most companies can stand to lower their frequency. Today’s younger workforce generation doesn’t believe in unnecessarily long conversations. They prefer to achieve tasks quickly yet efficiently. 

No one wants to read long emails. Keep your emails short and crisp. If a message can be conveyed through two lines, then do so. The same goes for meetings. Meetings are usually seen as hurdles in the way of productivity as far as employees are concerned. More often than not employees feel they could be getting a lot of work done instead of having to sit for a meeting whose intention could have been conveyed via an email.

Use the power of internal communication. Employ in-house messaging forums such as Slack to discuss work with your employees and create pathways for personal connection. You can also use Slack to pass on important information before meetings so that no extra time is wasted. 

  1. Make Your Managers More Accessible 

Managers are the people employees turn to whenever there are problems with the work ambiance. Make sure that your employees have a constant line of communication with your management team. Encourage those sort of warm, cordial relationships between these two segments so that a harmonious environment can be maintained at work.

Provide your managers with all the necessary tools of online communication. That way, employees won’t have to wait till weekly or monthly meetings to put their concerns forward and have them sorted.

  1. Conduct Surveys and Listen Carefully

One of the most effective ideas for internal communication with regards to enhancing employee personal connection is conducting surveys every once in a while. These surveys can include questions regarding new strategies, management behavior, and the overall company structure. Make the surveys anonymous – this allows the organization to recognize its flaws and make amends accordingly.

Truly listen to your employees when they talk, be it through their surveys or during face-to-face conversations. Jot down their inputs and make it a point to work on them so that everyone working under you feels comfortable. 

Summing Up

When an organization employs effective internal communication strategies, it makes the employees feel more secure and motivated. Engaged employees tend to be more dedicated towards their work. In fact, employee engagement increases productivity by 17%, with reported profit rates for a company going up to 22% when their employees feel more engaged. 

Therefore, use your internal communication system effectively, and you’ll find your employees consistently working harder to drive bottom-line goals at your company. Find out here how VP Legacies can help you reach your internal communication goals.Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

What is Microlearning?

What is Microlearning? 766 384 VP Legacies

With the world’s rapid technological advancements in the past few years, new tactics and strategies are redefining virtually any niche you can think of. Chief among those niches is education, which has seen several different disruptive strategies and technologies emerge over the past decade. Of those numerous strategies, microlearning has proven to be a game-changer in encouraging deep learning while allowing employees to stay connected with those around them. Upended the way we view workplace training programs, microlearning boosts employee morale by fostering day-to-day growth.

This modern-day solutions to corporate learning has emerged as one of the most effective and engaging ways to keep learners excited about exploring new arenas. At VP Legacies, we incorporate microlearning into our eLearning tools to keep your employees engaged and connected. Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about microlearning.

Related: Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences?

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning can be defined as a kind of professional development delivered in small units. It divides huge chunks of learning material into small bits and pieces so that learners can get a grasp of all the information in a more digestible manner. 

A microlearning course can last anywhere between a five-minute session to a lesson that’s 10 minutes long; it can also be divided into various standalone sessions that together forms a longer module that teaches a single objective. In microlearning, one lesson equates to teaching one skill. 

Sometimes, long training or learning initiatives can separate employees from the group and pose a distraction from daily tasks. However, microlearning believes in delivering results quickly. Whereas traditional learning doesn’t let you move on to the next lesson without finishing the one before that, microlearning is more about each lesson being a meaningful unit in itself. Learners have the liberty to choose lessons based on their learning backgrounds. It allows them to see quick results and make sufficient progress, allowing them to learn while continuing to take part in company activities and collaboration without being distracted.

How did microlearning start?

While microlearning can seem like a new concept, it’s actually been around for decades. The concept came from “microteaching”, which was prevalent during the 60s. Microteaching originated in the education industry to optimize the training method for the new teachers. This was done by scaling back on elements such as time, size, and content. This is what created the foundation for microlearning.

It was in 2005 when the first ever conference related to microlearning took place. The place was Innsbruck, Austria, and the event was brought together by the Research Studio eLearning Environments and the Institute of Educational Sciences at the University of Innsbruck. 

The conference focused on the features of microteaching and the status of higher education and corporate training during that period. One conclusion was the potential of microteaching to improve internal communication among employees and create new forms of personal connection. As a result of this, microlearning was born and became what it is today.

Trends, Examples, and Features of Microlearning

The concept that started with a small beginning has now grown into a multimillion-dollar industry. There are many current implementations of microlearning that have gained a lot of popularity lately. Here are some of those trends and examples:

Types of Microlearning

  • Mobile-based learning: Since microlearning is agile and concise, it’s not a surprise that it has led to the proliferation of mobile-based learning. Also known as mLearning, it makes all the learning material easily accessible to the users, so that they can go through them on their phones. 

Mobile-based learning is mainly focused on the mobility of the learner and enables a smoother way for learner interactions to take place. Sharing content, feedback, and discussion points becomes easier through mLearning, allowing employees to connect online more easily.

  • eBooks: eBooks are convenient, accessible, and readily available to readers. Employees can read eBooks over a period of time, making the learning process more flexible for the user. You can also incorporate engaging and interactive elements into an eBook for better memory retention, such as videos, quizzes at the end of every chapter, infographics, and so on. Interactive elements like these also give employees something to talk about.
  • Interactive PDFs: Interactive PDFs have proven to be the evolved equivalents of portable documents. The interactive elements in these PDFs facilitate the engagement rate among learners, thereby increasing their attention span and giving a new spin to the delivery of knowledge and skills. These PDFs also help engage employees by including features such as popups, tabs, animations, etc.
  • Gamification: Gamification refers to applying gaming strategies in a non-game context. It’s mainly used for training and development. 

The training exercises these days are made to resemble a big game. For instance, completing certain courses to earn a badge. Gamification leads to more efficient outcomes and provides a better learning experience to the users. Gamification creates a social environment for learning that gives employees a more fun way to interact.

Pillars of Microlearning

  • Brevity is one of the main features of microlearning, as the name clearly suggests. Microlearning is intended mainly for those users who don’t have a lot of time to spare for skill development. Since a lot of microlearning is focused on mobile-based devices, employees can learn skills regardless of being short on time. They can continue completing daily tasks and working with others, facing limited interruptions.
  • A very unique feature that makes microlearning work is its standalone nature. Microlearning doesn’t require its learners to have attended any of the previous sessions. 

Even if certain portions of the module do contain additional information that can’t be fitted within the module, they are provided to the learners in the form of external links and references. Since microlearning is so self-sufficient, every lesson can be delivered independently. 

  • Due to its short duration, microlearning provides one single module or course at a given time. Taking complete advantage of its shorter duration, microlearning focuses on just one single module, and makes sure that learners derive the most from it.

Instead of focusing on several different things at once and not accomplishing any of them, a single learning objective allows for more optimal results. Therefore, the outcomes are more substantial. 

  • Just because the duration of microlearning is short doesn’t mean it’s not interactive. In fact, interactivity forms a major part of microlearning. Learners get to apply the knowledge they have received, which allows them to seal the said learning in their long-term memory.

These interactive elements include drag-and-drop interactions, eLearning games, simulations, etc. Since immediate feedback is provided, learners get the chance to correct their mistakes on the spot. They can also repeat the activity to improve their problem-solving skills.

Incorporate microlearning with VP Legacies courses and capabilities.

What are the Benefits of Microlearning?

Microlearning has several benefits to foster effective learning and communication in a corporate training environment. The following are some of those benefits:

1. Absence of Cognitive Overload

Remember cramming for a test in school? The human brain can’t process an overload of information. Therefore, it should be given time to go through any information that comes in. Microlearning helps with just that. Learners gain access to small bits of knowledge at regular intervals instead of having to consume or memorize modules in huge quantities all at once. 

This helps prevent cognitive overload. Learners are able to absorb the skills and knowledge required for a current task, and also preserve the prime takeaways. The brain gets enough time to process the data and link it to the preexisting knowledge. Learning effectively creates confidence, encouraging employees to collaborate without trepidation.

2. Targeted Learning 

Microlearning takes full advantage of its short duration by making the modules cover just one objective in bite-sized forms. All the redundant and unnecessary information is filtered out, allowing employees to learn vital information and reach out to other employees where their specific skillsets are required. 

This prevents the learners from feeling overwhelmed and gives them ample time to absorb and retain the information. Microlearning saves time, since it focuses only on targeted and specific information. Therefore, all the time is devoted purely towards learning instead of having to fret about worthless info. 

3. Improved Engagement 

The generation of today doesn’t believe in gulping down pages and pages of course material. They believe in attaining the required knowledge in as short a time span as possible. Microlearning helps in this regard, keeping the learners engaged and curious through various formats.

Since modules are provided in the form of videos, podcasts, quizzes, infographics, and the like, it’s easier to keep the attention of the readers in check. Even if a learner goes through five modules in one day, they will stay engaged and interested due to the high level of interaction due to the incorporation of rich media. Interesting material not only allows employees to engage better with learning, but also with other employees.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

4. Boosts Knowledge Retention and Recall

In 2015, it was reported that microlearning helps in improving a learner’s retention rate by 20%. It was also reported that microlearning helps learners take less time to answer questions. Learners get the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned while communicating with others and also evaluate their new skills in the corporate context right away. 

All the knowledge that they acquire can be connected to real-world applications. This practical form of learning is what helps in boosting the rate of knowledge retention and recall. Since humans are capable of retaining information better when provided through visual and interactive mediums, microlearning wins in this aspect. 

5. Cost-Effective

The Towards Maturity Research in 2016 stated that 87% of businesses wish to reduce their learning costs. This wish comes true with microlearning. Since the duration of it is less, the method also requires less time and fewer resources for delivery and preparation. As a result of this, the production cost reduces and the development cycle is shortened as well.

Updating a module is easier in microlearning due to its design. Since modules don’t affect each other in this method of learning, businesses end up spending resources more efficiently. Also, as microlearning works well for numerous stages ranging from pre-training to during-training, long term value can be achieved at a minimal cost. 


6. Supports Just-in-Time Learning

Sitting for hour-long presentations on dull topics such as company policies is arduous for anyone and everyone. Even if the topic is mildly interesting, long lecture sessions make them boring. Companies cannot always afford to take employees away for training. This is where the benefit of microlearning kicks in. 

Microlearning believes in the theory of ‘just-in-time’ learning. This entails that learning is available based on demand and when learners need it. Hence, they can engage in learning at their own pace and whenever it might prove most valuable to communicate more efficiently. Learners get the chance to receive just the information they need, with microlearning’s targeted approach. This makes microlearning ideal for corporate training for skills, tasks, and even safety, as it revolves around the transfer of knowledge. 

Summing Up

Microlearning has been changing the world of training and education for a very long time, and thanks to the various advancements in technology, its applications and everyday uses grow with every passing minute. Once a tool for the world of academia, microlearning is now creating waves in the corporate sectors, aiding in skill development, faster onboarding, and retention of knowledge. 

Regardless of whether you’re a professional in this field or are just starting out, each and every individual can reap the benefits of microlearning. As millennials continue to populate the workforce, the demand for microlearning is only going to keep increasing – bite-sized moments of upskilling to complement a busy, modern lifestyle. At VP Legacies, we develop microlearning tools to fit your corporate needs. Get started with us to boost personal connection and internal communication in the workplace.

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019

What is eLearning and How is it Changing the World?

What is eLearning and How is it Changing the World? 749 499 VP Legacies

Technology knocks down traditional barriers to learning by providing accessibility and a chance to connect meaningfully. Classrooms are no longer limited to four walls and a blackboard. eLearning takes cognitive development above and beyond, giving students the liberty to receive their education in more flexible and engaging ways.

Companies and organizations across the globe utilize eLearning tools to foster employee connectivity by reinvigorating the learning process and helping them develop both task-based and communication skills. Online training programs create a framework for employees to learn, as well as process the kind of professional development that happens all the time at work, directly translating into employee satisfaction and retention. VP Legacies helps your company develop the eLearning tools to help your business reach its bottom line while reminding your employees how much you value their professional growth, both for your good and theirs. Here’s our guide to what eLearning is.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

What is eLearning?

eLearning can be defined as a learning system that entails the combination of formalized teaching and technological resources. The use of computers and the internet led to the development of eLearning. It enables the transfer of skills and knowledge beyond just physical classrooms, with a large number of recipients receiving education either at the same time or different times. 

eLearning has proven to be an especially useful resource for companies and businesses, helping learners and users achieve their training objectives with ease and flexibility. eLearning employs an assortment of techniques, such as presentations, quizzes, surveys, audio-visual recordings, discussion groups, and so on. These modes of learning enhance corporate learning that might occur in physical spaces and during day-to-day task completion. Providing an extra platform for learning helps employees connect with each other and communicate shared goals.

Using a learning management system (LMS), eLearning courses can be published online. Course creators are able to streamline all the content in eLearning into an accessible location with the use of LMS. There are quite a few eLearning trends that are pretty popular. Some of them are as follows:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the strongest elements in eLearning in 2019. Using the past modules, AI deciphers the behavior of the learner, along with his/her strengths and weaknesses. This allows it to personalize the learning for the user by recommending them certain modules. 

These modules are selected with the aim of filling the gaps that exist in the learner’s knowledge. Chatbots are available round the clock, and they take the responsibility of a lot of admin work, including onboarding the learners. The ease and accessibility of AI along with its smaller workload makes it a preferred approach, using automation to fill employees in on mundane tasks so that executives, administrators, and managers can focus on personal connections with employees when it truly matters.

  • Microlearning: Microlearning is a go-to option for numerous organizations to use small amounts of learning to boost knowledge retention more easily and more regularly. These smaller modules are object-driven and high on impact. 

The modules can be implemented on various devices, and are easy to be repeated and updated whenever required. They can also be made more interactive by using quizzes, games, infographics, and the likes. Learning tools that are logistically easier to access mean that they can better integrate with employees’ day-to-day routine, preventing self-isolation and allowing personal connections to continue.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

  • Mobile Learning and Videos: Any visual medium allows us to remember easily, and that’s why videos are so integral to eLearning. In addition to making learning more visually pleasing, they are more interactive. Also, using elements such as realistic scenarios, challenges, decision times, and characters, further boost knowledge retention. That’s why at VP Legacies, we create video content tailored to your company’s brand.

With mobile learning, the communication between the learner and the manager increases. It enables the manager to always be around to answer any queries the learner might have, and be available as a collaborative resource rather than an authoritative instructor.

  • Gamification: In addition to improving retention levels and engagement, gamification has also proven to accelerate sales and business performance. Employees engage in the process of learning in exchange for rewards. Plus, this makes learning become more of a social interaction and a chance for connection rather than a dull module to sit through. It boosts the motivation of the learner and leads to a positive behavioral change. 

Find out more about VP Legacies Custom eLearning Development.

Benefits of eLearning

The fact that eLearning saves training costs is a known fact. However, it also has many other benefits. Some of them are as follows:

Create Higher Engagement

The eLearning methods are more engaging. Utilizing various formats, ranging from text and videos, to animation and gamification, allows employees to feel connected to their company in new dimensions. Since every user reacts to learning differently, this mix of learning methods proves to be very useful.

Eliminate Travel Costs

Companies usually end up spending millions on having instructors and employees fly in to participate in a particular course. The cost of scheduling classes and sourcing trainers is quite hefty. These costs are eliminated through eLearning, since online courses can be conducted within a much smaller budget. This is also why so many companies are able to work with teams from all around the world, increasing the chances for overseas connection and collaboration.

Centralize Programs to One Location

The training processes and requirements vary from department to department in every organization. As a result of this, training programs can feel aimless or lack cohesion. eLearning helps to centralize these programs with one accessible location. Furthermore, our eLearning programs at VP Legacies seamlessly integrate your company’s goals and philosophy to encourage personal connections between employees with shared interests and goals.

Provide up-to-date training

The condition of the marketplace is constantly changing. Due to this, organizational training needs to be agile enough to catch up with those changes on a real-time basis. eLearning provides agility as it updates the training demands within an organization, and upgrades it so that the business stays current with the current trends.

Onboard New Users Immediately

eLearning makes the onboarding of new users simple. Instead of having to wait for the next in-person class, learners can just join in and start learning from day one. This way, everyone stays updated and can actively contribute to the growth of the organization.

Track Business Objectives Faster

Through eLearning, companies get to view how a program is impacting their business KPIs. If you decide beforehand the goals you wish to achieve through eLearning, you’ll be able to reach and track your business objectives at an accelerated pace. 

Seamlessly Educate Employees During Shutdowns

Equipment failures, system shutdowns, and lengthy maintenance repairs can all throw off a company’s best laid plans at any time. A recent Gartner survey found that the average business loses $5,600.00 per minute during IT downtimes. That translates to over $300K per hour! How can a company avoid wasted time and lost profits during unplanned shutdowns?

eLearning can be an effective solution in times of unexpected downtime or any other events that inhibit smooth operations at a company. With an established eLearning program, employees can access training sessions and join meetings anywhere in the building or from home, which means no more waiting for repairs, no wasted time, and continued productivity for your company.

Continue to Train New Employees During a Pandemic

eLearning allows companies to be prepared for any unexpected pandemic situation, COVID-19 or otherwise. In the event that employees are encouraged to work from home, new employees can continue to learn and become oriented with company procedures from a remote location. They have the opportunity to acquire new skills and start work immediately from home, while following CDC protocol and staying safe and healthy. This ability to maintain connectivity with new employees will keep them engaged and ready to hit the ground running once operations are up and running again.

At VP Legacies, we help you stay calm, cool, and prepared in the face of any emergency with up-to-date technology at your fingertips.

Maintain Partnerships 

Business Insider reported that “The spread of the coronavirus has caused several of the most important tech conferences to be canceled, likely resulting in numerous missed partnership opportunities.” The full impact of COVID-19 on businesses worldwide is still uncertain but it’s undeniable that companies must find a way to conduct conferences and meetings to maintain workflow and partnership with other businesses. eLearning technology allows companies to share information, connect with partners, and make presentations safely and remotely.

Conduct Internal Meetings

An eLearning program also allows companies to conduct important internal meetings from home. More than ever, and especially during a global pandemic situation, there is a need to share vital information amongst your staff. Connectedness, communication, inclusivity are crucial to the well-being of any company. An interactive informational session presented through an eLearning program will not only show your employees you care, but also keep them informed and inspired to stay on task. 

For more on staying connected in the midst of a global pandemic, check out VP Legacies’ course here.

Stay prepared through natural disasters

If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that companies must prepare ahead of time for the unexpected. Pandemics aside, natural disasters and other catastrophes can lead to extensive shutdowns and halt operations for indefinite periods of time. Building and equipment repairs can extend that period even more.

Stay prepared with an eLearning program that allows companies to  connect with employees and continue to educate and train them with interactive and engaging content. Meetings, trainings, and conferences conducted through an eLearning platform will motivate staff during a challenging time.

Summing Up

Several organizations, educational institutions, and corporations have started employing eLearning to replace or enhance their traditional methods of learning and development. eLearning enables organizations around the world to help employees grow and communicate meaningfully with others at their organization. 

With the help of eLearning, companies are able to multiply the knowledge and productivity of their workers, as well as create seamless modes of internal communication. So any institution looking to bring about growth and progress in today’s era should definitely look at eLearning to attain the best possible results. Check out our offerings at VP Legacies to start using eLearning to engage your employees.Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

10 Best eLearning Tools Online

10 Best eLearning Tools Online 775 506 VP Legacies

Learning is a never-ending process for businesses and their employees. In the corporate environment, where hiring new talent is increasingly expensive and cumbersome, eLearning can help engage employees and foster a sense of collaboration and personal connection in the workplace. The best investment a company can make in itself is in it’s employees, and eLearning can simultaneously help employees further develop their skills and boost employee retention. Upskilling existing employees has never been easier and more scalable thanks to the burgeoning eLearning industry.

Learning is a never-ending process for businesses and their employees. In the corporate environment, where hiring new talent is increasingly expensive and cumbersome, eLearning can help engage employees and foster a sense of collaboration and personal connection in the workplace. The best investment a company can make in itself is in it’s employees, and eLearning can simultaneously help employees further develop their skills and boost employee retention. Upskilling existing employees has never been easier and more scalable thanks to the burgeoning eLearning industry.

At VP Legacies, we use multi-modal media tools to improve internal communication and empower your employees to learn new skills and undertake new roles. Here, we will walk you through some tried-and-tested eLearning tools for leaders and their employees to advance their careers with the best possible platforms to understand and develop new methods of leadership/vocational skills and best practises relevant in today’s day and age.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

Why eLearning?

While physical meetings and reading materials can also expand employee skills sets, these strategies alone pose barriers of location, time, and even engagement. eLearning skills make resources available to you at the click of a button. These platforms offer many logistical and strategic benefits, like helping employees in other offices feel in the loop, supplementing ongoing learning during conferences, and allowing employees a greater sense of flexibility. Participants can often choose the course of their liking and the topic of their choice, and  complete modules in their desired timeframe without feeling overburdened.

The requirements for executives and other upper level employees are vastly different from those just starting out. This is why the tools listed below act as a great resource point for tailored learning according to both employee position and company-wide goals. 

What Determines A Good eLearning Course? 

Just like any other course, an eLearning course or platform must have a well-rounded approach that will enable everyone in a company to grow. It should also encourage communication and connection rather than give employees a reason to isolate themselves at their desks.

A good eLearning tool should be well-focused, but also well-informed – drawing from multiple sources and knowledge bases in order to reach a high degree of depth and nuance. An eLearning course drafted by experts with credibility in their area of expertise communicates information in an informative but easy-to-understand manner. In addition to these factors, there are elements you should consider according to your company’s brand and goals before starting the eLearning journey. 

Every eLearning tool has its own USP and key differentiating factors. Here’s a list with the top 10 eLearning tools that help with leadership, management and enthusiastic productivity at your company.

Top eLearning Tools 

VP Legacies

The courses and tools here at VP Legacies emphasize the importance of personal connection and internal communication in the workplace. Humans are what make a business successful, and leaders can tackle the countless problems that arise on a daily basis by keeping everyone on the same page. Our resources at VP Legacies address a wide range of topics ranging from methods to reduce employee turnover to developing an efficient communication strategy and everything in between.

As a business leader, you know the importance of communication both within your organization and outside. As such, the educational material across multiple e-platforms recognizes helps develop vital skills for communication and connection that have a positive, long-lasting effect on the relationships and workflow at your company.

Find out more about VP Legacies Custom eLearning Development.

Teachable

Alt Text: Teachable homepage eLearning guide

Teachable help creates courses with a user-friendly interface. Students can sign up to a school, view curriculums and previews, and purchase the courses. It only takes a few clicks, and clients will get a fully functional school with payment gateways, sales, marketing tools, and learning management.

Since content is the greatest asset for any business, Teachable implements top-notch virtual classroom experience, powerful website customization capabilities, and other personalized features.

With Teachable, clients can customize their online school with an innovative user interface and design lectures, homepage, and a sales page that fits their needs. In addition to that, clients can fully optimize the mobile and web platforms to offer students with a captivating learning experience across tablets, smartphones, and desktop. The whole idea is to create a website that looks stunning and functional in any device.

With a power editor, clients can code and modify a particular aspect of the online school. With their state of the art technology, clients can now let their ambition fly to the top.

Kajabi

Alt Text: Kajabi screenshot eLearning guide

The fantastic part about Kajabi is that clients can access their products, website, community, marketing, and much more from a single dashboard. They can manage and reach their subscribers with customizable emails built with creative visuals to send gorgeous messages with videos, countdown timers, and automation to everyone.

Clients can connect their marketing, products, and content in one place. This will create an effortless experience so that people can focus on their business instead of the tech aspect. 

In less than a minute, clients can turn ideas into reality with endless flexibility and customizable designs for their webpage. They can customize the prices, packages, and delivery with a single click.

 The campaign function can help automate, optimize, and scale the business so that clients can focus on other essential aspects of their business. It’s the combination of automation and platform integration that helps business owners thrive and implement a story and personal experience to their audience without too much effort.  

With Kajabi, clients can tag people based on personal notes and behaviors so that they can implement the data for marketing purposes. 

The platform also offers a straightforward integration system with Paypal and Stripe so that clients can get paid effortlessly. The service provides one-click upsell or one-time trial payment plans along with a variety of other options for an unforgettable experience. Kajabi also has services where clients can analyze data to make informed decisions. They can check out the user forecasting, reports, progress tracking, and observe customer engagements.

The mobile app system provides customers with full access to the content to create more connections, better engagement experience, and learning tools to connect with the audience and community.

CoachReady

CoachReady is one of the first online coaching website, boasting over 10 years of experience in online coaching for executives. Their specialized coaching tools, courses and one on one interactions are what sets them apart. Their strategy focuses on building connections between employees and realizing the changing scenario in today’s corporate world in order to make key business decisions.

edX

Founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX hosts a large database of courses that help business leaders. With over 550 courses in 10+ languages, edX has created an easy to access database for eLearning. With topics like ‘Storytelling in the workplace’ and others that deal with corporate culture and the importance of different communication strategies for executives, edX is one of the top eLearning tools for today’s leaders.

The self-paced courses make it easy for busy professionals to learn and develop their skills at their own convenience and according to their own schedule.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn is the go-to place for all things professional. This social media network has carved its presence in the corporate scenario all over the world. LinkedIn Learning is a comprehensive tool for professionals to develop a myriad of skills. Its ‘Leadership and Management’ course, for instance, helps executives undergo professional development with efficiency and strong leadership in mind. It focuses on topics such as ‘Giving and Receiving Feedback’ and ‘Managing Team Conflict,’ which are core topics for internal communication.

The learning courses are drafted and presented by executives who are leaders in their space, taking the time to share their knowledge with other upper-level employees across different industries. 

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

Coursera

A course database for all kinds of audiences, Coursera lets business leaders gain access to resources that will help them develop and enhance employee management skills, become a source of positive thinking for their teams, and develop their influencing abilities within an organization. The leadership and management courses at Coursera are developed by institutions from across the globe to provide a holistic approach to learning in the workplace.

Coursera is a well-known eLearning platform with a track record of providing certifiable and reliable resources for leadership and management. Coursera’s specialization courses on topics like ‘Leading People and Teams’ and ‘Dynamic Public Speaking’ are useful tools for developing corporate communication strategies.

IIDM

IIDM, or The International Institute of Directors and Managers, is home to a vast resource center that includes topics discussed by top CEOs and managers all across the globe. Their monthly roundup of ‘Top CEO issues’ provides a central place to understand common pain points faced by leaders from all over the world. Along with that, they possess a good number of resources on the importance of communication and the right way to tackle tricky situations through collaboration. Their eLearning platform also includes video resources and webinars along with excerpts from top business books.

Class Central

The eLearning platform, Class Central, provides access to free online courses and MOOCs from the University System of Maryland, Universitat Politècnica de València, University of the Witwatersrand, École Centrale Paris and other universities. Many courses in Class Central focus on personal communication, like their course ‘How Managers Can Learn from Philosophy’ and ‘Different Ways to Implement Positive Change in an Organization.’

MindTools

The great thing about this eLearning tool is that they offer a wide variety of kinds of resources. These include articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, quizzes, book insights, expert interviews, and more. They cater only to those looking to develop their leadership and management skills along with other aspects of management like personal effectiveness skills.

Their resource center is 2400+ strong. The introspective nature of their diverse media and the variety of learning categories makes this a worthwhile eLearning platform that’s intuitive to use and clearly adds a recognizable value to the learning process. The platform has courses on topics like ‘How Approachable Are You?’ and ‘Common Communication Mistakes,’ both essential topics for improved corporate internal communication and engagement. 

 CatalystX

CatalystX has an inclusive approach when it comes to learning. With today’s rapidly shifting corporate atmosphere, inclusivity on the senior level is of the utmost importance. As a senior-level executive, one needs to be aware of and be informed about issues such as LGBT+ inclusion and workplace bias. 

The courses at CatalystX are heavily leaning towards these issues and help executives understand their importance and more importantly how to deal with them in the workplace. The materials are available in different languages such as English, Japanese, French, and more. 

Skillshare

Skillshare is a popular online learning community with contributors or teachers who have excelled in their respective fields. This video learning platform gives users the perfect opportunity to learn from their peers through interactive videos. They have over 24,000 courses, many of which include many business and leadership focused segments.

Learn ‘How to Give and Get Honest Feedback’ along with ‘Mistakes to Avoid for Leaders’. Their vast variety of leadership and executive-level topics make it a great resource for anyone who is at a senior level and wants to expand their knowledge while leveraging their experience.

In Conclusion

There are few things in life as enriching as absorbing knowledge and bettering one’s communication abilities. Learning doesn’t stop at the executive level. In fact, in such a dynamic and ever-expanding corporate landscape, it’s more critical than ever that seasoned employees better their skills and expand their repertoire. 

The thirst for knowledge and the quest for learning is why CEOs are CEOs. The list above is a compilation of various eLearning tools that help business leaders and employees across numerous aspects of leadership and management, all the way from workplace inclusivity to personal and internal communication development. 
Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

Learning is a never-ending process for businesses and their employees. In the corporate environment, where hiring new talent is increasingly expensive and cumbersome, eLearning can help engage employees and foster a sense of collaboration and personal connection in the workplace. The best investment a company can make in itself is in it’s employees, and eLearning can simultaneously help employees further develop their skills and boost employee retention. Upskilling existing employees has never been easier and more scalable thanks to the burgeoning eLearning industry.

At VP Legacies, we use multi-modal media tools to improve internal communication and empower your employees to learn new skills and undertake new roles. Here, we will walk you through some tried-and-tested eLearning tools for leaders and their employees to advance their careers with the best possible platforms to understand and develop new methods of leadership/vocational skills and best practises relevant in today’s day and age.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

Why eLearning?

While physical meetings and reading materials can also expand employee skills sets, these strategies alone pose barriers of location, time, and even engagement. eLearning skills make resources available to you at the click of a button. These platforms offer many logistical and strategic benefits, like helping employees in other offices feel in the loop, supplementing ongoing learning during conferences, and allowing employees a greater sense of flexibility. Participants can often choose the course of their liking and the topic of their choice, and  complete modules in their desired timeframe without feeling overburdened.

The requirements for executives and other upper level employees are vastly different from those just starting out. This is why the tools listed below act as a great resource point for tailored learning according to both employee position and company-wide goals. 

What Determines A Good eLearning Course? 

Just like any other course, an eLearning course or platform must have a well-rounded approach that will enable everyone in a company to grow. It should also encourage communication and connection rather than give employees a reason to isolate themselves at their desks.

A good eLearning tool should be well-focused, but also well-informed – drawing from multiple sources and knowledge bases in order to reach a high degree of depth and nuance. An eLearning course drafted by experts with credibility in their area of expertise communicates information in an informative but easy-to-understand manner. In addition to these factors, there are elements you should consider according to your company’s brand and goals before starting the eLearning journey. 

Every eLearning tool has its own USP and key differentiating factors. Here’s a list with the top 10 eLearning tools that help with leadership, management and enthusiastic productivity at your company.

Top 10 eLearning Tools 

VP Legacies

The courses and tools here at VP Legacies emphasize the importance of personal connection and internal communication in the workplace. Humans are what make a business successful, and leaders can tackle the countless problems that arise on a daily basis by keeping everyone on the same page. Our resources at VP Legacies address a wide range of topics ranging from methods to reduce employee turnover to developing an efficient communication strategy and everything in between.

As a business leader, you know the importance of communication both within your organization and outside. As such, the educational material across multiple e-platforms recognizes helps develop vital skills for communication and connection that have a positive, long-lasting effect on the relationships and workflow at your company.

Find out more about VP Legacies Custom eLearning Development.

CoachReady

CoachReady is one of the first online coaching website, boasting over 10 years of experience in online coaching for executives. Their specialized coaching tools, courses and one on one interactions are what sets them apart. Their strategy focuses on building connections between employees and realizing the changing scenario in today’s corporate world in order to make key business decisions.

edX

Founded by Harvard University and MIT, edX hosts a large database of courses that help business leaders. With over 550 courses in 10+ languages, edX has created an easy to access database for eLearning. With topics like ‘Storytelling in the workplace’ and others that deal with corporate culture and the importance of different communication strategies for executives, edX is one of the top eLearning tools for today’s leaders.

The self-paced courses make it easy for busy professionals to learn and develop their skills at their own convenience and according to their own schedule.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn is the go-to place for all things professional. This social media network has carved its presence in the corporate scenario all over the world. LinkedIn Learning is a comprehensive tool for professionals to develop a myriad of skills. Its ‘Leadership and Management’ course, for instance, helps executives undergo professional development with efficiency and strong leadership in mind. It focuses on topics such as ‘Giving and Receiving Feedback’ and ‘Managing Team Conflict,’ which are core topics for internal communication.

The learning courses are drafted and presented by executives who are leaders in their space, taking the time to share their knowledge with other upper-level employees across different industries. 

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

Coursera

A course database for all kinds of audiences, Coursera lets business leaders gain access to resources that will help them develop and enhance employee management skills, become a source of positive thinking for their teams, and develop their influencing abilities within an organization. The leadership and management courses at Coursera are developed by institutions from across the globe to provide a holistic approach to learning in the workplace.

Coursera is a well-known eLearning platform with a track record of providing certifiable and reliable resources for leadership and management. Coursera’s specialization courses on topics like ‘Leading People and Teams’ and ‘Dynamic Public Speaking’ are useful tools for developing corporate communication strategies.

IIDM

IIDM, or The International Institute of Directors and Managers, is home to a vast resource center that includes topics discussed by top CEOs and managers all across the globe. Their monthly roundup of ‘Top CEO issues’ provides a central place to understand common pain points faced by leaders from all over the world. Along with that, they possess a good number of resources on the importance of communication and the right way to tackle tricky situations through collaboration. Their eLearning platform also includes video resources and webinars along with excerpts from top business books.

Class Central

The eLearning platform, Class Central, provides access to free online courses and MOOCs from the University System of Maryland, Universitat Politècnica de València, University of the Witwatersrand, École Centrale Paris and other universities. Many courses in Class Central focus on personal communication, like their course ‘How Managers Can Learn from Philosophy’ and ‘Different Ways to Implement Positive Change in an Organization.’

MindTools

The great thing about this eLearning tool is that they offer a wide variety of kinds of resources. These include articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, quizzes, book insights, expert interviews, and more. They cater only to those looking to develop their leadership and management skills along with other aspects of management like personal effectiveness skills.

Their resource center is 2400+ strong. The introspective nature of their diverse media and the variety of learning categories makes this a worthwhile eLearning platform that’s intuitive to use and clearly adds a recognizable value to the learning process. The platform has courses on topics like ‘How Approachable Are You?’ and ‘Common Communication Mistakes,’ both essential topics for improved corporate internal communication and engagement. 

 CatalystX

CatalystX has an inclusive approach when it comes to learning. With today’s rapidly shifting corporate atmosphere, inclusivity on the senior level is of the utmost importance. As a senior-level executive, one needs to be aware of and be informed about issues such as LGBT+ inclusion and workplace bias. 

The courses at CatalystX are heavily leaning towards these issues and help executives understand their importance and more importantly how to deal with them in the workplace. The materials are available in different languages such as English, Japanese, French, and more. 

Skillshare

Skillshare is a popular online learning community with contributors or teachers who have excelled in their respective fields. This video learning platform gives users the perfect opportunity to learn from their peers through interactive videos. They have over 24,000 courses many of which include many business and leadership focused segments.

Learn ‘How to Give and Get Honest Feedback’ along with ‘Mistakes to Avoid for Leaders’. Their vast variety of leadership and executive-level topics make it a great resource for anyone who is at a senior level and wants to expand their knowledge while leveraging their experience.

In Conclusion

There are few things in life as enriching as absorbing knowledge and bettering one’s communication abilities. Learning doesn’t stop at the executive level. In fact, in such a dynamic and ever-expanding corporate landscape, it’s more critical than ever that seasoned employees better their skills and expand their repertoire. 

The thirst for knowledge and the quest for learning is why CEOs are CEOs. The list above is a compilation of various eLearning tools that help business leaders and employees across numerous aspects of leadership and management, all the way from workplace inclusivity to personal and internal communication development. 
Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

A Guide to Effective Crisis Communication

A Guide to Effective Crisis Communication 767 508 VP Legacies

Crisis management is an umbrella term for an extensive portfolio of public relations professions. Among the sub-specialities of crisis management is crisis communication. Without it, you are unable to deploy your plan and maintain the trust of your employees. An internal communication plan must stress personal connection if your employees are to remain loyal to your brand and help you whether the storm. With our expertise in strategic communication and helping companies build personal connections to help businesses reach their bottom line and retain employees, here’s our guide for communicating during a crisis.

What is crisis communication?

Crisis communication is the process of defending the reputation of a person, company or organization that is under attack or public scrutiny for their actions. This involves internal messaging to build a strategy and mitigating internal damage, and external messaging to maintain public image. It involves quick, concise and proactive communication to respond to the allegations and build a better narrative. Remember, first things come first. Internal communication is the first step to a crisis communication plan. Once all of your employees are on the same page, you can more effectively craft messages with uniform tone for the public to read, watch, or listen to.

It’s crucial to note that it’s inadvisable to spin a story when you’re at fault, although some unscrupulous entities take that route. Proper crisis communication is built from integrity and honesty, including apologies when needed and explanations with facts where they need to defend themselves.

Crisis communication is a key factor for Fortune 500 companies like ExxonMobil, which until today remains one of the largest publicly-traded companies in the U.S. – despite accusations against the company influencing the United State’s foreign policy, neglecting human rights issues raised against them, and fighting proven data about climate change and global warming. Through crisis management, Exxon managed to recover, adjust and continue to do business. While they’re still a prominent and influential company, their production has steadily been in decline. Their declining profit margins are in part due to poor crisis management. They were unable to effectively regain the trust of the public.

Some employees have even sued ExxonMobile because of unsafe working conditions. Companies must prove they have learned from crises, especially if they have a direct effect on the safety of employees. A crisis communication plan must communicate to its employees that they are taking steps to mitigate crisis, and maintain a personal connection to let employees know their voices matter.

Crisis communication focuses on these three areas.

  1. Issues management  
  2. Risk communication
  3. Reputation management

Issues management

Issues can create a crisis, which is why it is essential to have a grasp on issue management. When a problem is managed, it means the stakeholders in the crisis known what actions are being taken. The crisis management team immerses in rectifying the situation and every action taken by the affected party is scrutinized for potential problems. Essentially, stakeholders define and control the issue through targeted communication. 

Even when stakeholders are at the executive or management level, it is important to take stock of potentially less obvious effects on other employees. Make sure that you keep everyone in the loop as much as possible without creating panic or exposing confidential information. 

Risk communication

This area concerns how messages from the party in crisis are communicated to others. There should be an understanding of how the public or other affected stakeholders apportion responsibility for the problem to craft an appropriate risk communication strategy. Remember that external communication stems from internal communication, and reinforcing a strong personal connection between employees can help make sure everyone maintains consistent, honest messaging.

Reputation management

This is where the crisis communication team begins to restore the reputation of the affected entity. It should be subtle and compassionate where it needs to be. The example of ExxonMobil is a notable example because, despite the fact that their oil spill of 1989 in Alaska caused so much environmental damage, they didn’t take much responsibility and instead continued lobbying for denial of data about global warming and climate change. 

Three decades later, they remain one of the most unpopular companies on the planet. This is not because of the oil spill, but because of their response to environmental issues thereafter. Their communication strategy did not leave room for accepting blame, and instead avoided the issue while failing to do ample damage control. As we can see from the employees who sued ExxonMobil, accepting the blame is not just a PR strategy, but a way to prevent future crises. 

What could go wrong?

When a company is doing well, the thought of a crisis is often the last thing on the CEO’s mind. It’s hard to picture what could go wrong when a business is burgeoning. But those are the very instances that an organization is caught flat-footed by an unforeseen crisis. Failing to have a crisis communication team and plan in place can be fatal for a business in this situation.

The necessary steps to implementing crisis communication are not complicated. However, a crucial factor towards effective crisis management hinges on being prepared even before a crisis ever hits. That means a company needs to implement efficient channels of communication and standard protocols long before a crisis occurs.

Because no one can predict a crisis and what form it may take, preparation cannot be overstated here. Depending on the type of company and services the organization offers, a team tasked with crisis communication should be trained to handle any issue deemed as a crisis. Such a unit is trained in credible response mechanisms in the event of any unpleasant circumstances that requires mitigation between the public or individuals and the company. But even if you hire a unit for crisis communication, make sure to communicate their strategies to the whole team.

There is no shortage of the number of issues in an organization that may require crisis communication. This can range from harassment allegations within the company from employees to any controversial company policies. Such issues can get very ugly very quickly if a business does not act quickly. Eventually, these situations cost a company untold individual losses should the public get wind of the allegations. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

Steps in a crisis

There are three elements present in all crises

  1. A threatening situation to the company, organization or individual
  2. Internal or external damage, shock, and threatened reputation
  3. Limited time to make a defining decision

The rule of thumb for any organization or influential individual is to never underestimate a thorny issue. It is prudent to have an in-house crisis management team that has a separate crisis communication arm. Their job is to monitor even the most mundane complaints and claims and develop strategies to deal with them before it’s too late to salvage a brand’s reputation. 

A CEO should consider the repercussions of not being prepared before a crisis, and act promptly by choosing whether or not to outsource crisis management or create a team in-house.

How to implement a crisis communication strategy

There are three fundamental steps to approach any crisis

  1. Pre-crisis preparation
  2. Mid-crisis implementation
  3. Post-crisis strategy

Pre-crisis preparation

Foresee a crisis

All businesses will have a crisis at one time or another. Those that emerge on the other side are those that have prepared with ample planning and communication. Anticipating a crisis will help you develop a team and strategies to deal with any fallout. It may also help the company identify loopholes that can expose the organization to potential crises.

Choose a crisis communication team

A crisis communication team should comprise of high-level executives with an in-depth understanding of the running of the organization. This is because they’re equipped with the necessary information to handle inquisition from the public and stakeholders. The CEO is definitely part of the team, as are the legal and PR teams. Departmental heads may be included depending on the scope of the crisis.

The crisis management team should do a vulnerability audit, which is a risk assessment to determine the weak areas in the organization that opens it up to a crisis. At the end of the vulnerability audit, the crisis communication team should develop a crisis communication plan that will guide the organization’s reaction to any crises that pop up. 

From the team, there should be a designated crisis spokesperson. The spokesperson must be equipped to handle themselves when under fire and be eloquent in all forms of media from public meetings to on-camera. Always remember, crisis communication is very different from proactive PR. In the former one is under fire and in the latter, they’re in friendly environments. The spokesperson needs the training to be able to get the message across in a manner that addresses the concerns of all involved.

Develop notification and alerting mechanisms

It is vital to have a way to notify or alert stakeholders about a crisis immediately after it’s detected. The notification can be as simple as a text message or a code that all the members for the crisis management team are aware of. Keeping everyone in the loop can prevent future damage. It is important to make sure that everyone in your company is on the same page and knows these procedures for crisis. Your internal communication plan should have a way to ensure that everyone has the necessary phone apps or technological means to stay up-to-date.

Mid-crisis implementation

Seek to understand the situation

Social media is a great place to monitor the conversation and feelings surrounding the crisis, allowing the crisis communication team can stay on the pulse. However, no one except the spokesperson should respond via the appropriate social media channels and with approved messages. 

Apologies to employees, clients, and the media must be heartfelt and genuine – however, explanations should rarely occur via social media. In most cases, crises are surprise occurrences, and the situation may still be unfolding, so information is scant. When asked about the crisis at this point, honestly point out that the situation is still evolving and the organization is keeping an eye on it. Once they have all the facts, they will release a statement or address the matter. 

This statement should be promptly, but not too soon that it’s hasty. It might be a good idea to create a template ahead of time for general crises and appoint specific employees to be in charge of writing and deploying the message. It’s important that not only executives understand the situation, but all employees. Improve personal connections with employees to motivate them to stay in the loop.

Once the problem has been identified, acknowledge the organization’s role in it and outline what is being done to rectify the situation. “No comment” is a very unsatisfactory answer that tends to fuel more outrage about the situation. A real apology keeps the conversation moving forward.

Listen to the team

This is not the time to be second-guessing each other. Remember, the organization has a guide about how to respond to the crisis, and it should take effect immediately. Instilling trust and loyalty among employees long before a crisis occurs is crucial. If employees like where they work, they’ll be more willing to stay active during the crisis management process.

The spokesperson only communicates publicly messaging that has been agreed upon, and that has gone through all the legal and PR teams checks and balances. These two teams will have crafted the best language for the spokesperson to use during this time.

Take action

After acknowledging the role of the organization in the situation, outline actionable steps that are being implemented. The actions must be substantial enough to make a discernible difference in the situation. For example, in cases of fraud, restitution of the stolen funds is crucial to restoring public confidence in the company or organization.

Acting fast is essential at this point in the crisis because what is done can quickly restore faith or make people lose faith in an organization or brand. For example, despite the unlikable reputation ExxonMobil has for lobbying for denial of climate change and global warming data, when the company had an oil spill in 2013 in an Arkansas suburb, they were quick to take responsibility, clean up the mess and pay up $5.07 million for the spillage. They talked less and did more, and with the help of PR images from their crisis communication team, the story faded faster.

Post-crisis strategy

Review the crisis

Once the crisis is contained, the crisis management team needs to review the entire process from the notification and alerting system to the response guide, messaging and imparting of approved information and the monitoring of all the media channels. Identify the areas that need improvement and fine-tune those areas. Make sure internal communication persists and everyone understands the external message to be deployed.

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019

Bring in communication specialists

At this point, it’s a good idea to bring in a third party subject specialist to work with the team on bettering the crisis response mechanisms. A communications specialist helps the organization work on internal strategies for a better response internally and externally to crises.

They will work in conjunction with the crisis communication team at first to set up the proper communication strategies that will work even better than before.

When to outsource for crisis communication

Sometimes an organization doesn’t have the kind of human resources that can make up a resourceful, formidable crisis communications team. That is when there is a need to outsource these services. Such agencies inject:

Perspective

CEOs, the legal team and other executives have vested interests in the company and their individual reputation, which may cause them to lose perspective in times of a crisis. Crisis communication specialists provide an impartial voice and utilize the best practices in the situation in the best overall interest of the organization. 

Impartiality 

Third-party crisis communicators have the experience of doing similar damage control with other clients, so they offer their expertise without bias or favour. By being unbiased, they can make sure internal communication covers everyone. While it might seem contradictory, external parties can actually maximize personal connection.

Better ideas

In-house communication teams write with a bias towards either their department or their future aspirations in the company, which is why an outside team can help. Plus, a CEO may have excellent organizational skills when it comes to running the company, but they may not be the best communicator. In crisis management, the messages need to be shorter and more concise with more action to back up the words. These specialists understand that the more words are used in the messaging, the more there is to pick apart and misconstrue. They’ll keep the approved messaging short and precisely to the point so that there is no miscommunication.

Conclusion

A crisis shouldn’t mean the end of the organization, but it certainly can be if it is handled the wrong way. Having a crisis communication team is not just a good idea, nor even a great idea – it’s absolutely vital for a company to prepare for the worst.

That’s why at VP Legacies, we work with you to build an effective communication strategy during times of crisis. With our focus on personal connection and building trust, you’ll enlist all of your employees to play their role during crisis mitigation and find your way through with success.

Related: What Is the Best Strategy for CEO Communication

eLearning vs. Microlearning: What Are the Differences?

eLearning vs. Microlearning: What Are the Differences? 1050 700 VP Legacies

eLearning and microlearning are two forms of development resources that are quickly gaining prominence in workplaces today. As careers get busier and both time and poses a huge constraint, online learning modules are fast becoming the best way to learn and keep skills updated on-the-job continuously. Meanwhile, microlearning solves the issue of time by encouraging frequent and gradual growth. Keep in mind that the two are not mutually exclusive, and you can definitely incorporate both into your company’s learning and communication strategies to better engage your employees.

In this piece, we’ll dive into the fundamental principles of learning, how they’re used in online learning methods today, and dive into the two trending learning methods: eLearning and microlearning.

Related: Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences?

What is eLearning?

The capacity to learn is believed to be shaped by two essential factors: high mental functions and practical tools. Since learning involves a response to external stimuli, learning is an active, continuous process. That means that learning is not just a way to help employees develop skills, but encourage their connections with fellow colleagues and even improve retention rates.

Learning has come a long way from the 16th century when compulsory learning during childhood was introduced and special spaces (schools) were created for cognitive development. In the 21st century, online learning has changed the face of education, becoming more accessible without needing physical spaces.

eLearning is acquiring knowledge or education remotely or via the internet. It’s a formalized learning system that imparts a formal curriculum to recipients in different parts of the world at the same or different times. By utilizing electronic resources, access to education has become easier, granting users access to full courses taught completely online. Online resources can even increase personal connection within the workplace, giving people something to talk about that fosters a positive learning environment. Employees who are provided with eLearning opportunities by employers quickly become more productive, as their skills and expertise grows within the company and they continue to make valuable connections with their coworkers.

The Four Theories of Learning in the Digital Age

Even though online education has creatively circumvented the overhead charges that come with a traditional class setup, it still relies heavily on traditional learning methods. That means that digital learning used internally in any organization typically incorporate these four learning theories:

Cognitivism

Cognitivism is based on conscious thought, emotions, and other mental processes that promote cognitive development. According to this theory, being able to understand learning helps to find meaning in what is being taught. This, combined with previous knowledge, resulting in better productivity.

Cognitivism is a considerable part of eLearning, since the learners have to process their conscious thoughts and emotions by themselves. Their decision-making process is challenged, and so is their cognitive development. While solo thinking strikes a key part of cognitivism, it’s important to note that collaboration can enhance one’s cognitive abilities. You can incorporate eLearning tools into meetings, conferences, and other corporate events to help employees grow and learn together.

Behaviorism

Behaviorism determines how eLearners act educationally by focusing on measurable and defined goals. One’s behavior will determine how serious and dedicated and committed they are to their learning processes. In a traditional class, the presence of the teacher is motivation to be on the right behavior, but with online learning, personal accountability is key to approaching one’s education responsibly. With this in mind, eLearning courses and tools often create discussion topics and opportunities to encourage employees to interact with each other and boost their enthusiasm for learning.

Connectivism

eLearning is based on the theory of connectivism, which connects cognitive and behavior methodologies. It promotes collaboration between the tutors and students as well as real time feedback. Plus, online learning provides platforms where the student can be part of a massive and relevant community. Finding answers to questions is easier, and eLearning allows users to learn from several perspectives instead of from one instructor. eLearning works because it uses a seminar-like approach to foster discussion and connection rather than authoritative learning.

Although traditional classes also tap into connectivism, it’s not the same as building a community online and using eLearning tools to enhance in-person conversation. Employees using online courses to further their skills can simultaneously find answers to their questions, learn meaningful skills, and connect with their colleagues..

Constructivism

This theory promotes collaboration where eLearners build upon information outside of the electronic “classroom” set up. They can use chat rooms, blogs, and online forums to further arguments and share different perspectives away from the traditional approaches. This creative form of engagement creates new channels of internal communication that can re-enthuse employees.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is a kind of learning, often using eLearning capabilities, that works best for companies and organizations when training their staff. eLearning offers learners everything from a complete university course to learning how to operate a work-related application. Micro learning, on the other hand, offers small learning units to provide bite-sized training to employees over a long period of time. Micro-learning is touted as the best training model for organizations because it takes minimal time to impart essential and crucial knowledge while allowing employees to grow every day.

eLearning approaches education in its entirety from the theoretical aspect to increasing skills. Micro-learning, on the other hand, focuses more on providing skill-based knowledge in short training modules. 

Advantages of Microlearning

Has very defined goals

Microlearning breaks down complex ideas into simple parts that enable the learner to achieve their goals faster without distracting them from daily tasks. That means that the person using the training goes into the learning session with a specific objective.

Employee onboarding is a form of micro-learning and it’s effective in helping new hires understand the work process that comes with their job so they can be effective from day one. The objective here is to learn how to perform their duties, not learn about company culture or other departments. Nevertheless, the right micro-learning skills can achieve both at once, giving employees a chance to connect with their managers and colleagues on a small scale.

Faster to deliver

Because of the size of the trainings, it’s easier to deliver the information to the learner. Sitting through a short course means that one can concentrate better on the content compared to running through an hour-long course on the same subject. 

Also, shorter training enables employers to deliver any changes in information faster as their business goals change or new regulations are announced. While long training courses can often feel like a painful chore, micro-learning helps employees feel connected to the company by allowing them to achieve goals quickly and with minimal distraction from day-to-day tasks.

Better knowledge retention

Employees are able to retain knowledge from short training better, even if it’s complex. Micro-learning courses deliver 1-2 objectives to prevent confusion. Also, because the courses are short, learners can revisit them repeatedly as a reference point. 

Micro-learning units are typically self-contained, meaning one doesn’t need to look for the information anywhere else. Learners can take the training at their own pace since they only have to digest small chunks of information. Since micro-learning takes place over time, employees can reinforce goals little by little and incorporate what they’ve learned into their work each day.

Content is tailored to needs

Employees appreciate content that is tailored to their needs instead of sifting through general information to get nuggets that they can use. For example, a company may have an eLearning course for all employees and another has micro-learning modules that feature specific content for different departments. The latter will pass on information more efficiently to its employees because they are getting concise and actionable information relevant to their work and departmental goals. The former will have less success with employees focusing on relevant content to their work because they have so much information to sift through. 

At VP Legacies, our learning modules are tailored to you and can help departments reach specific goals while making sure company-wide goals are met. Our learning modules adhere to your brand in order to spearhead authentic engagement and connection between employees, while also offering individualized content for each module.

It caters to a majority

Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce, and they are first-generation digital natives. They better assimilate information when it’s disseminated electronically because it’s customized to their needs, it’s available on-demand and the learning platform is less formal than a traditional classroom. Bite-sized training meets all the above criteria, making them ideal for providing crucial training to the workforce.

To make micro-learning content even more appealing, trainers are opting to incorporate engagement boosting tactics into the format. They are creating micro-learning modules that look like social media content and also creating feedback channels that keep the audience engaged during the entire training. Micro-learning often incorporates eLearning because it’s accessible, using modes of communication that are proven to work. 

It matches the concentration span

A popular tactic in microlearning is launching straight into the how-to section of the training and eliminating sections about background information. This is information that the learner can access on their own. But the main reason behind this is that the human concentration span and memory capacity is best when the information is imparted for three to seven minutes. Training delivered within that time frame has a better chance of being absorbed and understood.

Also, there are interruptions that come with a work environment, like phone calls or queries that need to be answered. Typically, employees can work for eleven minutes uninterrupted. A module that lasts seven minutes is ideal because it prevents employees from self-segregating while trying to complete long sessions. Short training allows them to go about their day and interact with others rather than feel like they’re behind in terms of learning.

Cost-effective

Micro-learning trainings can be less expensive compared to the lengthier eLearning courses. Learning developers reduce the time spent on the course by 50% when they create a micro-learning course. This impacts the bottom line, since more learners get valuable and concise information that developers have had more time to polish. 

Advantages of eLearning

Facilitates better employee retention

eLearning courses without micro-learning are more detailed and educational, providing knowledge that would be expensive and hard-to-find for individuals on their own. As employees seek to become more knowledgeable, they will stay with a company that is willing to pay for their training and education. eLearning sends them the message that their employers care about them and their growth, and is willing to go out of their way to make them truly feel like a valuable asset to the company. By themselves, microlearning courses do not provide the scope of knowledge and education that a complete eLearning course can.

Find out more about VP Legacies Custom eLearning Development.

Has better scalability

eLearning courses can be scaled from an entry-level certificate to an advanced course as the employee grows in their knowledge and skills. A single, in-depth course can be translated into various languages and disseminated to a larger number of employees, effectively standardizing the caliber of productivity throughout the various branches of an organization.

Offers several learning options

eLearning utilizes different learning formats to cater to all learners. The same course can be available as a video, text, games and podcasts, among others. This caters to learners with different attention spans and learning preferences. That’s why at VP Legacies, our learning modules include video tools, written tools, and other forms of media.

Has in-depth information

Using assessment styles like case studies and quizzes give in-depth information that may be lacking in shorter modules like micro-learning courses. An eLearning course features background information, exercise and tests in addition to the thorough course work that comes along with it. There is adequate information to explain crucial parts of the course and impart background knowledge that enhances the learner’s skills on the ground.

Also, the body of information in an eLearning course remains relevant for longer unlike micro-learning content that can quickly change depending on departmental goals and changes. Choosing information-rich eLearning courses can help build a company’s identity and serve as a central knowledge hub for employee discussions that informs decision-making.

Related: Internal Communication Best Practices

Micro-learning: The Future of Employee Training

While eLearning alone focuses on broader and sometimes less tangible goals, microlearning can effectively train employees with skills in the workplace. That’s especially true if the organization adheres to these best practices

  1. Enable mobile access

Enabling mobile access to microlearning trainings allows employees to access the course while on the go. These trainings are effective if the employee can access them from anywhere at any time. The organization can go further and even enable offline access so employees can still use the resources away from the internet.

2. Use visuals and media

Having visuals and other media can make content more engaging and help employees retain vital information. It’s hard to concentrate on a wall of words, especially when dealing with a complex subject. Using videos and infographics can help employees to remain focused and understand the subject better. Microlearning provides an opportunity for companies to use visual aesthetics to show off its fun side.

3. Customize the course

The more relatable the training, the better reception it will receive. There is no one-size-fits-all model for microlearning resources. If one is working with the accounts department, customize the content to fit their mode of assimilating information. In this case, it may be using more numbers than words. Make sure the courses are adapted to the various departments in the organization. It’s also important to make sure the courses use the company’s brand voice and pillars. That’s why at VP Legacies, we take great care to make sure microlearning tools keep your company on the same page and stay connected

4. Keep it short and precise

Always keep the spirit of micro-learning alive when creating courses. These include short and precise training that last seven to ten minutes, simple language, customization to suit the audience and have clear defined goals.

Include only content that is relevant to the objective of the training, including images or videos. Everything that goes into the training should add value. To achieve this, it’s highly recommended to have as few objectives as possible. One objective is great because it’s simple and keeps the employees focused. The most number of objectives a micro-learning course should have is three and they must be very clearly laid out.

Executives should make sure that everyone at every level in a corporate team has access to continuous learning opportunities. Companies must train their staff so that they can remain relevant and successful in their industry. But it’s important to give employees the best chance of success with their training. 

A company that’s serious about employee learning should employ both eLearning and microlearning techniques to achieve various kinds of individual development. Traditional eLearning tools can help immerse employees into your company by creating opportunities for real connections over in-depth discussions, while microlearning boosts employee confidence by teaching them skills that they can use right away to meet company goals. At VP Legacies, we help you find and develop the right tools for your company, integrating the benefits of eLearning and microlearning into your employee growth initiatives.

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset

9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset 1080 675 VP Legacies

When it comes to your company’s most valuable asset, a lot of areas come to mind. Research and Development, marketing, or even a patent might take the top spot. But that’s not even close to your company’s most valuable asset. The answer is the tens, hundreds, or thousands of employees that make up the workforce of your company. In the 20th century, companies considered production equipment to be its most valuable asset.

However, today, it’s considered to be the knowledge of its employees and their productivity. All intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, intellectual property, brands, trademarks, and R&D are created by people. Therefore, people matter most to you and your business. They are the most essential contributors toward profits and shareholder value. That said, people are key assets for any organization. In today’s continuously changing business world, it is human assets, not the fixed or tangible assets that differentiate an organization from its competitors. The knowledge economy distinguishes one organization from another.

How people benefit your business

Employees champion your business and determine the success or failure of it. The work they do determines what customers and partners see, so it’s important for you to treat your employees with the value they bring. Employees leading an organization might be able to be replaced physically, but their skillsets and knowledge can’t be. This is because each person hired brings a different set of skills to the table even though the job yields the same set of skills.

Besides, the skillset of employees accounts for 85 percent of a company’s assets. Therefore, employee efficiency and talent determines the pace and growth of an organization. Organizations need to recognize the value their employees have and praise them accordingly. This includes their knowledge, expertise, abilities, skillsets, and experience. These are all invaluable and intangible assets for securing a future for the company. So when employees feel valued, they will gladly compete in the race and beat the competition.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Reasons employees are considered invaluable assets

1. Essential to providing goods or services.

Improving employee efficiency and performance are major priorities for an organization. Employees produce the final product, take care of finances, promote your business, and maintain the records for decision making.

2. Employees are the first customer of any organization.

If the organization does not have happy and satisfied employees, they will not deliver performance-oriented results. Therefore reducing the profits of the organization.

3. Employees give their 100 percent to any organization.

No matter what size the business is, success is the result of continuous hard and smart efforts put in by happy and valued employees. This results in keeping the organization going, competing with its competitors and elevating ahead of them all.

4. Employees are the face of an organization.

It’s the satisfaction level of your employees that matters the most. So, if an employee isn’t happy, she might spread a negative word about the organization, even after leaving it. What’s more, is that an unhappy employee will lack motivation and will not perform well, leading to unsatisfactory performance. This results in unachievable performance targets, low profits, and employee churn.

5. They are the nurturers of the organization.

Employees are the ones who give their heart and soul to an organization. Similar to how parents raise their children, employees nurture their organization with their values and endless efforts to take it to the top.

6. Skilled people with knowledge.

The most irreplaceable factors employees bring to the table are their skillsets. Their skills include training and development programs, experience in a specific field, and an understanding of companies’ cultures, systems, and work procedures.

7. Employees are the base of a strong and long-running organization.

Employees run the organization, no matter what level. This means their strength, commitment and dedication, and their emotional connection with the organization can’t be judged as assets in monetary value.

8. Motivated employees make a significant difference.

Employees reach new targets, meet customers’ demands and needs, develop new and innovative products, and perform enormous and huge efforts to achieve the company’s objectives.

9. Employees are major contributors to profits and worth of the organization.

It goes without saying, but employees can’t be given a monetary value for the effort they put in to help the business earn profits. This results in excellent customer reviews and creating brand loyalty from customers. Therefore, employees are the most valuable assets an organization has. It’s their abilities, knowledge, and experience that can’t be replaced. So, going forward, organizations need to place emphasis and importance on the contribution that employees that they have in order to propel themselves ahead.

Top Tips for Having a Tough Conversation with Your Boss

Top Tips for Having a Tough Conversation with Your Boss 1080 675 VP Legacies

Just like managers need to have tough conversations with their employees, employees need to have tough conversations with their bosses. Whether it’s a raise, a promotion, or an office conflict, employees need to feel like they can have tough conversations with their bosses without backlash.

As an employee, you want to feel empowered and confident to be able to speak to your boss. You want to build a relationship with your boss where they can be your mentor and advocate. Not only do you want to have that professional relationship, but you also want to have a personal relationship too. This relationship allows you to bring problems to their attention freely and openly.

Without further ado, here are six tips we have for having a tough conversation with your boss.

Explain the situation and context

One of the first steps when approaching your boss with a situation is to state your issue explicitly and give context around the issue. Your boss isn’t going to know what you’re thinking or feeling so you need to explain it to them. You also need to help them understand why you’re feeling a certain way and what prompted that.

Don’t waste time beating around the bush, just go straight into your issue. This doesn’t mean you’re being aggressive; you are just sharing facts from your point of view. By explaining your situation with “I” statements, you can explain your feelings to better explain your situation without coming off as aggressive.

Be honest and truthful

Though this may be a no-brainer, it’s a lot harder than you think to be honest and truthful when approaching your boss. While you want to exhibit candor, you don’t want to do so in a way that comes off as obnoxious. Be graceful and respectful when approaching your boss, choosing your words carefully. Don’t throw people under the bus or play the blame game. Make the conversation about you, not everyone else.

That being said, if something is bothering you, bring it up with your boss sooner rather than later. You don’t want to reach your tipping point before going to your boss with an issue. If you a non-confrontation person, this may be difficult for you because you anticipate the worst-case scenario if you do say something. However, it’s quite the opposite; it might be the best-case scenario if you have the courage to speak up.

Ask for your boss’s perspective

As an employee, you don’t have all the visibility into why your boss makes the decisions they do. You have no idea why they picked your co-worker for a project over you. That’s why it’s key to ask their perspective on the issue you bring to them. Don’t be afraid to ask them why they gave the project to your co-worker and ask what you can do next time, so you are at the top of the consideration list.

Go into the conversation with an open mind. Don’t think that your boss has it out for you because in most cases, they probably don’t. Finding out the reasoning behind their decisions can help you better understand their thought process. As a result, you might end up shifting your attitude and perspective to something more positive by the end of the conversation.

Make sure you reach a resolution and decide next steps

The worst thing you can do when talking to your boss is leaving the conversation unresolved. The whole purpose of meeting with your boss was to resolve the issue by the end of the conversation. You don’t want to leave anything unresolved. Use the time with your boss to bring up any and all issues to make sure you have answers for all of your concerns. Not only will laying everything out on the table will help with your conscious, but it will also help your boss’s too.

A way to do this is by assigning each party action items to complete. Maybe you need to follow up on something or your boss needs to talk to their supervisor. Whatever it is, make sure you decide what needs to get done before you end the conversation, so you have something to circle back on.

Ensure that you and your manager are in a trusting relationship

When talking with your manager, you want to make sure that you can trust them. Like a friend, you don’t want them to spread your conversation around as office gossip. You want to make sure they approach your conversation seriously and with full confidentiality.

In the case that you don’t trust your manager, reach out to another colleague in the company who you can trust and feel comfortable talking to. You want a good gut feeling about the person you’re talking to without questioning their level of trust. If employee-manager confidentiality becomes an issue, reach out to their supervisor to bring the issue to their attention.

Find a time to meet with your boss to make sure you have their full attention

Like many bosses, your boss is probably busy every day between meetings they have and work they need to get done. Set up your meeting with your boss at a time where you know you’ll have their full attention, so they can focus on the conversation with you without getting distracted by other work.

You also want to set up a meeting in person and in private. While a phone meeting is great, it doesn’t lend itself to emotion and body language, both of which convey how you are really feeling. Make sure your meeting is in a private room or your bosses office to have full confidentiality without the office hearing what you have to say.

It’s no easy feat talking to your boss. For some, it’s the hardest thing to do. However, it’s necessary to not only address conflict but build a relationship with your boss. With these tips, you’re sure to feel comfortable talking to your boss the next time a conflict comes up.

Key Takeaways from Recession-Proof Businesses

Key Takeaways from Recession-Proof Businesses 986 574 VP Legacies

It’s hard to start or operate a business, especially during a recession. That’s why people in an industry with an unpredictable market look for protective measures to weather the storm of economic downturns. Even if you started your business during a strong economy, a recession could quickly turn that successful business into a sweet memory. 

Some businesses, on the other hand, are essentially recession-proof. That means they either provide goods and services that people always need (perhaps even more during a recession), or their earnings are always low to moderate, so they always have to take extra precautions with their business strategies.

No matter the current financial health of your business, you never know what’s in store several years from now. In this article, we’re discussing some of the most popular recession-proof businesses and ways that you can learn from them to prepare yourself for the fluctuating economy. At VP Legacies, we believe in the power of communication. By learning how recession-proof businesses communicate effectively to maintain their cash flow and keep employees on board, you can learn how to help your company succeed in even the worst of times. By building personal connections through your communication strategies, you can help keep your business recession-proof.

Is there such a thing as a recession-proof business?

The short answer to that question is yes. During a recession, people turn towards cheaper product alternatives and certain financial services for assistance. 

If at one time someone shopped at a luxury boutique for their clothing, they may now turn to an outlet or department store. If they originally went to custom furniture manufacturers, they’d likely turn to retail furniture stores during a recession.

We will always need and want things, but where we get them will change during a recession. The best recession-proof businesses are discount purveyors who offer cheaper items at a lower price in whatever industry. 

Examples of recession-proof businesses

As we mentioned, the best recession-proof businesses are the ones that take an expensive offer that someone else has and they present it at a discounted price. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to lower your prices during a recession in order to stay afloat.

When audiences transition to a more affordable alternative, they’re likely to choose one they’ve already heard about. That means that the key to staying recession-proof is taking control of communication. Learn more about how recession-proof businesses use internal and external branding to prepare for tough years.

Food and Beverage


People need to eat regardless of what’s happening in the economy, but they don’t have the means to dine out as often. High-end restaurants take a significant hit during a recession because people stop eating out and start cooking at home more often. For that reason, grocery stores are also a solid business model during a recession. 

The grocery chain Hannaford owes its success to decentralized leadership. The 1980s recession hit many businesses in New England hard, but the company expanded into New York State and its profits increased to 18%. Its socio-technical model meant that both managers and employees had a say in hiring, pay scales, and rules – making sure that everyone felt heard. Because this fostered strong personal connection, employees were more likely to stay.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

Retail Consignment

We see more and more of these stores pop up all over the country. They are second-hand stores that offer clothing that is either previously worn or improperly designed. When people don’t have a lot of money, they turn to places like these to get their clothes. If you’ve ever heard of the clothing stores Gabes or Marshalls, these are great examples. 

TJ Maxx and Ross outperformed the entire retail industry during the Great Recession because they provided significant discounts. This has influenced the retail industry as a whole, causing consumers to expect deals and discounts constantly. When you enter either store, you’re likely to see advertisements reminding customers they’re doing themselves a favor by shopping there. In other words, customers feel valued when they get a bang for their buck.

Other businesses can extrapolate from this business model the principle of rewarding clients and customers. Instead of simply lowering prices, brands can use clear messaging to remind clients or customers why they chose them. By developing a communication strategy that clearly breaks down the services you provide and why they’re valuable, you can remind clients that they’re getting a good deal.

This strategy also applies to employees. You want your employees to feel just as valued as your customers since they’re the ones who keep everything running. Providing ample benefits and offering resources to attend training and conferences are just a couple of ways to do this.

Repair Industries

There will never come a time when things don’t break, and your car and home will always need someone to come and fix something. For contractors and mechanics, people are actually more prone to fixing something instead of replacing it during a tough economy. Areas like electronic and appliance repair struggle immensely during a good economy, but they thrive during a bad one. 

This factor is also true for automotive repair. The LA Times shared an article about a $36 billion increase in sales at automotive shops between 2010 and 2011. 

Places like Jiffy Lube can thrive during a recession because people will still get their oil changed. The company will advertise coupons and discounts to bring people in (meanwhile, their prices are still higher than your local garage). 

These businesses prosper because they feel absolutely necessary. In your branding, you should emphasize how your products or services are vital for expansion. By presenting your brand as a necessary tool instead of a nice-to-have perk, you’ll create a sense of urgency. But remember not to be too pushy. Like a good auto technician, you should present yourself with hospitality. Use branding to show the utility of your bottom line and to build personal connections with potential long-term clients.

Related: Crisis Management for Businesses

The impact of a recession on businesses

Economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. During a recession, we’ll experience job loss, income decline, reduction of manufacturing, and a reduced amount of spending in the marketplace.

Recessions impact all businesses big and small. For large businesses, stocks and dividends fall. When this happens, the investors who hold that stock may sell it and move their money to another stock that is performing well. This will only hurt the large business even more, which will lower the price of the company stock. 

Accounts receivable for both large and small companies will struggle as well. If customers are struggling to make ends meet and stay afloat, they will have a hard time paying bills, which can reduce or slow down revenues. Bankruptcies increase during recessions. From retail advertising and repair industries, we learn how rebranding your products and services in the context of a recession can show relevance. In turn, this helps your accounts payable remain stable.

Employee layoffs are common, and businesses will try to get more work out of each individual. This may lead to burnout and low morale by the employees left behind. Not to mention the employees who are without a job collecting unemployment benefits due to their layoff. As we can see in grocery employee management at Hannaford, communication between employees is vital to retain their trust. Whether to relay bad news or keep them at your company, communicating with true empathy can help you maintain your good name and stay afloat.

Tips for recession-proofing your business

While there is no straightforward answer to recession-proofing your business, there are some things you can do

  • Rebrand to focus on a discounted business model
  • Emphasize the ‘necessity’ of your business
  • Run with low overhead (people are less prone to judgment during hard economic times)
  • Involve employees in crisis conversations and strategic decisions
  • Minimize benefit cutbacks for employees
  • Do not cut back on internal or external marketing

Is there another recession on the horizon? 

As of the publishing of this article, the US economy is doing fine. Consumer confidence is relatively high, people continue spending money, and things are good. Does that mean this will last forever? 

Of course not. There are always warning signs, such as the recent international trade tariffs and political disagreement about financial policies.

Do we know if there is another recession coming? No, but using the tips in this article for strategic communication and branding during a recession will help you stay prepared. To consult with our skilled communication strategists, connect with us to find out more.
Related: 9 Reasons Why Your Employees Are Your Most Valuable Asset

What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan 1050 700 VP Legacies

The way an organization communicates internally can directly impact the quality of goods and services produced, ultimately affecting your company’s bottom line. Well thought out and effective internal communication models help employees feel valued and heard, in turn boosting productivity and ensuring a strong brand reputation inside and out.

An internal communication plan that hasn’t been given much thought can end up causing time lags in message delivery, resulting in delays and reduced efficiency. That can be the beginning of deteriorating relationships with customers and subsequent negative effects on the organization’s bottom line. VP Legacies values personal connections within the workplace to create an environment where your employees want to stay. By keeping employees happy and increasing retention rates, you can develop long-lasting professional relationships with quality employees, helping your business to grow.

 

What is an internal communication plan?

 

 

 

Simply put, it’s a plan that articulates how messages and information are disseminated across various departments to employees to help drive business outcomes for the organization.

 

Why do organizations need an internal communication plan?

There is a game played in many employee communication training sessions called ‘broken telephone’. It’s more of an experiment that shows how original information can be transformed by inaccuracies as it is relayed across a sea of employees.

The game starts with the facilitator whispering something to one of the participants, who in turn relays the message to the next person in a whisper. So if the training session has 30 attendees, all members will have relayed the message to the next person in a whisper. The facilitator will then ask the first and the last employee to receive the message to share what was relayed to them out loud with the rest of the group.

More often than not, the difference between the original message and what it becomes by the time it reaches the 30th employee in the session is laughable.

This silly yet fun game is a powerful illustration of how a clear message from the top of the organization can lose its original meaning by the time it is relayed to junior employees.

Although operational models of various organizations may differ, the need for correct and precise communication to be disseminated remains key to the successful meeting of any organization’s business goals. That is the reason why having an effective internal communication plan is paramount. Alongside accuracy, an internal communication plan must ensure that information actually reaches employees. By creating an environment with strong personal connections where all employees feel heard, they are more likely to listen to you.

The fundamental goal of most organizations is to turn in a profit. In the quest to meet and exceed bottom lines, initiatives to that end are set by management and hinge on every employees contribution towards that direction to achieve success.

An internal communication plan ensures that all departments and employees at different levels receive communications and understand the direction the company is taking. A solid communication plan also provides a clear layout for consistent, clear communication that keeps employees in the loop about your business’s goals. That puts them in an empowering position where they are able to take right actions that are aligned with achieving those goals.

With everyone pulling in the same, defined direction, it’s more likely that the business outcomes are met and perhaps exceeded.

 

Benefits of a communication plan

 

 

 

An internal communication plan empowers employees and makes them feel a part of something. In addition to integrating the team for increased productivity, implementing a communication plan can:

 

1. Create a yardstick for successful implementation

Internal communication plans aid an organization in prioritizing communication strategies and when they should be implemented. They also help measure the value of already implemented communication strategies, and the positive or negative impact they have on the business.

 

2. Acts as a conduit

Business partners and business leaders are always keen on business opportunities. A good internal communication plan keeps both parties engaged in important conversations that may lead to better business deals and healthier profits.

 

3. Delivers on efficiency

With a plan in place, the internal team has parameters and guidelines that help funnel their efforts on what is most important to the business. An internal communication plan also helps to customize content and delivery methods to suit employees that are computer-based or out in the field.

It is a tool that enables the organization to get vital information to all employees within a short time. The information should also be easy and quick to read. Fast message delivery and short concise information ensure that employees get information promptly.

The whole purpose of adopting an internal communication plan is to improve the collective output of employees while reducing or eliminating the percentage of customers who aren’t satisfied. If a customer’s dissatisfaction is a result of inaccurate information provided by an employee, then such an issue can be resolved through speedy delivery of messages and vital information to front line employees.

It’s important that the information is delivered quickly, but not coldly. Maintaining a sense of personal connection across all messaging increases the likelihood that employees will pay attention.

Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019

 

How to prepare an internal communication plan

 

 

 

 

1. Analyze the current state of your business

When considering what internal communication plan is the best fit for a business, one must analyze the status of the current communication plan in place. That helps determine what areas are working and what business departments are not performing to meet expectations.

Such an analysis will help determine if improvements on a current plan are needed or a total overhaul of the plan is necessary.

 

2. Assess needs across the board

A continuation of the previous step, talking to employees and internal stakeholders ensures that your internal communication plan is guided by the people throughout the organization, and not just the goals of management and leadership. Collect data from all department and all employee levels to make sure that everyone feels heard.

 

3. Consider the organization’s goal

Regardless of the internal communication plan you choose, it should be aligned with clearly defined organizational goals. An organization that knows its business goals, as well as communication goals, is better placed to choose an internal communication plan that communicates those goals effectively.

 

4. Think of the audience 

The right internal communication plan can adapt to different departments and seniority levels. Giving some thought to what audience the messages are intended for assists in the formulation of effective communication strategies.

Analyzing the kind of audience will not only inform what tactics to employ but also what communications channels to use for maximum impact. While the amount of information disseminated will change depending on the audience and the tone/medium might also change slightly, remember that meaningful connections are important across the board.

 

4. Time of information release

When preparing internal communication plans, it is vital to consider methods, time, frequency and channels of relaying information to various employee segments. Basically, a business’s communication strategy must be compatible or adaptable to their messaging timeline.

 

Related: Is Your Employment Branding Strategy Working? Here’s what you need to know

 

What should an internal communication plan comprise of?

 

 

 

Having considered the above factors, it’s time to look at the elements a business should include in their plan. For that purpose, an internal communication plan template will prove helpful. It helps an organization cover all the internal communication bases while customizing sections in the template to suit their model of communication needs.

For most organizations, a one-size-fits-all internal communication plan may not work. Usually, this is because the employees in different departments and in various company roles may communicate differently. Some might spend more time communicating with clients on the phone, others might use their computer more, and still others might work remotely.

Whereas relaying information via email may work for computer-based employees, it may not work as well for front line employees dealing with customers directly. They simply don’t have the time to check their mail while manning a cashier till or front desk.

However, a messaging method similar to the news feeds such as desktop tickers might work for front line staff. The message text scrolls across the bottom of an employee’s work station so it is highly visible.

The message is short and precise so that even in a busy environment, an employee is able to see time-sensitive time information pertinent to his/her role on time and without fail.

Employees who are out in the field may prefer that time-sensitive information be relayed via text on their mobile phones rather than email in case they frequent remote areas with no Internet access.

When choosing an internal communication plan, an organization will have to not only consider their audiences but the environments of various employee segments.

But above all, it is vital to create an internal communication plan that keeps everyone in the fold and maintains a personal connection. By communicating adequately and attentively, employees will feel like they’re part of the group.

Let’s take an in-depth look at what an internal communication plan should include.

 

1. Evaluation metrics

Incorporating evaluation metrics into the internal communication plan is crucial. This allows one to monitor what channels employees prefer to communicate through and the ones they avoid. Such analysis provides insight as to how communication can be improved.

 

2. Success indicators

Based on the goals and objectives set by the company, an internal communication plan should have a way to measure how it impacts business goals and affects employee relationships. This is possible through a number of different analytic tools.

Note: it’s effective only if the organization’s goals are clearly defined. Then, it can show whether company objectives are being met. Positive signs may include:

 

  • Positive feedback forms for employees
  • Improved survey scores
  • Increased product sale or share value
  • Better employee retention rates
  • Improved percentage of employee sign-ups for initiatives

 

3. Effective communication channels

An internal communication plan that has multiple communication options can help an organization prevent loss of man-hours, improve employee engagement as well as the percentage of customer satisfaction.

One of the key challenges in communication is an overload of information. Not all employees prefer reading long detailed emails from management. Depending on the employee’s job role and environment, they may express that they prefer short and precise messages on alternative channels outside of emails. That is reasonable if they happen to be on the front line of service dealing with customers directly.

Adaptability shows employees you are willing to work with them to suit their needs. An organization will benefit from an internal communication plan that allows multiple communication channels such as the following:

 

  • Desktop tickers
  • Desktop alerts
  • Digital newsletters
  • Employee satisfaction questionnaires

 

 

 

Desktop tickers allow instant communication with employees in busy front line environments. The short, concise and visible nature of desktop alerts increases the percentage of employees who’ll see crucial information at the beginning of their shifts. Such alternative channels of communication ensure that employees receive, read and assimilate information that impacts customer satisfaction and company business goals.

Information that is less vital and time-sensitive can be passed on through a periodic newsletter that serves to inform and engage employees on internal issues and initiatives. These kinds of newsletters foster a sense of personal connection.

Since communication is a two-way street, capturing employees’ feedback on what they feel about certain internal communication strategies will help management evaluate the effectiveness of their plan. Anonymous questionnaires are an effective method of gathering that feedback.

 

Challenges that an internal communication plan should seek to address 

 

 

 

Having established that the business success of an organization hinges on its ability to have a cohesive intra-departmental communication plan, the goal of an effective internal communication plan is to maximize effective communication for all employee levels.

To achieve that, a fitting communication plan for any business should serve as a solution to several common communication challenges such as the following:

 

  • Identifying and resolving communication issues that compromise support staff and front line employees. This can range from company protocol on dealing with prevalent customer issues to something as basic as how to answer the phone.
  • Alleviating time-sensitive message delivery barriers.
  • Reducing the volume of data sent to employees and tailoring message and delivery channels. This will achieve a higher percentage of message reception and assimilation by employees.The subsequent results will translate to a success indicator such as improved customer satisfaction and fewer customer complaints related to the provision of inaccurate information.

 

Conclusion

 

 

 

These are a few internal communication challenges common to most organizations. Using an internal communication template can help a business cover every angle of its communication needs for better productivity.  This plan will optimize targeting and timing of messaging to the right audience.

An effective internal communication plan also helps prevent information overload by tailoring messages to be shorter and precise. Overall, delivering messages through methods that take into consideration the employees environment goes a long way in communicating effectively to employees on time-sensitive issues that affect their role.

Most importantly, an internal communication plan should help businesses fortify personal connection with their employees. Informing them on important matters and maintaining frequent communication will ensure them that they are in the loop, and finding opportunities to get feedback will let them know they are heard. VP Legacies is here to help you with your strategic communication consulting needs. With a three-step process we apply to any aspect of corporate communications, our expertise will help you succeed with better employee retention rates and, as a result, a better business.

Related: Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences?