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Ten Questions to Test the Effectiveness of Your Employee Communication Plan

Ten Questions to Test the Effectiveness of Your Employee Communication Plan

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Published by Scott Valentine
Whether you’re starting a new equity plan or re-launching/promoting an existing one, effectively communicating with your employees is a vitally important step that many administrators forget about, or ignore. But they shouldn’t – a strong and well-thought-out communication plan can make all the difference in your equity plan’s overall success and its ability to retain, motivate and attract talent.
Whether you’re starting a new equity plan or re-launching/promoting an existing one, effectively communicating with your employees is a vitally important step that many administrators forget about, or ignore. But they shouldn’t – a strong and well-thought-out communication plan can make all the difference in your equity plan’s overall success and its ability to retain, motivate and attract talent.

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Published by: Scott Valentine on Jun 14, 2011
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06/14/2011

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Leading the Evolution of Global Stock Plan Management 
To Test the Effectiveness of YourEmployee Communication Plan
 
TEN QUESTIONS
 
 Ten Questions
TEN QUESTIONS TO TEST THE EFFECTIVENESS
OF YOUR EMPLOYEE COMMUNICATION PLAN
Whether you’re starting a new equity plan or re-launching/promoting an existing one, effectively communicatingwith your employees is a vitally important step that many administrators forget about, or ignore. But theyshouldn’t – a strong and well-thought-out communication plan can make all the difference in your equity plan’soverall success and its ability to retain, motivate and attract talent.It’s not uncommon for plan administrators to become overwhelmed with the idea of creating communicationsplans for their participants – effectively communicating with all employees involved is a huge undertaking. but, it’salso vital to the success of your plan.So, where do you start when designing, or re-designing a plan? Solium’s communications team, whichspecializes in building customized client communications, has come up with these ten questions to help guideyou through the development of the best communication plan possible for your current and potential planparticipants.
1. WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES?
Before you can design your communication plan, you need to know what it is you’re trying to communicateand what results you want to come of it. A communication plan will undoubtedly fail if it does not have clear-cutmessages. Once you have answers to these questions, you can then go on to meet with a communicationsspecialist to help you develop a plan to facilitate your goals.
Ask yourself:
• What am I trying to communicate?• What are the goals of this communication plan?• How do I want my employees to respond to these communications and what actions do I wantthem to take as a result?
2. WHAT ARE YOUR KEY MESSAGES?
Further to Question 1, this step requires you to be more speci
c about the key message you want to sendyour employees. Most plans will have more than one message, so it’s also important to introduce an order ofimportance to ensure employees receive the messages in the most streamlined fashion. At this point, it’s alsoimportant to consider how much your audience knows about the topic of your communications.
Ask yourself:
• What are the most important messages I want my employees to take away from these communications?• If the employee will only take away one key piece of information from this communication, which one do youwant it to be?• What do I want them to do as a result?• What is the best way to introduce these messages, and in what order?• Is my audience familiar with this topic, or do I need to introduce background, or educational information?
 2
 
 Ten Questions
Example:
A typical communication plan introducing a new stock option plan might include four separate documents containing the following four key messages: 1. Notify the employee that they received the new stock option award 2. Provide detailed information on the new stock option plan (i.e., FAQ or Plan Booklet)3. Provide instructions for next steps (i.e., accept the award agreement, login to manage awards or transact)4. An introduction to the plan administrator, including their bene 
fi 
ts 
3. WHO ARE YOU TARGETING?
Knowing your audience will help determine the medium, tone and style of yourcommunication plan. Before you consult with a communications specialist, consideryour audience and the best ways and media to use to reach them. Considercampaigns you’ve done in the past, if applicable, and what worked and what didn’t.
Ask yourself:
• Who am I targeting?• How many people am I targeting?• Where are they located?• What is the best way to reach these people (email, regular mail, messages postedto the company intranet, online video, group presentations etc.)?It’s also important to consider how to customize your communications to make surethey are speaking directly to your intended audience, offering them information thatis bene
cial to them, in a manner in which they prefer to be communicated with.
Ask yourself:
• What do my employees want to hear and how can I shape my communicationsaround that?For example, if you want to promote participation in your employee stock purchaseplan, begin by highlighting the bene
ts for employees, such as saving for a
rsthome or retirement, etc.
4. WHAT IS THE BEST TIMELINE FOR DELIVERING YOURCOMMUNICATIONS?
Once you’ve determined your key messages and audience, the next step isto develop a timeline and schedule for delivery that will not undermine theeffectiveness of your plan. Determine what milestones are involved with your planand look at the key dates that correspond with these milestones, including the planlaunch date, the enrollment cutoff date, etc. Then decide how your communicationsshould co-ordinate with these timelines. For example, it’s a good idea to give youremployees a heads-up about the introduction of a new plan before it launches, butnot so far in advance that they’ll forget about it.
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