Jan 20, 2015
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Three ways HR and communications teams can use digital body language to enhance the employee experience

The other day, I googled a certain brand of eyeglass frames online based on a friend recommendation. I had never heard of the company before, but was very impressed by the catalog. What I found interesting, however, was that not even five minutes later, when I checked my email, I started seeing targeted ads from the same company. Sure, I didn’t click any of the ads, but I did end up going to the store on a trip out and making a purchase. The question is, why did I start seeing these ads? It’s because the company had a good strategy to respond to my digital body language.

In short, your digital body language is the activity you do online, including clicking links, downloading papers, and providing your email address. This body language tells marketers something about your interests, and they can set up processes to respond to your language with hopes of increasing your intent to buy or your actual purchase of products. Click here for a great article on digital body language (Source: Oracle Eloqua).

What does this mean for Internal Communications and HR professionals? Below are three ways these external practices of leveraging digital body language can be applied internally.

Think of your employee experience as a customer experience. The lines between internal and external environments continue to blur. Employees expect their experience within a company to be as sophisticated as their experience in the consumer space. Get some help from your marketing teams to understand how they map the customer experience – then apply this internally by building tools and processes that get them to your products, which include training courses, benefits, ambassador program information, updates about company financials, and more.

Offer your employees/customers  something compelling. An audience is an audience. And at the end of the day, they want to read valuable content. If it is interesting or useful, they will read it. Figure out how to provide content in a useful and interesting way that mirrors the kind of offering provided in the consumer space. For example, why not have your CFO do a blog or be featured in an article responding to economic trends, highlighting what they mean for her personally, as well as commenting on what they mean for your company. Or how about publishing a short article titled “Three tips to make the year-end appraisal process easier for you,” and target it toward managers.

Respond to your employees/customers with targeted information. Based on the digital body language of what people are reading, why not work with IT or your vendors to have your internal tools recommend useful follow-up content. For example, if a person reads about a smoking cessation program, how great would it be if your tools suggested additional reading about the health risk assessment. Or if someone read an insider’s view on new trends to manage cost in the transportation industry, why not recommend relevant courses from your online training catalog around cost management, company financials, or your CEO’s latest internal earnings statement, where she spoke about the need to more effectively manage the bottom line.

As we move further into a world where the Internet of Things includes workplace technologies, we don’t want to miss out on understanding our employees’ digital body language so that we can respond appropriately in ways that are relevant to them and their expectations of the employee experience. This is what customers, hence employees, are starting to expect. And as you continue with annual and long-term planning, now is as good a time as any to start fostering three-way dialogue between HR, IT, and Internal Communications around these types of trends.

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