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Engaging hard to reach colleagues with internal comms

Engaging hard-to-reach colleagues in your internal communications campaigns can be challenging, but with the right strategies and approaches, you can increase their involvement and participation. In this blog we will explore some of the methods and techniques you can use to help you engage hard-to-reach colleagues effectively

Understand Their Needs and Preferences

Begin by understanding the unique needs, preferences, and communication styles of these colleagues. What channels do they prefer? What motivates them? What are their pain points or challenges? If you don’t know the answers to these questions then consider carrying out a simple online survey to gather information.

Segment Your Audience

Segment your internal audience based on factors like department, role, location, and communication preferences. This allows you to tailor your messages and channels to each group. It is important not to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach as different departments will have very varied needs and motivations.

Use Multiple Communication Channels

Utilise a variety of communication channels to reach different colleagues. Don’t rely on a single channel and make sure you consider both digital and traditional methods of communication. This may include posters, leaflets, email, intranet, social media, video conferences, bulletin boards, or even face-to-face meetings. 

Create Compelling Content

Develop content that is relevant, engaging, and easily digestible. Use storytelling, visuals, and multimedia elements to make your messages more appealing. A picture paints a thousand words, so utilise short videos and infographics where possible so you can avoid distributing lengthy documents.

Highlight the Benefits

Clearly communicate the benefits of engaging with your campaign. Explain how it relates to their roles, career development, or the organisation’s success. People are more likely to engage when they see personal or professional value, so spell this out in your communications and use examples where possible.

Leverage Leadership Support

Get the support of senior leaders and managers from the outset. When leaders actively promote and participate in the campaign, it sends a strong message about its importance and can make a huge difference to engagement rates. Conversely if senior management aren’t onboard it can make it very difficult to gain traction with a campaign. 

Provide Opportunities for Feedback

Create mechanisms for colleagues to provide feedback, ask questions, and share their opinions. This can help them feel more involved and valued in the process. Ask for feedback from the hard-to-reach colleagues themselves. Find out what would make them more likely to engage and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Gamify and Incentivise

Introducing a competitive element can be a great way to encourage uptake amongst colleagues. Consider incorporating gamification elements or incentives to make participation more appealing. For example, you could run contests or offer rewards for active engagement. 

Personalise Messages

Whenever possible, personalise your messages. Address colleagues by their names and tailor content to their particular interests or concerns. This will highlight that your communications are aimed specifically at them and they need to take action, rather than leaving it for others to get involved.

Timing Matters

Pay attention to the timing of your communications. Send messages when your colleagues are most likely to be available and receptive. Consider what else is going on at that particular moment in time. If your company is gearing up for a big event or going through a crisis, people are unlikely to give your communication proper consideration. 

Peer Advocacy

Encourage enthusiastic colleagues to act as advocates or champions for the campaign. They can help spread the word and encourage participation among their peers. It might be worth asking these key individuals to get involved in the approval process before communications go out, as they will then feel more deeply invested.

Measure and Adjust

Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your campaign through metrics such as engagement rates, feedback, and participation levels. Use this data to make adjustments and improvements. Be open to experimentation. If a particular approach or channel doesn’t work, learn from it and try something different.


Be persistent but not intrusive. Some colleagues may take time to warm up to the campaign. Consistency in your messaging can help maintain their interest over time, so a drip drip approach can be very effective. Consider adopting distinctive branding for internal comms so that people can distinguish your campaign from other communications.

Remember that engaging hard-to-reach colleagues may take time and effort, but by tailoring your approach to their needs and preferences, you can increase their involvement in your internal communications campaign as time goes on. If you would like help with planning and generating creative internal comms then get in touch with our team to find out more.

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