Executing Your Communications Plan for School Employees
In my previous blog, I discussed how to build a communications plan for school employees. Now that you have your plan, it’s time to execute it.
With the input you have collected from your stakeholders, determine the cadence of your communications. Avoid doing this sporadically as this will not allow you to build a following and will show internal communications is not a priority. Conversely, watch out for information fatigue in communicating too often. Once a week or once a month might be what is best for your school district.
Whatever you decide, commit to it and let your stakeholders know when they can expect to hear from you on non-emergency issues. Then, block time in your schedule to devote to creating your message so you are communicating regularly.
There are several platforms available that can be used to deliver your message. Each can deliver your message but how your message is delivered differs. It can be as easy as a basic email or more complex with a video message. Here are some options to consider:
Email – Email remains the cornerstone of internal communications. For school districts, this platform is easy to use and track. The message is typed directly into the body of the email. Use subject headers to divide the information so readers can skim the email for the information that is most important to them. Keep the email length under 200 words and use live links so readers can link to additional information hosted on a website.
Email newsletter – An email newsletter is delivered through an email address, but the information is not included in the body of an email. Instead, the information can be developed in a newsletter program that allows for images or embedded video. These are a more vibrant way to deliver your message.
Video message – With today’s technology, anyone can be a videographer thanks to apps on cell phones and desktop computers. Video messages can relay authenticity. To deliver an effective video message, write out what you would say ahead of time – bullets are fine – and practice your delivery. If using a phone to record the message, invest in a holder for your phone and do a test to make sure the lighting is in front of you, not behind. You can record it at your desk or onsite at a school building. Show your personality and be conversational. For those districts that have students who are interested in video or have media classes, engage the students to be your video team.
Town halls – Delivering messages in person at town halls or building meetings is a great way to get in front of your entire staff. Create a regular schedule and make planned visits to deliver messages in person several times a year. Your staff members will appreciate seeing you and having the ability to engage in two-way communication.
Whatever platform you select, ensure to do it regularly. To keep the communication fresh, ask other school district leaders to contribute, such as the district’s treasurer, head of transportation, top administrators, the school board president and classified leaders. Prioritizing internal communication can lead to better employee recruitment and retention and create a cohesive message that is then delivered externally.
If you are looking for ways to improve your internal or external school district communications, reach out to us. We have several experts in internal communications who can help you develop and execute a plan specific to your school district’s needs.