Many organizations continue using noticeboards (bulletin boards or poster boards or pin-up space as they are called in some companies) as internal communications channels for sharing company news, updates and rollouts.
Even with the advent of social media and more sophisticated internal communication channels such as plasma screens or touch kiosks (I know of organizations that centrally control content) the ubiquitous noticeboards still grab a lot of attention especially when appropriately placed, the space utilized well and when integrated right in the overall communications mix.
Noticeboards have fallen from grace due to the medium’s misuse (cluttered displays don’t do much good) ,the lack of interactivity of the medium and ambiguous process and ownership. In most companies, especially in India the noticeboards are ‘managed’ by the office facilities team and the content loosely ‘owned’ or reviewed by the internal communications or the HR group. Sometimes internal teams know whom to approach for placing their content while at other occasions they put up content based on space availability and proximity to the audience.
Making the best use of the noticeboards expects a consistent policy, process and clear ownership. Noticeboards with a streamlined management process are more effective, easier on the eye, gives a sense of order, makes it simpler for internal teams to communicate better and allows equal access to all.
Here are a few pointers to ensure your noticeboards are back among the most ‘wanted’ channels among your stakeholders.
Document your policy: Very often channels such as noticeboards are run without a policy. Using visual space well can mean the difference when a well-crafted campaign isn’t getting eyeballs. Label the spaces, make the spaces bright and cheerful, identify owners, and define a process for hosting content and taking it down.
Define the Service Level Agreements (SLA)s: Getting up a poster isn’t as easy as it seems. The processes include designing, printing and hosting. List the SLAs and include in the policy so that teams know the shelf-life.
Democratization of information: Internal communicators needn’t police what goes up or down. Assign ownership to teams on the respective offices to manage their own space. Identify spaces where content can be ‘crowdsourced’ from staff rather than only having content that comes from headquarters. However, every artifact that gets hosted must have the name and contact of the requestor so that the facilities team knows when and whom to reach to take down the content.
Begin with a clean slate: Inform stakeholders of the policy and that all existing content (outdated content) will be taken down to start a fresh. It also gives the boards some ‘breathing space’ till the next lot of posters appears. Clearly brand the space so that staff identifies it as an ‘official’ channel.
Templates that improve identification: In one of my earlier workplaces the brand team had excellent templates that made it easy to identify the team’s communication. The imagery, colors, fonts and formats ensured that even if a person was rushing by a noticeboard knew which team was communicating from the branding.
Get leadership buy-in: Ensure that leaders are aware of the policy and process and can accordingly advice their teams. Have leaders communicate the need for consistency and policy adoption.
Seek feedback and refresh policy often: The word ‘policy’ can be misconstrued as ‘bureaucratic ‘and ‘hierarchical’ so tread carefully while framing your communication. Ask internal stakeholders for feedback on how the process is working and what can be improved.
Have other ideas to make noticeboards effective? Share them here.