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KnowHR Plus https://knowhrplus.com KnowHR...only more Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:15:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=153 Comm Pro Tip: Friends Don’t Let Friends Create Infographics https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/18/comm-pro-tip-friends-dont-let-friends-create-infographics/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/18/comm-pro-tip-friends-dont-let-friends-create-infographics/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:15:29 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7948

Infographics are powerful communication devices when they’re done by professional visual communicators. When they’re done poorly, infographics become what Paul Hebert at Symbolist calls “long PowerPoint slides.”

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Comm Pro Tip: Skip the Semicolons https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/17/comm-pro-tip-skip-the-semicolons/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/17/comm-pro-tip-skip-the-semicolons/#comments Wed, 17 Apr 2013 11:05:30 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7946

As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

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Communication Pro Tip: Design, then Edit Copy https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/16/communication-pro-tip-design-then-edit-copy/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/16/communication-pro-tip-design-then-edit-copy/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:45:11 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7931

This is a rock-solid communication pro tip: design, then edit copy.

Graphic design and layout change the essence and emphasis of words. Let the writer write. Let the designer design. Then edit the copy. You’ll end up with a more impactful communication piece.

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Communication Pro Tip: Write Short https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/15/communication-pro-tip-write-short/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/15/communication-pro-tip-write-short/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 11:45:26 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7928

Your younger employees will give you 10 seconds to get to the point. And if you send it in email, they won’t read it. They’re from the Text Generation.

Write short.

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We Who Are About to Discuss Employee Engagement Salute You https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/12/we-who-are-about-to-discuss-employee-engagement-salute-you/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/12/we-who-are-about-to-discuss-employee-engagement-salute-you/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:26:14 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7927

Profits up; wages down; employment down.

Getting more for less might be a rational business strategy, but it doesn’t necessarily reconcile with employee engagement.

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Communication Pro Tip: Don’t Edit Your First Paragraph https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/11/communication-pro-tip-dont-edit-your-first-paragraph/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/11/communication-pro-tip-dont-edit-your-first-paragraph/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 10:39:44 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7924

Here’s a Communication Pro Tip: Don’t edit your first paragraph.

Your first instinct when you write is to keep going back over your first paragraph. Don’t do it. It contains the essence of what you want to say. Once you’ve made multiple edits, that thread of your original idea is gone.

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Waiting for the Typewriter Repairman https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/waiting-for-the-typewriter-repairman/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/waiting-for-the-typewriter-repairman/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 20:42:12 +0000 http://www.knowhr.com/blog/?p=7922

I’m waiting for the typewriter repairman to make a house call. If I had a nickel for every time I typed that line…I’d have a nickel.

The repairman is making a house call. Let that sink in for a minute.

I’m going to write a novel on the machine he repairs. The working title is “1967.” I’ll have it done in 100 days.

royal typewriter

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Communicating with Low-Information Employees https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/communicating-with-low-information-employees/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/communicating-with-low-information-employees/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 10:44:48 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7911

Your employees don’t pay attention.

Your managers don’t pay attention.

Your executives don’t pay attention.

{Insert joke here: Your significant others don’t pay attention.}

See what I did there? I separated information into small chunks. Then I repeated myself.

It’s because people don’t pay attention.

In the mass communication business there’s an entire area of study around heuristics — the mental shortcuts people use to make decisions. Those can be decisions about politics…or how you manage your business. In essence, the Heuristic Model says that people have a limited capacity to intake information faced with an overwhelming number of choices. Ergo, mental shortcuts.

Those mental shortcuts have consequences. Your employees enter any communication event with preconceived notions. If they use a “The Man is out to get me” heuristic, then your introduction of a Lose Weight, Feel Great! plan is going to be met with significant skepticism. If they use a “managers aren’t to be trusted” heuristic, then good luck having a productive performance review discussion. If they use a “my company doesn’t care about pay fairness” heuristic, then you have a long slog to persuade them you’re doing the right thing.

If you’ve read this far you’re not a low-information person. Congratulations. Because you know a lot, people will count on you to help them make snap decisions. And that’s the answer about communicating with low-information employees: To overcome the shortcuts that low-information employees use in all aspects of their lives, use high-information employees to augment your messages. Get the smart people like you to help those who rely on scant details to make critical decisions.

TL:DR Most of your employees already have their minds made up.

Um….if you don’t know, TL:DR is Reddit shorthand for too long, didn’t read.

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Communicating with Low-Information Employees https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/communicating-with-low-information-employees-2/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/10/communicating-with-low-information-employees-2/#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2013 10:44:12 +0000 http://www.knowhr.com/blog/?p=7918

Your employees don’t pay attention.

Your managers don’t pay attention.

Your executives don’t pay attention.

{Insert joke here: Your significant others don’t pay attention.}

See what I did there? I separated information into small chunks. Then I repeated myself.

It’s because people don’t pay attention.

In the mass communication business there’s an entire area of study around heuristics — the mental shortcuts people use to make decisions. Those can be decisions about politics…or how you manage your business. In essence, the Heuristic Model says that people have a limited capacity to intake information faced with an overwhelming number of choices. Ergo, mental shortcuts.

Those mental shortcuts have consequences. Your employees enter any communication event with preconceived notions. If they use a “The Man is out to get me” heuristic, then your introduction of a Lose Weight, Feel Great! plan is going to be met with significant skepticism. If they use a “managers aren’t to be trusted” heuristic, then good luck having a productive performance review discussion. If they use a “my company doesn’t care about pay fairness” heuristic, then you have a long slog to persuade them you’re doing the right thing.

If you’ve read this far you’re not a low-information person. Congratulations. Because you know a lot, people will count on you to help them make snap decisions. And that’s the answer about communicating with low-information employees: To overcome the shortcuts that low-information employees use in all aspects of their lives, use high-information employees to augment your messages. Get the smart people like you to help those who rely on scant details to make critical decisions.

TL:DR Most of your employees already have their minds made up.

Um….if you don’t know, TL:DR is Reddit shorthand for too long, didn’t read.

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Open Enrollment Communication in 2013 Will Be a Rodeo https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/09/open-enrollment-communication-in-2013-will-be-a-rodeo/ https://knowhrplus.com/2013/04/09/open-enrollment-communication-in-2013-will-be-a-rodeo/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2013 11:19:11 +0000 http://knowhrplus.com/?p=7910

Hold onto your hat, this one’s gonna get bumpy.

Your open enrollment communication for 2013 and 2014 is going to be like nothing your employees have ever seen. They’ll get ads for healthcare plans saying, “Pick me.” They’ll get official-looking papers with government seals talking about insurance exchanges. And they’ll get your open enrollment materials.

Your employees will feel like they’re bull riding at the rodeo, just holding on for dear life. Rita Pyrillis, a senior writer at Workforce, puts it this way:

If employers find that explaining benefits to their employees is challenging now, then they should brace themselves for fall enrollment when workers are expected to receive an avalanche of marketing materials from insurers, health insurance exchanges and government agencies in anticipation of health care reform, experts say.

To paraphrase that old Buick ad: This isn’t your father’s open enrollment.

In your dad’s day, he just got “insurance.” You know, that good old indemnity insurance back in the day when you could go to an emergency room for a hangnail and not have to pay a penny? You still have employees who remember those days.

And you have employees who have heard lots about PPOs, HMOs, HDHPs, and all their variants. On top of that, they have to consider smoking cessation, their BMI, and whether they want to turn over their medical checkup results to get a few hundred bucks.

It’s all so CONFUSING. Now comes the rodeo.

If you don’t want your employees to get bucked off you’d better be thinking long and hard about how to communicate your open enrollment this year. You need to give your employees the decision tools they need to take the ride. No matter what, this year’s open enrollment won’t be easy. But the biggest mistake would be to think, “Ah, this is just like last year, only our employees will get a few more brochures.”

Ever been around someone who’s Medicare eligible right around their open enrollment? Ever explained the “donut hole”? Or what Part D is? And then have them ask you, “Well, what do I choose?” This year’s open enrollment will be like that…only with 100 million employees.

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