Communicating a New Policy to Different Stakeholders
Communicating a new policy can be quite challenging, especially when there is a high number of stakeholders with different interests. How could you possibly make sure the new policy becomes relevant for every single one of them? And how can you make sure that they don't only understand the necessity of the new policy but also include it in their very own communication strategy to reach all target audiences? The Dutch organisation Governance Code Veiligheid in de Bouw (GCVB) approached us with this challenge to communicate their new policy to reduce collision risks on construction sites in the Netherlands.
The Dutch organisation GCVB consists of different companies, organisations and consultancy agencies from the construction sector. Their common goal is to improve the safety on Dutch construction sites by implementing new policies. However, to be able to implement these new policies on construction sites, GCVB needs to reach all employees in the sector via their employers, the different stakeholders in this case. The policy GCVB needed our help with introducing a new policy reducing the collision risk on construction sites. As this is an important matter, it was crucial to inform all construction-related organisations and their employees within the Netherlands about its impact.
Initially, GCVB was planning on communicating the new policy with a couple of animations. Just as other media such as infographics, posters or presentation, an animation helps to communicate a complex topic in a visually attractive way and grab the attention of the target audience. But the challenge was not only to grab the target audience's attention, it was to create relevance for the new policy for the different organisations within GCVB. All these stakeholders from different construction-related businesses had different priorities and interests. And although at first sight, the new policy wasn't relevant to all of them, it was crucial to convince them to include it in their own internal communication strategy.
How can you make sure to get all stakeholders to communicate the new policy via their own communication channels?
The variety of companies and stakeholders within the GCVB made the communication of the new policy quite challenging. As all companies work on different kinds of construction sites, from road- and railway work to the construction of huge buildings, not all aspects of the policy were relevant to all of them. At first sight, the new policy didn't seem to be relevant to some of them at all. Why would employees in the office need to know about a policy concerning the risk of collisions on construction sites?
However, they all needed to be informed about the new policy. After all, it's the employees in the offices that plan construction sites and need to take into account the safety of the workers on location. But how can you make sure to reach all these different target audiences with your message?
The first step was to understand the needs of the stakeholders and make sure they understand the relevance of the new policy. Only then would they include it in their own internal communication efforts to reach the entire target audience. During workshops, we were able to map out which aspects were relevant to the different stakeholders within the GCVB. Based on this, we created personas of the different target audiences, including the aspects of the policy that were relevant to them and their preferred channels.
Based on these workshops, we were also able to set a realistic goal for the internal communication campaign: 60 percent of the entire target audience will be informed about the new policy via the organisations within GCVB.
Internal communication plan: media for all stakeholders
After we knew who we were communicating with, it was time to set up an internal communication plan for GCVB. When was the right time to send out what part of the information and which media to the stakeholders? We set up a mix of media for each target audience based on their information need and started to create animations, posters, e-mailings and a toolbox.
Now, we had all the media we needed for each target audience. But we also needed to give the stakeholders an overview of which target audience needed what information and when. Therefore, we set up a script they could use to plan their internal communication efforts.
To make sure that all stakeholders had access to and could distribute the information about the new policy, we created a central hub where we collected all media. On this page, stakeholders could find everything they needed to roll out the campaign, including the script. By monitoring the number of downloads, we had insight in the progress of the campaign.
After an on-boarding session with all organisations within the GCVB we sent out different email campaigns with the media specifically targeted at different audiences. That way, the companies didn't have to search the materials they needed but knew that the media they received were relevant for their employees. By putting the media on a central hub, we also took into account the individual internal communication plans of the different stakeholders. They could start rolling out the campaign whenever it suited their plan. Again, by monitoring the downloads, we kept an eye on the progress of the campaign and were able to support stakeholders whenever necessary.
The main goal was to create a campaign that made the new policy relevant to all stakeholders, although they had very different information needs. Only then they'd pass the information on to their employees, the people that needed to learn about the new policy and to apply it in their daily business. And it worked!
100 percent of the stakeholders had a look at the script for the campaign. And in total, 110 individuals and 57 organisations downloaded the media from the central hub. A huge success to reduce the collision risk on construction sites in the Netherlands!
All stakeholders had a look at the campaign script.
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