Working for a large company has taught me to expect all corporate communication to go something like this: “Blah, blah, blah… [jargon]…. [buzzword]… blah, blah, blah.”
So when I was recently tasked with heading up departmental communication (apparently I have a way with words or something), I decided to take a big risk and completely revamp our corporate communication style.
Our previous monthly email out to internal staff was the typical multi-paragraphed mumbo-jumbo of fluff talk that no one bothers to read:
So this month, I added a bunch of visuals. Not just visuals, but departmental memes. Because I am young. And hip. And hilarious. And awesome.
We have a system called SQS that was recently rolled out and is now mandatory for all staff. Instead of just saying that (because… #snoozefest), I utilized the infamous LOTR meme:
And for the roll out of our new SharePoint site (internal document sharing site), I called in Willy Wonka:
I also used both the Morpheus meme and Keep Calm meme for other portions of the staff communication. Of course, I included all of the typical buzzwords and departmental jargon, but my hope was that people might actually laugh, enjoy reading the monthly email or, at worst, be momentarily broken out of their desktop daze and the mesmerism of monotony.
As expected, I took major heat for going off the beaten path and doing something new, unique, fun and different. Heaven forbid we use visuals – or color – or humor! in our internal staff communications! How unprofessional!
Actual comments I got back:
“I like the icons but perhaps too many humorous ones for the first publication… but may be a generational thing.” I like the all black, completely visuals-free snore of a monthly newsletter we usually send out – oh wait. No I don’t. Must be a generational thing.
“I personally don’t understand pic.” I personally don’t understand your failure to appropriately use articles in your sentences.
“Are we in fifth grade?” No, but some of us believe in embracing our inner child and actually trying to have some semblance of fun at work. Since, you know, we spend a third of our lives here.
Fortunately, a few people appreciated my efforts:
“It actually made me read the note, which is a huge plus.”
“That’s awesome. I’d read any staff communication with ‘Matrix’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ references!”
“Good note!” — This from our new General Manager. Score!
“Departmental Memes… love it!”
Kyle, of the fire alarm story, comforted me with this when I got my feelings hurt about never fitting the mold at this company: “It was a good try. It’s always tough to make modern changes with an oil company. Don’t let it discourage you. You made at least one coworker laugh!”
Thanks, Kyle. At least someone appreciates my creativity and sense of humor here!