Optimize Employee Communications with the Four P's Approach

Oct 13, 2023
Optimize Employee Communications with the Four P's Approach

By Trish Nicolas, EVP rf.engage Americas

For better or worse, there is no shortage of employee communications channels. Couple the ongoing platform proliferation with a flood of communication requests from internal business partners and it’s no wonder audiences – especially workforces – are overwhelmed and tuning out.

In fact, research from Gartner shows that 43% of employees fail to notice important information because of too many applications or the volume of information.

Our role as communications strategists is to optimize audience engagement and outcomes. Our responsibility is to carefully curate and consolidate communications that will help achieve the desired outcomes. We must be active stewards of the audience experience to drive communications performance – and that means purposefully planning our content strategy.

The construct of the Four Ps can help you streamline your communications to maximize employee engagement with your content.

Promote – For your most important stories and messages that warrant standalone, “surround sound” communications. Criteria for topics that pass muster for “promote” may include:

  • Scope of audience – is the information relevant to all employees?
  • Alignment with company priorities – does the initiative support the company’s business objectives?
  • Impact on company culture – does the topic reflect your company’s mission, vision and values and support the overall employee experience?
  • Compliance or legal considerations – is there some mandatory action required or will circulating the information help mitigate risk?


Package – Stories and content that are “better together.” Sometimes business partners don’t understand that their story doesn’t command a standalone communication.

In these instances, look at packaging two to three related topics to make the overall communication more compelling and consumable. For example, three separate emails to employees on different HR programs can be overwhelming. Finding a common theme to serve as a “wrapper” and packaging those messages into a single email will help prevent employees from feeling inundated.

Park – Stories that can and should wait until another time. Release at a more relevant and timely moment, such as a week when there is a lighter communications calendar or when there is a pertinent observance or event.

Punt – Stories that don’t serve your audiences, your brand, or your business. They don’t align with your mission, vision, values, or purpose. These are the stories that don’t make the cut, that don’t warrant communications support.

What we say “no” to is sometimes more important than what we say “yes” to, especially as stewards of the employee experience. Being purposeful and consistent about what and when we do – and do not – communicate with employees helps to ensure we deliver communications that resonate.

The Four Ps can serve as a guide for your team’s communications planning, as well as a way to discuss priorities and drive decision-making with your peers and business partners. As you build your strategic story calendar, use the Four Ps framework to plan content and share your approach with stakeholders for alignment.


Need help with your employee communications? Rf.engage is here for you. We are the global Center of Excellence for Strategic Internal Communications within Ruder Finn, one of the world’s leading communications agencies.

Our highly experienced team serves clients around the world and across all areas of internal communications – from workforce engagement and leader communications to employee advocacy and change management. We tap our broad expertise and deep understanding of how internal strategies intersect with external imperatives to optimize audience engagement and communications performance.

Let’s talk.

Trish Nicolas, EVP Americas, [email protected]  | LinkedIn

Related articles