I saw this speed limit sign the other day while driving down a road near our HQ. It struck me that I’ve driven past it a thousand times and never noticed it. And I’ll bet no one else has either.
Among several problems with the sign, it shares a big one that’s common with workplace communications – it doesn’t change. When a sign, or any posted information, doesn’t change, people stop seeing it within a week. Our brains are wired that way, because if they truly recognized every sensory input at a given time we’d go insane. The process of blocking out the vast majority of input is called selective filtering which lets us focus on what’s important in the moment.
What this means is that you need to change your workplace messaging on a regular basis, even if the message is the same. For example, think of big brands like Coca-Cola and FedEx. Their products typically remain the same, but their advertisements are constantly changing. If they didn’t, you and I would selectively filter out their ads.
But that’s not the only problem with the speed limit sign. It’s old and deteriorating, the speed limit of 40 is obsolete as it’s ignored by most drivers, and it’s inaccurate, in that I’ve never seen one radar trap in the ten years I’ve been driving past it. In other words, the sign is completely disregarded by everyone.
The lesson here is to take a good look at your internal communications, whether print or digital. Make sure they’re up to date, relevant, accurate, and they change on a regular basis.