How to avoid giving employees the ick (and other things we’ve learned from online dating).

Did you know the language of love (well, dating platforms) can teach us a thing or two about how not to communicate share plans? We bet you’d love to find out more…

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, a recent watercooler chat at Eximia turned to how tech has changed the way we communicate in the dating world. And we realised that actually, you can just as easily be ghosted or love bombed as an employee as you can on a dating app.

So how can you boost your internal comms, without coming across too thirsty? How can you make sure you don’t catfish your colleagues? And how do you get them to say “it’s a match!”, rather than feeling like they’ve been submarined?


You meet someone you like, but you also want to keep your options open, so you text them just often enough to keep them interested.

You launch your share plan, people sign up, and you have all those wonderful start-of-relationship chats with them about “the future”. You’re excited, they’re excited and you skip, hand in hand, into a blissful three-year vesting period. They work hard and pay their way but after a while, all those exciting conversations tail off and they start to feel a bit… forgotten. If you’re not regularly keeping that chat about the future alive, they may well wander off into the sunset alone!


You lead someone along with sporadic text messages because you like the attention, but have little intention of following through with an actual date.

You talk the talk when it comes to share plans, and you feed employees tempting titbits of information. But where is this trail of breadcrumbs leading to? If you’re not giving them the full picture from the off (with a well-planned comms strategy and a clear call to action) then all your efforts to get them on board could essentially be… toast.


You attach yourself to someone during the dull winter months to pass the time, with the full intention of doing a runner the second the clocks go forward.

In the share plan world, you come across super-keen in all your comms around key dates in the calendar, such as enrollment or contribution time, but outside of those you’re so busy chasing other priorities that your poor colleagues are left wondering if you’ve cut all ties.


You present yourself online as a 20-something with the body of a god or goddess and a six-figure bank account, five humanitarian awards and a second home in the Maldives. But you’re… not that. And there’s nothing wrong with being you, but if you lie about it from the off, you’re going to get into all sorts of trouble down the line.

In your share plan comms, you just don’t sound like you, and your employees feel like you’re suddenly talking to them in a whole new language. Because share plans are complex, in a panic you’ve thrown all your usual tone of voice guidelines out the window and come over way more serious with loads of legal and financial jargon. If your usual tone is light-hearted and conversational, don’t lose this. Also, own your comms and give them personality by signing off as you or your team.


You date someone for a while, build up a nice rapport and then promptly vanish, with zero explanation.

You launch an all-singing-all-dancing internal campaign to promote share plans, create a nice buzz lasting a few weeks and then… nothing. The campaign ends, the activity tails off, and all those thinking of making a commitment but needing just a little more love and attention feel forgotten, and take their affections elsewhere.

Love bombing

You meet someone, shower them with love and affection until you get what you want. Then once you’ve reeled them in, you tone it right down and stop making any effort.

You launch your share plan, excitedly sending out loads of comms telling everyone what it’s about and why they should join. There are videos, webinars, cool intranet posts with fancy gifs attached – the works. People come on board and then bam, all communication stops bar the odd grunt (email) reminding them of their commitment, without making any other effort to keep the relationship alive.


You vanish from someone’s life and unashamedly pop up six months later in a 3am text full of typos, acting like nothing has happened.

A bit like lovebombing, except this time anyone who didn’t respond to your initial burst of passion for all things share plan gets dumped by the roadside with no follow up whatsoever. Six months down the line you launch your next plan. You try to reel in your colleagues with an out-of-the-blue email (hopefully minus the typos and sent at a slightly more sociable hour!), which is promptly trashed.

The Ick

You think you’re getting along great, but the other person just isn’t feeling it. You’ve given them the “ick”, meaning you’re in danger of getting the flick.

You come across too cheesy, too pushy or are simply so confused in what you’re trying to say that people just give up on you altogether and go find something more interesting to do. You’ve given them the corporate-ick! Make sure there’s strategy in your employee comms: plan a campaign, with employees at its heart, to reach them in a way they can really engage with.


You come across way too desperate and needy, essentially putting any potential suitors right off.

Getting everyone excited about share plans is a fine art. You want to pique interest, but you don’t want to bombard them so much they choke every time you ping into their inbox.

It’s a match!

You’ve reached out, they like what they see and it could just be the start of a beautiful relationship.

You launch your share plan campaign, your employees stop in their tracks and take notice and they’re ready to find out more. Now you’re all set to keep your beautiful new relationship – just make sure you avoid doing any of the things above and keep the communication going for long-term connection!

Download this handy takeaway to make sure your next campaign makes all the right moves!

How to avoid giving employees the ick

We hope this bit of fun this Valentine’s gets you thinking of how you can use your internal comms to woo your colleagues. If you’d like help making sure you don’t inadvertently give everyone the ick with your next campaign, come and chat to us. We’d LOVE to help!

phone Call us on 020 7420 1984 or send us a message

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