Internal Communications in the Digital Age: Are You Ready?
60% of communications professionals don’t measure the effectiveness of their internal communications efforts. And what doesn’t get measured can’t be effectively managed. At PostBeyond we see this all the time, and many companies are in the same boat when we first meet with them. But leading companies are reaping huge rewards by implementing an employee-first modern communications strategy. That’s why the IABC, in co-operation with PostBeyond, put together a panel featuring some of the leading thinkers in employee communications to discuss lessons learned, best practices and pitfalls to avoid.
Jason Jacobs, Director of Online and Strategic Communications, RBC – Jason highlighted an often overlooked basic need of internal comms – “Know your audience.” Think of the different types of communications and realize the challenge of talking with a time-starved audience.
Mark Jordan, Director, Digital Projects, Brand Strategy & Communication, SickKids – Mark framed the discussion in three areas: Policy, Training, and Content. There are similar challenges between internal and external communications and lots of lessons to be learned from the marketing world. He is seeing an increased focus on employee experience and the employee journey and stressed the importance of developing and ongoing conversation with the audience versus pushing content “at” them.
Jackie DeSouza, Director of Strategic Communications, City of Toronto – Jackie stressed the importance of measurement and tailoring the message for different segments of the audience. Choose topics that resonate with the audience and use multiple channels to get the message across.
Sherrilynne Starkie, President, Thornley Fallis Communications – Sherrilynne spoke about aligning comms to achieve business objectives (e.g. brand building, internal alignment, damage control, etc.). You are competing with lots of content – always think of the end consumer of the content – “What’s in it for me?”.
Different groups care about different topics, that’s no surprise. Keep in mind that your audience (whether internal or external) want experiences that are customized and tailored to them. Offering employees something relevant shows that you’ve thoughtfully considered their needs – that goes a long way.
Machine Learning/Content Aggregation
On a similar note, we’re in the early stages of using machine learning within organizations to identify what works and what doesn’t for content consumption. What one employee finds valuable won’t resonate with another – that’s no surprise. But the level of detail we can glean from consumption patterns is what’s valuable for internal comms professionals. This data will shape your content strategy and offer employees an experience that’s more relevant to them.
Modernizing your internal communications processes can shape new habits and behaviours from employees. Using technology that matches their habits outside of work is a way to ensure that your internal communications strategy is helping your workforce adapt to the changing workplace.
Executive Thought Leadership
Enterprises are seeing the value of humanizing their leadership. The days of the unapproachable C-Suite are fading out, and for good reason: CEO’s who are active on social media are seen as more innovative and trustworthy by their employees. A solution like PostBeyond allows executives to build up their thought leadership both internally and externally.
Internal communications has a massive opportunity to be a leader of change in the workplace. The way an organization communicates inwardly speaks volumes about what they value. If you’re one of the 60% of internal communications professionals who don’t measure your effectiveness, chances are there’s an opportunity for you to use technology to your advantage. I encourage you to think of how you’re currently communicating with your workforce, and think about how you can innovate.