Next-Gen Internal Comms: The New Frontier of Measurement

Advances in technology have made today’s employee more accessible than ever before. Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Snapchat—the biggest tech platforms in the world are all centered around communication and enabling organizations to connect internally in new ways. However, the impact of technology on internal communications has just as many disadvantages as benefits.

The traditional cascade communications model, where organizations send messages from the top down, is bordering on the archaic as today’s employees often find themselves inundated with messages from across an organization—making them harder to reach. Compound that with the ability to filter through messaging more easily and employee engagement is suffering. To combat this, organizations must not only re-evaluate their approach to communications, but also how the impact is measured.

Organizations must first get into a mindset where measurement is critical, and develop and deploy the tools and technology to monitor the channels in place to reach employees. By analyzing findings and identifying opportunities to improve communications, organizations can begin to make data-fueled decisions about the cadence, audiences and proper channels for strategic messaging.

Measurement comes in many forms, but the key to determining what works for an organization, from website analytics to comments on internal stories, is an analysis of the messaging’s tone. Many consultancies and tools exist out there to help with this but, in the meantime, here are the four fundamental questions we recommend leaders ask themselves when evaluating communications:internal-comms

  1. Where is the impact of the communications in real-time?
    More and more organizations set up Social Media Command Centers for teams to monitor, listen and draw insights from data and conversations in real time. Determining how to do the same type of real-time listening to employees is rapidly becoming a reality.
  1. Is the communication human-centered?
    You’ll often find truly happy customers are actually talking to truly empowered employees. Eurostar’s contact center handles an average of 16,500 calls and 3,000 emails every week. To ensure its service agents can spend less time on administration, and more time enriching customer experiences, Eurostar uses Service Cloud by Salesforce. Specifically, they use Salesforce Chatter, the enterprise social networking tool, to simplify information sharing and accelerate responses.
  1. How predicative and persuasive are your messages?
    We helped one of the Big 4 public accounting firms determine which internal communications messages, messengers and channels would lead to higher effectiveness so we could increase employee engagement firm-wide. Ask yourself, “Is this resonating with employees?”
  1. Is data being expressed through engaging and visual stories?
    In her Persuasion and the Power of Story video, Stanford University Professor of Marketing Jennifer L. Aaker explains that stories are meaningful when they are memorable, impactful and personal. In our work with a medical device company, we created visual representations of the personas of employees, the information that was most important to them, the barriers they faced in getting information, and the channels they used most frequently. Creating visual stories helped connect leaders and communicators to the data in an emotional way.

What’s your approach to measuring communication that matters most to employees?

Unlock Your Most Powerful Reputation Asset: Your Employees

Many refer to today’s corporate landscape as the “reputation economy,” with consumer decisions becoming increasingly dependent on online reviews and opinion leaders. We believe the same is happening within many corporations, where opinions are being formed not only by a combination of influencers, media, pundits and activists, but also through interactions with a brand’s most powerful reputation asset: its employees.

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Our reputation management offering, Reputation by Permission, recognizes that more than ever before, a company’s reputation is being shaped by its stakeholders. And companies that remain ardently committed to terms like control, protect, safeguard, and manage are doomed to fail in today’s world of citizen journalism and instantaneous news.

Looking at reputation through the lens of stakeholders’ perspectives must be the first brick in the foundation of a successful reputation management program. To modernize the approach, companies can no longer judge the status of their reputation solely through the eyes of their corporate leadership. The Reputation by Permission paradigm demands an unbiased (often fearless) look at how a company is perceived by its professionals, and requires a concise strategy to move its reputation forward from where it is now, to where it needs to be.

Perhaps most importantly, companies must look within at the perception, sentiment and discussion among employees and engage in discussions about the company, brand, and products and services.

Here are four steps to better engage employees and harness one of the most critical assets of any company:

4-steps

1. Undertake a deep, sincere and regular assessment about how employees feel about the culture, leadership and company.
If the people a company pays every day to act and serve on your behalf are not celebrating the culture built, the innovative products and services offered, and the positive impact it has on customers and communities, why would external stakeholders?

2. Enhance how employee engagement and sentiment is being monitored.
If a company is relying solely on annual assessments of employee attitudes, it will have no leverage in winning the hearts and minds of employees where pride, inspiration and loyalty are determined on a day-to-day basis.

3. Ask for employees’ support.
All too often, companies hope that employees will say positive things about their experiences and perceptions about the company. Many employees do so but are not empowered with the permission, tools and direction to be the most effective advocates.

4. Be clear about the goal, supporting behaviors and actions.
Optimize the leadership skills and communication ecosystem in your company to help employees understand a brand’s purpose, aspiration and the role they play in helping to bring these to life each day. If they are not involved in creating that vision, their commitment may never reach the levels needed to build internal permission.

We’d love to hear how you engage your employees and earn the permission you need to succeed in today’s era of transparency. Feel free to leave a thought or question in the comments section below.