Your internal communication efforts depend greatly on being able to achieve proper reach and getting great engagement, which is highly dependent on having the right platform. Great content, ideas and campaigns represent one half of the equation, the other half is the vehicle you are using to broadcast them. This article explores how do you choose the best internal communication platform for your organization.
There are two key metrics for any internal communicator (1) reach and (2) engagement. Reach is a good indicator of how many views your communication is receiving. But reach is not enough, just because an employee saw your post in their News Feed doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll read it, that they’ll recall it later, or that behavior will change in the way you want. In order to build a relationship with your employees, you need engagement.
Engagement metrics indicate interactions beyond just simply views. Engagement in this context is defined as clicks, comments, likes, and shares. It is important to understand that just because your post has a high Reach, does not mean you will have high engagement. For example, some posts have LOW Reach but HIGH Engagement.
In summary, reach guarantees eyeballs, engagement guarantees attention. If you have eyeballs without attention, then your message is not very effective.
Most organizations are either relying on a single internal communications tool or have taken a best of breed approach with a broad range of tools that helps you to distribute your message far and wide.
But are they effective? When was the last time you analyzed your current comms platforms? Can they be improved upon?
In this article, we are going to look the essential components of an internal communications tool that helps you reach your entire audience to engage them, inform them, and ultimately inspire them.
Internal Communications is more than just top-down news
When people think of internal comms, they think about memos from the top, company news and updates. Basically, top-down information regarding new policies, the CEO’s strategy, or upcoming events. Internal communication to be effective needs to be more inclusive, decentralized, and relying as much on the employee as it does the employer.
Effective internal communications is a two-way dialogue that you, as an internal communication professional, need to maintain. Two important aspects of this dialog are:
- Conversations: the comments, and questions that make up the fabric of casual interactions between colleagues. These are the chat exchanges on digital platforms, or the funny note pinned up in the corporate lounge. Humans have a primordial need to interact with each other, successful workplaces encourages this type of interaction. These casual interactions and conversations spur good ideas, innovation, collaboration, and contribute to an open workplace culture.
- Employee feedback: Internal communications should always be two-way. You need to constantly seek the opinions of your workforce. Long gone are the days of the once-a-year survey to measure the state of comms. You need to carry out pulse surveys on a regular basis. You need your employees involved in the discussion to build a communicate and improve engagement, and satisfaction.
So, what are important considerations when choosing our internal communication tools?
Every organization is a living organism that changes over time. This change is constant and creates a need to revisit and adapt the ways you connect and communicate with your employees. But amid all this change, there are some important things that you need to consider when choosing your internal communication tool.
Comms should be integrated with your employees existing tools
Your employees have a set of business tools that they use on a regular basis. These tools capture your workforce attention throughout the workday. Your comms platform needs to take advantage of this fact and embed your communications into these tools, bringing the communications to them where they are spending their time.
For example, office workers are likely using MS Teams to collaborate and host virtual meetings. Your comms platform should embed your communication in MS Teams for seamless viewing, commenting, and sharing. This eliminates context switching and the need for your employees to go to a different platform to view and engage with your content.
Do not forget about Email
Email has the worst reputation of any communication platform. Some argue that is becoming less vital as a platform in the office, but most studies show that not to be the case.
Most workers use or at least check their work email account every day. It is a regular platform with obvious benefits. What you need is the ability to use email as a recall or notification mechanism while moving employees to a platform where they can enjoy richer, more meaningful conversations.
Allow employees to define their signal
For communication to be effective, it needs to be tailored to each employee based on their needs and interests. You want to avoid one-size-fits-all messages that clutters employees’ newsfeeds with irrelevant information.
Allowing employees to define their signal while supporting your need for mandatory communication encourages engagement.
Information access across all devices
Most organizations have a diverse workforce with different roles. Some employees are information workers that sit at a desk, while others are in the field facing your customers, working in distribution centers, or spending most of their days on the road.
Your internal communication platform needs to be able to reach and engage your entire workforce. From the head office to the factory floor. Accessibility of your content on digital screens, smart phones, tablets, and shared computers is essential.
Crises are inevitable and at some point your organization will, unfortunately, face a crisis. We have seen organizations use social media out of desperation to communicate with their employees during a crisis. Exposing them to significant risk on a public forum. What you need is the ability to provide regular updates, have a secure channel of communication as a reliable source of truth for essential information, and be able to reach your workforce outside of working hours.
Employee Feedback an Interaction
We all know that for internal communications to be truly effective, it needs to be bi-directional. Your comms platform needs to allow your employees to comment, react, ask questions, share news, tag other people in. Fostering a sense of community from the head office to front lines is essential to maximize engagement and the reach of your communications.
Analytics are essential if you are going to improve reach and engagement. As a communicator, you are looking for consolidated stats around content, employees, and topics. Content analytics should differentiate between views, compete reads, and engagement while employee analytics should identify champions, and unengaged users.
You do not have the time nor the expertise to manually correlate analytics, never mind to create and maintain your own reports and dashboards. The comms platform should have these built in. You also would like the ability to download the raw data and engage my IT department to create your own custom reports.
Ultimately, analytics need to be internal communication specific. Google or SharePoint level analytics around page views, time on page, etc. are not specific enough for you to improve my communication.
At the end of the day, the right type of communciations platform makes sure to
- Integrate with the tools your workforce is using
- Provides an opportunity to engagement for everyone, across the tools, as if the engagement was native to each one
- Give the detail breakdown of how everyone is engaging with the content
- Be simple and easy to use
A common concern is whether or not it’s worth making a change, can another communications platform really make that big of a difference? The answer is yes.
If you are ready for a modern, vibrant communication platform, we’d like to introduce you to Sparrow.
If you’re looking for a platform to help make your life easier and connecting you with all of your workforce, give Sparrow a look. We’ve lived the pain, we understand the hopes, and we built a platform for communication professionals that delivers. From Intranets, to Microsoft Teams, to newsletters, and mobile, we know how important corporate communications is. Sparrow – Built for Communicators. Book a conversation with us today.