As I have said often, it’s not the easiest of times to be a strategically-oriented internal communicator.
At a time when clients want “snazzy-snappy-happy” tactics, a number of brave practitioners and firms have developed real tools and methodologies that seek to change the game, or even “change the terms” for their clients.
These six are particularly interesting to me, in that they are focused on driving alignment, to reduce the noise, friction and even the conflicts that keep organizations from moving in a common direction.
The Influencer Scan
I start with a shameless plug for my own tool, the Influencer Scan, which uses snowball sampling to work with employees to surface the most influential employees in their organizations. Noting that the top three percent of employees who are most influential in each company drive conversations with 90% of their colleagues, the Influencer Scan builds on trusted relationships to build a lean, fast and credible internal communication process that can either supplement or replace more expensive and intrusive approaches.
My friends at Innovisor in Copenhagen use a different methodology for finding internal influencers than I do, but are equally strong proponents of the 3-90 rule. Innovisor’s Pulse Tracker is a user-friendly software used by IC, HR and change professionals to track perceptions and engagement of the most influential 3% - and only that top 3%. This not only makes the INNOVISOR Pulse Tracker much more resource efficient than any other organization-wide survey, it also provides an early – and fast - indicator of changes in the direction of organizational perceptions and engagement. It only takes five days from question to results.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the fine folks at Woodread are focusing on improving content, and improving the ability of practitioners to deliver it. Their product, Muse, offers access to a uniquely bundled set of services and resources to address the internal communication challenges HR, engagement and internal communications practitioners face. Muse combines the tactical: a service which gives internal communicators access to consumer quality comms written in their own corporate style, along with a package consisting of exclusive training, ‘how to’ guides and access to a community of Muse users to share ideas and best practice. A comment from an HR practitioner is indicative: “You think you’ve ‘nailed it’ until you see how with a few subtle changes by Muse it reads even better. This has really helped not only to improve our communications but also to coach our team in what is needed to really achieve our Tone of Voice.” Nicola-Jayne Thomas Head of Reward, Relations and Development, Peugeot Citroën
Eli is an award-winning platform that’s unique in that it enables communication between incoming employees and their new organizations during the onboarding process. Eli is a highly flexible and versatile tool, which can support communication with specific audiences at any stage of the employee lifecycle, allowing for a seamless, brand-aligned experience from the moment candidates apply to the moment they move on as former employees.
Marc Do Amaral, one of the more innovative practitioners in the Netherlands and an IC Kollectif internal com thought leader, has developed an approach for assessing and improving the communication climate inside an organization. The Communication Climate inventory addresses perceptions of fairness, autonomy, certainty and relatedness, and how they impact employee attitudes towards top managers, supervisors and colleagues--usually more strongly than expected. Even so, they are seldom explicitly discussed, remaining largely invisible in the undercurrent. The inventory surfaces these perceptions through a survey, followed by a process where the findings are broadly shared and discussed. This provides the basis for the design phase which builds toward a shared vision of the desired communication climate and the key behaviors and interventions needed to cultivate it.
Focusing both on on-boarding and team communication and appraisal, Lindsay Uittenbogaard’s “Mirror Mirror” tool provides a structured but rapid approach for driving team alignment. Mirror Mirror allows teams to develop a shared picture of ‘where they are now’ so they have the clarity, alignment, and momentum needed to progress to ‘where they want to go next’. Think detailed team employee survey with immediacy. Think psychometrics and teamwork insights with applicability. Think engagement on a plan with doability.
So these are six tools. Six battle-tested, real-world products and services that make a tangible difference in addressing actual business challenges.
They are here for the taking. And they need your support.
Quality tools need quality practitioners to buy them and use them. Are you interested? Do you want to Change The Terms?
Internal communications pro with a bent towards increasing impact while reducing noise and friction. Former US political consultant, London Business School MBA. Tribal loyalties include IABC, EACD, Tottenham Hotspur FC and the Wisconsin Badgers.