Internal Communication Strategy, Tools and services

Insights and Updates

The latest from Changing The Terms:

COMPLETING “THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF INTERNAL COMMUNICATION” 

My latest research project, The Present and Future of Internal Communication, finished earlier this month with the publication of its 12 key conclusions and my summary article on IC Kollectif

But naturally, when one is working on matters of the future, conclusions are not an end, but a beginning.

The conclusions point in exciting directions:

●     IC is moving away from a focus on engagement and towards a focus on alignment as leaders seek sharper prioritization and higher agility 

●     Employees are increasingly recognized as communicators and contributors, instead of being mere recipients of communications. 

●     One-way and two-way approaches are giving way to multidirectional communications, based on a growing appreciation of today’s whole systems landscape and the role of internal influence within it.

●     Measurement and value assessment are becoming more tangible and, therefore, much more powerful.

●     In a world where products and services are converging and commoditizing rapidly, Internal Communication is increasingly seen both as a source and driver of strategic differentiation.

I say more about the report and its conclusions in my piece for sponsor Happeo on IC Kollectif.

CONSULTANCY

To put this research into practice, I’m looking for communicators and leaders interested in taking this thinking into their organizations – to drive sharper alignment, more actionable measurement, and ultimately, clearer differentiation.  

If you’d like a research-based approach to internal communication that can reduce noise while increasing impact, let’s talk.  

Send me an email at mike.klein@changingtheterms.com and we’ll put a conversation in the schedule. Or, if you prefer, book a consultation here.

LIVE EVENTS AND WEBINARS

I’ll be on the road quite a bit in the coming weeks, speaking in Oslo, London, and Toronto, and appearing on webinars hosted by sponsors Smarp and Bananatag

It will be great if you can join me at any of these live or online events.

Live Events

OSLO: Will be joint keynote for “What’s the next Big Thing in Internal Communication”, co-sponsored by the European Association of Communication Directors and the Norwegian Communication Association on 15 October.

LONDON: Will be delivering a set of two workshops for CIPRInside on Measurement and Noise Reduction/Internal Influence on 29 October. Please email me at mike.klein@changingtheterms.com so I can provide you with a 20%-off discount code.

TORONTO: My Measurement and Noise Reduction/Internal Influence workshops are also part of the offering for the Inner Strength Strategic Internal Communication Conference in Canada’s largest city on 27 November.

Webinars

SMARP’s “Great Debate”: IC people are rarely disagreeable, but we often disagree. And sponsor Smarp is seeking to stimulate some spirited conversation between myself, Canada’s Priya Bates and America’s Jason Anthoine. I think a bit of my “heresy” around “employee engagement” is likely to come through during our conversation on 22 October.

BANANATAG: International communication will be on the menu as I join Jenni Field, Chuck Gose, and Sony’s Tracy Chambers in a webinar that will touch on subjects like the appropriate use of jargon and the impact of multidirectional communication on employee-line manager relationships on 30 October.

FINALLY

Changing The Terms now has guides available on differentiation, internal influence and employee activism. Order your copies here.

Thank you for your continued interest and support – and for your help in “changing the game.”

Tools and services

Could IC have found its pot of gold? Data presents new opportunities

One of the areas in which internal communicators have historically struggled is measurement – particularly ability to demonstrate, or at least insinuate, linkages between internal communication activity and valuable business results.

In my recent research with twelve internal communicators – six in the US and six international – I see reason to believe that communicators are gaining confidence both the quality of the data they can access, and their ability to use that data to present clear and compelling cases for further investment in internal communication activity.

There remain some challenges.  In some cases, internal communicators find themselves using measures because data is available, even if the measures are themselves tangential to business performance.

Time to seize the measurement agenda

While the plethora of analytics available from online platforms and email analytic packages generate immense quantities of data, internal communicators need to be in a position to seize the measurement agenda and focus on measures which show a plausible relationship between communication activities and business outcomes.

Conversely, there are also opportunities to use data sources that aren’t based on IC channels to help track issues and language use in the business.  One participant highlighted enterprise search as a particularly fertile source for information about what staff find important, pertinent and relevant, and also about the language employees use to address and discuss ongoing business issues.

One potentially profound approach that is emerging is the calculation of “communication factors” – agreeing with the business the rightful amount of credit that should be attributed to communications’ impact on specific business outcomes.  There isn’t currently a magic formula or number available for common use. But the idea of having communicators and the business assign a numeric factor the the results – or at least to impact on changes in performance – could go a long way towards addressing the need of communicators to continually “prove their value” in return for continued investment.

There is no magic bullet – but internal communicators are better positioned than ever to take control over the measurement agenda, and start delivering harder numbers and clearer stories of impact.

Download “How to Measure what Matters” – the latest research report from Happeo.

Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms and an experienced internal communication strategist, writer and advocate. To schedule a free consultation, please click here.

Tools and services, Uncategorized

Six “term-changers” for internal communication

 

termchangersAs 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.

Pulse Tracker

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.

Muse

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

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.

Communication Climate

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.

Mirror Mirror

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?

Please fill out the short form below.