Internal communications continues to be a major obstacle for organizations. If you’re not effectively delivering information to employees, you can trip yourself up -- especially if you’re trying to grow.
In fact, according to a 2017 report from Dynamic Signal, 73 percent of communication specialists say communicating company news is a serious challenge and 37 percent say internal silos are the biggest challenge.
The good news is that with the right tools and strategy, you can break down silos and find an effective way to keep employees in the know. A strong internal communications strategy enhances the employee experience and helps your staff see the big picture.
Take our client, BroadSoft, for example. BroadSoft is the global market-share leader in their sector, Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). They won the Internal Communications Award at the 2017 North American Employee Engagement Awards, which is a testament to their strategy.
Let’s take a look at what Broadsoft did differently to master internal communications.
Craft a plan
BroadSoft wanted to take a structured, targeted approach, which is why they started with gathering feedback from their employees. They considered the demographics of their audience in order to choose the best method of communication.
After analyzing their data, they decided video content should be included in their internal communications strategy.
They also used these best practices when planning their communications content:
- Make content snackable and easily accessible
- Keep video content succinct and to the point
- Add visuals and photos to keep content engaging
- Ensure that content is scannable and easy to digest quickly
- Create a method for interaction and engagement
Establish a dialogue
Sneak previews of the communications program were shared with colleagues, the engagement committee, and executives - who were all asked for feedback.
They hosted virtual town halls, where they engaged their employees with a ‘word hunt’ game that was embedded in the video (whoever won the game earned a prize). For their live town halls, they used two-way video linking to enable several offices to engage in real time.
Additionally, live Q&A discussions helped them understand what topics were on people’s minds and gave them a chance to provide answers immediately. They held these Q&A sessions during their Town Halls and also virtually via the company’s Team-One Collaboration App.
Keep it simple
As BroadSoft adopted video into their internal communications strategy, they managed to keep their process straightforward and user-friendly.
When their Chief Financial Officer, James Tholen, records quarterly post-earning videos, the team uses an iPhone and records him in his office. His laptop and notes are next to him, and he talks directly to the camera as he shares earnings information.
To encourage employees to share company content through social media a video of Senior executives holding signs, like “I use Twitter. Do you?” was circulated. The productions are no-budget, low-key videos but they are quick to produce and get the message across quickly and simply.
Stay relevant, engaging, and consistent
BroadSoft wanted all employees involved in internal communications so everyone had a sense of ownership and involvement. Sharyn Nerenberg, Director, Employee Engagement & Communications, says, “Having two-way video connections made the events truly interactive and showed employees that leadership is really interested in what they have to say. Employees are hungry for information and want to be engaged, to be heard and to be part of the ONE culture. Above all, leadership support and involvement are necessary to make a program like this work.”
Their work has paid off - they’ve seen an increase in participation at global town hall meetings from 74% in July 2016 to 86% in January 2017. One employee provided this feedback: “Excellent All Hands meeting. Helped to learn about the key achievements, highlights, strategies and direction for Broadsoft. Great to hear the views and insights from the leaders!!! Although 8,500 miles away in Auckland, New Zealand, I felt I was physically present at BroadSoft HQ.” They’ve also seen three times the amount of audience interest in business issues such as quarterly earnings presentations from the CFO via video as compared to the webinars they used to do.
Even with all of BroadSoft’s communication improvements, they are not done yet. “A major component of the program yet to be implemented is an employee app. We are also going to redesign our email templates and intranet home page to be more engaging. Finally, we are looking at overall key message impact via benchmark measurements such as retention rates,” says Nerenberg.
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