employee engagementInternal communications

How to get the most out of your internal comms budget

By June 2, 2015 No Comments

Are you working with the same internal comms budget that you had this time last year? According to the Internal Communication and Technology Survey Report 2014 by Newsweaver and Melcrum, 55% of internal comms professionals expected their budget to stay the same for the following year, with more than 50% saying their organisation doesn’t invest enough in employee engagement.

More than 50% say their organisation doesn’t invest enough in employee engagement

A more recent study by the Gatehouse Group, the State of the Sector survey, published this April, showed that not only are budgets the same but so are the techniques that teams are using to engage staff: 85% of internal comms departments rely on traditional meetings to convey company messages, with digital communication dominated by email – for 91% it’s their main comms tool, followed by intranets (80%) and enewsletters (75%).

I’ve read a lot of commentary about internal comms; a recurring theme is that people feel they waste too much time in meetings and that they feel overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive.

It could be time that your internal comms strategy got a shot in the arm. The same budget doesn’t have to mean that you use it in the same way.

Social media in internal comms

According to the State of the Sector survey, social media within internal communications is still at a nascent stage, with a few early adopters leading the way (16% say their use of social is advanced, while 15% admit their use is ‘non-existent’). As we reported in a recent blog about furniture giant Ikea’s internal communications strategy embracing the possibilities laid out by social media and giving your employees a platform to communicate can pay dividends – in Ikea’s case a steady stream of new ideas by the ‘My Ikea Product Idea’ group.

Social media also allows for access across devices, both work and personal – a key consideration as more firms adopt a Bring Your Own Device policy. It also opens up creative opportunities for connectivity with senior leaders in the form of video addresses or short animations to explain a culture change. These are the mediums that people use in their private lives – there’s no reason not to utilise them in the workplace.

People feel they waste too much time in meetings and overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive

A measure of your internal success

Another consideration is measurement. As the 2014 Newsweaver survey points out, the lack of investment could be down to the lack of visible return on investment (the report revealed that only 26% felt that could demonstrate ROI, while only 40% were satisfied that they could measure the impact of their communications). If you have an enewsletter, you should be measuring open rates at least. But what about what’s inside the newsletter? Are there calls to action actually asking staff to click through to something? Are you including a mini poll or survey to gauge opinion? As with any communication employee engagement should be a conversation.

And it’s a conversation worth having: an engaged workforce is a productive one. And who knows, with an improved bottom line, next year’s budget could look a lot more promising.

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