What does the future hold for Internal Communications – Melcrum Live Part 1

Yesterday Interact were the main sponsors for the conference Melcrum Live. Melcrum, for those of you who may not know, is the leading professional body for Internal Communication professionals.

The conference was great and with over 200 Internal Communications professionals registering for it, there was a great buzz and energy around the day.

Whilst there I thought I would take down some of the key points from each talk and share them with you, so if you didn’t get a chance to attend this time then you could see what was covered. Alternatively maybe you did attend and this blog will help as a reminder of some of the great advice and insights given by each speaker.

Read the tweets for the conference at #melcrumlive

Eras of Internal Communication – what does the future look like?

Victoria Mellor, Melcrum’s CEO & Founder, kicked off the day with a great talk looking at what challenges businesses face and how internal communications can help cut through the complexities, drive positive change and operate in the right way in this new modern world.

Victoria identified 4 key drivers to the new era of internal communications:

Driver 1 – The Growth of Social Media

Companies that use social media for internal use on average see a 22% increase in growth (stats from 2010-2011). They also see a number of benefits including:

  • Increasing speed to access knowledge
  • Reducing communication costs
  • Increasing speed to access internal experts
  • Reducing operational costs
  • Increasing successful innovations
  • Increasing revenue

And with 1 in 5 employees actively disengaged, these social tools can unlock those employees and help drive profit and increase revenue.

Driver 2 – The Power of the Employee Voice

A study by Edelman PR identified that the perceived credibility of employees has risen by 47% and the CEO reduced by 25%. Internal Communication teams now need to look at what can be done about the trust gap in leadership and also learn to effectively harness the voice of the employee.

It was interesting to see that ‘the experts’ in a company are still perceived to have the most powerful influence and this is still increasing. At Interact we know how important it is to be able to easily identify and access the right experts in your company and we see features such as Interact Answers and Endorsements being critical to the success of this.

To read more on this study then take a look at Rachel Millers blog, from all things IC, on the study

Driver 3 – The Evolving Role of the IC

Internal Communication professionals have moved over the years from ‘craft experts’ to a role as an ‘organisational connector’ in the business. This means now being responsible for collaboration, communities & networks, understanding employees, social media and driving dialogue.

Driver 4 – The Manager Breakdown

Going forward managers need to build trust with their employees and be empathetic to their needs and listen to them. This was bought home by a study that showed 86% of managers self-perceived their communication performance as good to very good, yet 83% of employees rated managers communication ability as poor to average.

We are in a new culture now, which needs a new style of communication. Internal communication needs to help move conversation along in the right direction.

Top Ten Internal Communcation practices

Sona Hathi, Head of Content and Research, at Melcrum then took to the stage to unveil the coolest innovations in Internal Communications they have found around the globe this year.

Practice 10 – Redefining IC Competencies

Melcrum have created an online competency model and tool that looks at the new skills and competencies required by Internal Communications in this new era.

Practice 9 – Building Agile Planning Processes

Internal Communication teams traditionally work in the process of:

  1. Stakeholder has objectives and deliverables
  2. Internal Communication then goes and works on these and delivers a solution at the end.

However, if It goes wrong it can be a big costly mistake.

Sona, recommended that an agile planning process is used instead, which breaks down projects into smaller bite-size deliverables and rolls them out in shorter amounts of time to allow testing and refinement. Therefore you can afford to fail and rebuild and adapt to turn failure into success.

Practice 8 – Strengthening Internal Dialogue

70-80% of change program’s fail due to lack of employee buy-in. Melcrum has seen a massive upturn in having an employee ambassador programme to improve engagement and allow peer-to-peer dialogue to improve engagement levels.

Practice 7 – Unlocking Managers Through Network Analysis

It’s critical to identify influential people in your company and fully engage and utilise these people in the business to bring success.

We find Interact’s Influence Score is just one easy way to help uncover these engaged employees, rating them on their contribution and influence on your intranet.

Practice 6 – Using a System to Migrate Culture

Melcrum have refined a process to help identify the levers you need to push and pull to get culture where you want it to be.

This briefly touched on 1. Purpose / Strategy 2. Structure (tools need to make happen) 3. People 4.Incentives and 5. Lateral Mechanisms

Practice 5 – Tailoring Training and Tools to Empower Empoyees

Highlighting that employees want to take part in forums and discussions but often they are put off because they don’t know where the boundaries are. Internal Communication teams need to overcome these barriers by equipping them with the right tools can help maximise participation with already engaged and active employees.

An example of PepsiCo’s successful training programme was discussed that showed how they built an ambassador programme around social interactions on their intranet.

Practice 4 – Lifting above social media features

Following on from the previous point, Sona discussed the importance of collaboration in driving improved business performance and bringing leaders to the forefront of the business regardless of hierarchy.

However, using social tools to do this requires first identifying the pain points employees experience in their role and ensuring these new tools align to solving those issues.

Practice 3 – Adapting metrics to new environment

Interesting algorithm from Shell to measure engagement – although it was noted that ‘Shares’ was missing and should be taken into consideration:

Measuring engagement

Practice 2 – Choosing & reporting the best KPIs

Having clear KPIs and reporting them to Senior Managers is critical to ongoing success. A pyramid from Deloitte looked at the four following areas to look at:

Business Strategy > Comms Objectives > KPIs > Metrics

Looking at email open rates and downloads is just one part of journey since all statistics and trends need to tie back to overall business strategies.

Interact Analytics is a powerful reporting tool that enables Internal Communication teams to quickly report back on the success of their internal comms strategy via their intranet.

Pratice 1 – Training Managers and Leaders Differently

The final point wasn’t covered in any depth but rather highlighted as an area Melcrum are looking at in more depth over the next 6 months.

Coffee break then came so we could regroup and take in all the advice Melcrum had to offer during the morning sessions.

This is where I will end this Melcrum Live part 1 and will post the rest of the conference in part 2 tomorrow morning.

Follow @intranetexperts on twitter to find out when part 2 goes live.