Making CommTech Tools Work Harder Through Agile

The CommTech framework plays out differently for folks tasked with employee activation than it does for people communicating with the public. In a series of three posts about People, Methods and Tools, I will explore important considerations for internal communication.

Part 2: How attention to work method creates forward momentum

Do you know how your team works? A lot of people can’t answer that question. Or, if they do, they give fuzzy answers, like, “We’re really collaborative,” or, “We’ve got great morale on our team,” or, “We wear jeans on Fridays.”


The most effective communications teams—and particularly employee activation teams—are keenly aware of the strategic impact of their work method. And this never comes into focus more rapidly than when a team encounters the kind of friction we experience all the time in internal communications.

One of the past decade’s biggest breakthroughs is that professionals outside of software development got hip to the idea of agile methods, a way for teams to foster transparency into team members’ work. Agile puts clients—in the case of internal activation, the employee—into the center of a team’s work effort, by enabling shorter time-to-release and increased focus on desired behavioral change.

Many organizations leaning into CommTech are adopting software that enables the agile method. For example, at Integral we use Trello to manage a kanban board, which allows us to see what team members are working on, and boosts our ability to identify and remove blockers along our path to success. Agile processes and tools can actually de-risk our communications decisions, as both the reduction in time between planning and deployment and the incremental release of activation programs narrow the window in which shifts in priorities, leadership changes, and other complications can send a project skittering off course.


Integral’s attention to purpose and method not only creates transparency within our team, but forward momentum. As professionals tasked with activating employees, we’re continuously asked to interrupt them with information. Often this is due to the inability of stakeholders to consider anything as important as their current directives; just as often it’s due to their inability to think beyond the goal of “driving awareness.”


It is the job of internal activation professionals, however, to remember that our customer is not (or not only) these stakeholders. Our customers are, primarily, employees, making it our duty to ensure we create and expose them to relatable communication that tells them what they need to do. “Awareness” is sometimes a step on the way to achieving this goal, but it is rarely—if ever—a desired final business result. Our methodology—being that agile ties work effort to clearly-defined business objectives—unleashes the tremendous amount of energy that would be wasted if we sat around waiting to see the results of weeks, months, or even years of work

Relationship Management Tools

Integral has helped clients leverage the agile method to great effect, particularly in managing relationships with stakeholders. For example, we’ve used agile to give stakeholders real-time visibility into work being performed, which allows them to intercept and redirect work as business priorities shift. Effectively, agile allows us to unlock the dynamism within teams by pushing them to seek out and respond to change—rather than resisting those changes.


What if the tools we used on a daily basis to manage tasks, engage remote employees, discover insights and organize content also worked for us, freeing us to do what we do best—imagining, analyzing, innovating, and creating—and even made us more effective as agents of employee activation?
What if we told you where you could find these tools all in one spot, along with personalized recommendations guiding you to the tools best fit your goals?


We recently launched the Integral CommTech Catalog, where we’ve captured hundreds of communications tools in one easy-to-search database, with tools that fit the crucial categories of Content, Insights, Relationships, and Workflow. Explore the tools and find those that could help your team become more agile—or schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

Read Part 1: People-Skills Needed Before Onboarding CommTech Tools

Watch the webinar: Navigating the CommTech Ecosystem

Ethan McCarty
CEO
Ethan is the founder and CEO of Integral, an award-winning employee activation agency serving leaders of Communications, HR, Marketing and Technology at organizations global and local alike.

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