CommTech Tools: From Distribution to Insight

The CommTech framework plays out differently for folks tasked with employee activation than for people communicating with the public. In a series of three posts about People, Methods, and Tools, I explore important considerations for internal communication. In part 3 of the series, the last part, I explore how analytic data turns into insights that inform strategic direction and tactics.

Part 3: Tools

One of the funny things I’ve found is that people who’ve been in employee communications roles have a better grip on technology than other folks in our profession. Why? Because we’ve had to interface more often with technologists, whether because we’re responsible for an intranet, or because we rely on complex email distribution systems.

We inevitably explore segmentation, personalization, and socialization. These bring us haphazard knowledge of these technologies and allows us to build a working understanding of how their costs relate to the potential business benefits across all parts of our organizations. So there can be an advantage to making distribution systems our CommTech beachhead.

We’ve all experienced how these content distribution systems (which might include digital signage, mobile apps, and other channels) demand that we generate content at scale. We create content from scratch and teams grow to include not only writers and editors, but video producers, graphic designers, podcasters, interviewers, and others. Over time, we realize that things like workflow and digital asset management are important, as well as management of graphics rights, shooting schedules, photo releases, and the like.

How do we think about outcomes?

Then, of course, we start to question if what we’re doing is producing the results we want, and we start to gather a mess of data about the effectiveness of our internal campaigns. But because employees interact with clients and talk about your business with friends and family, their activity on social media also becomes an area of interest—and sometimes concern—for employee communications.

This progression from internal content distribution to external free-for-alls is what prompted me to launch Integral. Analytic tools help us make sense of social activity and consider how we can better manage employee participation, while workflow tools help us gather insight, create truly compelling content, and develop relationships. In employee CommTech, there are a raft of tools for each of these. Generally, employee communications professionals start with the intranet, a mobile app, or other tools that deliver content directly to employees, but goals get much more sophisticated over time.

At Integral, we love to see organizations think of employee communications not as the internal postal service, but as an enabler of change. And we want communications professionals to have a more active role as stakeholders—or owners—of communications technologies within our organizations.
And this is where our profession gets exciting. How many emails cross-business units? What blockers keep this from happening? Can we get some analysis there? Interesting insights might show how your organization can grow. Other data points that can become critical business issues: What’s the effect of employee communications campaigns on the time to resolution within a call center? How often does a single employee have to reset their password?

In this day and age, everyone has a zillion distractions. We’re a click away from an infinite amount of content that’s much more interesting than work, so we need to think of employees not as owned or paid media, but as earned. We must persuade employees to pay attention, take action, and build the confidence to excel and make a positive difference to the organization. CommTech, when instrumented correctly, can be the wind in our sails as a profession—and a real superpower for those of us who lean in and experiment.

Integral warns: Buyer beware.

There’s no perfect recipe for mixing CommTech solutions. It’s critical to first consider the change in behavior you want to see in employees and build goals from there—rather than starting with the message you want to impart on your employees. The very best thing to do is experiment. To get started, head to the Integral CommTech catalog and explore the hundreds of tools we’ve collected into an organized, easy-to-search database.

Though experimentation can be tricky—particularly with security and compliance—take the opportunity to test-drive our recommended tools and consider which will help you construct the experience you want for your employees. You might even involve them in the review process to gain a better understanding of what drives them and what they feel is most important to your success.
Of course, Integral is here to guide you through your experimentation. Explore the Integral CommTech Catalog, then complete our “let’s chat” form and we’ll schedule a complimentary consultation. Or if your company has grown to love a tool and don’t see it there, you can also add it to our ever-growing list.

Read Part 1: People-Skills Needed Before Onboarding CommTech Tools
Read Part 2: Making CommTech Tools Work Harder Through Agile

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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