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Five ways employee comms can drive bottom-line results

To find the ROI, enhance employee productivity by raising awareness of the best ways to work, productivity tools, facilities, and collaboration methods

Ethan McCarty, Bloomberg

 

When talking about communications, there’s a lot of confusion about what qualifies as a business outcome. Is it the number of page views your CEO’s memo got on your intranet? How about the average amount of time your employees lingered on the latest video you posted? A growing number of followers for your recruitment team’s Instagram feed?

While all of those metrics have merit, they’re not the ones that will keep your CEO up at night. Below, however, are five things that might. And if you work back from these five, chances are, your comms program will deliver significant value – and keep your CEO happy.

Sales

Driving sales would be dreamy, but isn’t that marketing’s job? Well, yes and no. While marketing teams play many key roles, they don’t always have the tools or experience to deeply engage the sales force. That’s where communicators excel.

Every company has products — so if you take the following sentence seriously as a communications objective, you will make great gains. Build greater understanding among the sales team of our products, our clients, and the marketplace. Put it up in your next staff meeting and see what your peers come up with.

Productivity

Let me guess, your company is a little quirky. It takes a while to learn the ropes. Oh, and there’s always some new tool or process coming along. Guess what? You’re not alone. We are fully enmeshed in an age of rapid change, frequent deployments of new IT, and iterative processes.

Open your ears to the pain points (don’t bother with an elaborate survey — let your own experience be your guide) and see if you can shave a few minutes of suffering off of every employee’s day with a little bit of clarity.

To find the ROI, enhance employee productivity by raising awareness of the best ways to work, productivity tools, facilities, and collaboration methods.

Security

A day doesn’t pass that another company finds itself on the wrong side of a data breach, cyberattack, or careless loss of data. You know who can make a difference? Your employees.

Despite the exciting headlines, it is rarely the case that these problems arise from truly hi-tech tactics. More often than not, the unfortunate event could have been avoided had the company invested in creating a culture of security.

Communications teams can make a company measurably more secure by partnering with security, running anti-phishing and safety-awareness campaigns, and contributing to a careful culture.

Benefits

Short of increasing sales, nothing improves the bottom line like increasing ROI. And that doesn’t have to mean cutting costs. Chances are your organization is spending considerably on providing benefits to its employees.

That investment pays off in many ways — from fewer sick days to more productive and energized employees to better odds on recruiting quality candidates who have heard about your great place to work. But if your employees aren’t using the benefits, they probably aren’t talking to friends and neighbors about them — and they certainly aren’t getting any healthier.

In your next quest for ROI, maximize your return on investment in benefits and employee programs by communicating how to use them wisely.

Recruiting

Last, but certainly not least, contemplate for a moment the cost of hiring and retaining great folks. Whether you are employing recruiters, doling out recruitment bonuses, or spending for online job postings, there are ways that the savvy communicator can pitch in.

At a minimum, think about instrumenting all of your external publications — blogs, press releases, YouTube, and more — with trackable links back to specific open positions. Better yet, feature your rock-star employees in authentic external campaigns — they’ll share with their networks, which are more likely than not filled with great people.

Consider this your new goal: Generate interest in jobs at the company by publishing content aligned with open positions externally, both through employee social sharing and digital channels.

There are many more places for communications teams to drive measurable value — but these provide a good start. And each one has observable behaviors that, with the right level of digital knowhow, can be tracked, measured, and improved to deliver even more benefit.

Ethan McCarty is global head of employee and innovation communications at Bloomberg.

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