Internal communication laid bare at Melcrum Summit

Comms pros were invited to investigate ‘the relationship between the art and science of internal communication’ at the 12th Annual Melcrum Summit 2013, held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London.

In other words, how to blend the best of art and science and drive measurement, insight and accountability for your internal communication.

Here Luke Dodd, @lukeatmelcrum, Features Editor at Melcrum writes for my blog to let us know what happened at the event last week, what was discussed and what we missed. Over to you Luke…

During the event, our expert speakers shared ideas, tools, techniques and practices around this theme, with a special ingredient added to the mix: Total transparency. They held nothing back about their challenges, and delegates had a richer learning experience as a result.

Honest stories of success

Dealing with negativity
Stacy MacNeil, Vice President Employee Communications, HP, (pictured) discussed her organisation’s difficult period openly and highlighted exactly how internal communication helped.

The technology company had experienced several years of changing CEOs, shifts in strategic direction and negative media coverage. Employees had been left feeling demoralised, exhausted and disconnected. Although they were still proud of the company and its heritage as the founder of Silicon Valley, some felt that HP had lost its way.

To compound the situation, Employee Communications was a small team without a leader, a mandate or any way to connect employees with the news and information they were craving.

Luckily, HP, a member of Melcrum’s Forum, recognised that something had to be done and began to put resources against reconnecting with employees.

The timing was fortuitous: The company was just about to announce a major five-year turnaround strategy and they intended to do it with an unprecedented level of transparency.

Employees needed to understand the turnaround, what it meant to them and – most importantly – how they could contribute to it.

MacNeil and her 10-member Employee Communications team set out to:

  • Create one central place where the company’s 320,000 employees could hear the news about HP and the turnaround first, before reading it in the media.
  • Provide context and perspective around negative issues about HP being discussed internally or in the media.
  • Improve employee morale and engagement, particularly in the areas of belief in leadership and in the company’s future.

Through this program, they increased employee engagement across HP by five points, to 70 per cent; and witnessed a 21 per cent increase in employees saying HP is a great place to work.

Watch the entire presentation here and keep an eye out for SCM November/December, which will feature the case study and results in greater detail.

Using measurement for creativity

Keeping in line with the honest approach of MacNeil, Kim Beddard-Fontaine, Senior Vice President, Internal Marketing and Communications, Schneider-Electric, admitted she had struggled with measurement during earlier periods of her career. But, she soon realised that metrics can pave the way to communication success.

“It gives us so much more credibility and fuels our creativity by giving us insight into what isn’t working and what we have to get better at,” she says.

She believes that measurement is providing the impetus to develop more engaging tactics by shedding light on share of voice, reach and user behaviour.

At Schneider Electric, no communication channel, tool or campaign can be launched if it cannot be measured.

IMCDuring her presentation, Kim revealed how she took inspiration from Shell’s Message Engagement Index, (profiled in Melcrum’s research study on IC Measurement and Evaluation) to create a similar tool for her function, as shown on this page.

One phrase she used during her presentation that really resonated with our delegates was: “Stop spraying and praying.

In other words, you can’t just send your messages out into the world and hope for the best. You need to have an idea of what success looks like and be able to gather the data that demonstrates that.

Maybe it was this intelligent approach to Internal Communication that helped Kim win the Leader of the Year category at the SCM Awards 2013, which was held on Day One of the Summit and hosted by celebrity comedienne, Sue Perkins. Check out all the SCM Award winners here.

If you’d like to take part in either the 13th Annual Melcrum Summit 2014 or Melcrum Awards 2014, register your interest by contacting us.

Post author: Luke Dodd.

Thank you very much for your highlights Luke. I watched the live-stream of Stacy’s presentation and liked her candour and honesty when it came to openly discussing what they did.

Did you attend the summit? What did you think of it? You’re welcome to tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below,


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