I have a background in marketing where every website hit, keyword search, blog view, retweet, like, share, and upvote are meticulously logged, charted, categorized, and used to make future marketing decisions. So when a company says that their most valuable resource is their people (not customers), I see a huge opportunity to up their internal game to the level of their external one.
Importance of analytics
Large companies don’t communicate effectively to employees — this is a well-known fact that has flown under the radar for too long.
Change is being demanded by employees and shifting workplace environments, but companies don’t know where to start because they never had baseline numbers. To further illustrate this point I have a recent (read: embarrassing) analogy from my personal life.
I told a friend “I need to lose 10 lbs.” He was fully supportive and asked me what I planned to do.
“Go to the gym more, eat out less, and consume more water.” (Admittedly, this is a pretty lame/generic plan. I hadn’t put a ton of thought into it at this point. Rather, I just knew I wanted to still fit in last season’s jeans.)
Two weeks later I was out with the same friend again and he asked about my progress and how much I had lost. I responded, “I’m going to the gym twice a week, and cut eating out down to 2 days a week.”
He said, “yeah, but how much weight have you lost?”
Truth is, I didn’t know. I hadn’t gotten on the scale.
He laughed and said, “Guess you will never know if your plan is working.”
Start with the baseline
He was right. I had been so afraid of facing that starting number that I justified ignoring it and trying a couple of things to see if it would make everything better.
After two weeks, I had NO IDEA if my plan made me gain or lose because I didn’t know my own starting weight. I couldn’t even forecast how long it would take to lose 10 pounds based on the last two weeks. I had no data to show for my efforts.
Companies do the same thing with their internal comms. Companies have no baseline number for how well they are communicating with employees.
They will never be able to forecast how long it will take to improve. Even if the company is forward-thinking enough to be aware that they need to get their internal comms into “better shape,” they are using the “Leslie’s 2 Week Diet Method” and just blindly changing up a few things for a couple of weeks in hopes that the pain disappears.
What’s the motivation?
Jeans can be a strong motivation for weight loss, but what is the motivating factor to change your internal comms? The future of the workplace is going to be a lean mean productivity machine.
With technological changes continuing to advance over the next 10-15 years, these advances “are expected to continue to increase demand for a highly skilled workforce, support higher productivity growth, and change the organization of business and the nature of employment relationships.” (The Future of Work — Trends and Implications).
We are all aware of how rapid technology advancements can change the business overnight just by affecting product demand (RIP video and music stores) so only companies that can adapt quickly and communicate company objectives will be able to thrive.
The “shifting of permanent lifetime jobs to more temporary and nonstandard workers” further proves that companies can’t afford siloed communication anymore. Real-time communication and alignment along with the subsequent internal adjusting will be the one-two punch that keeps companies lean, mean, and internally strong enough to weather the tough battles waiting in the wings.