Water Cooler  

Enterprise Communications Hacks

The internal communications role is unlike most functions within an organization. These professionals are often tasked with making sure that multiple (ok…maybe even hundreds) of messages are disseminated and consumed by an organization’s most importance audience – its workforce. The messages delivered and initiatives employed to make sure they are received can have a real impact on productivity, employee engagement and the overall health and success of a company. And it is for this reason that they should not be taken lightly.

Given the importance of this, here are a few common problems as well as “hacks” to address them:

1. Too Much to Communicate in Too Little Time

The saying when it rains it pours couldn’t be more true for internal communications executives. How many times have different lines of business, HR departments and the C-suite had critical items to communicate to your workforce “as soon as possible”?

Hack: Stick to your editorial calendar! Calendar out when critical announcements are coming down the pike and be transparent with your internal stakeholders about when they will occur. Use a Google Doc or other similar shared calendar. Remind your employees that they need to make sure their internal announcements line up to the calendar. Of course, calendars of this sort should be flexible and dynamic, especially when crises occur — but hopefully these events are few and far between.

2. External Announcements Occur Before Employees are Told

Employees should never be the last to know, but unfortunately, sometimes news travels so fast that it’s difficult to give them a heads up.

Hack: Use a mobile communications tool that allows you to send quick push notifications to employees alerting them that news is being released externally in a few minutes. This can also be done simultaneously with the news release if the news is sensitive and material, especially with regard to public companies.

3. Getting Employees to Read Your Emails

Email is, and will continue to be, a vital internal communications tool. However, far too often employees ignore company emails due to “email overload.” In fact, did you know that studies have found that employees only read approximately one out of every five emails sent from the company?

Hack 1: Refresh your email content. Don’t rely on long prose and heavy blocks of text. Use video, audio and images to inform.

Hack 2: Consider a mobile app solution. Given the unique functionality of mobile technology, push notifications (which require an opt-in), can appear instantaneously on your employees mobile device, even when it is sleeping. Research shows that viewership and responsiveness to these alerts is significantly higher than that of emails.


Mobile Views

The Communications Professional – Guide to Mobile Solutions and Services

With the Millennial workforce expected to reach 75% in the next decade, it is no surprise that mobile communications solutions are being developed by both start-up and decades-old behemoth tech companies vying to win over this important audience. And, who can blame them – Millennials (who were born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s) grew up with mobile technology as part of their teen and young adult lives. They depend on their iPhones, iPads and Androids for just about everything they do, personally and professionally.

As communications professionals, never before have we had such an opportunity to better connect with our targeted audiences – pretty much everyone has a mobile device that is with them from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. However, given that mobile communications is relatively new, it can be difficult (especially for us non-techies) to understand the many solutions being developed and which is/are the best to help engage, inform and generally communicate with a particular audience or constituency.

That is why we created The Communications Professional: Guide to Mobile Solutions and Services (the “Guide”). Our goal in doing so is to provide the communications profession with a single and straightforward resource to learn about what is available in the market and the cost to implement.

We hope you find the Guide informative and appreciate any feedback you have, especially if you believe there are other companies that should be included.

To download The Communications Professional: Guide to Mobile Solutions and Services, click here.


Need to Know

APPrise Mobile Hits the Road

Now that Fall has arrived, it is officially time for conference season to begin! Over the past two weeks we were able to catch up with a few NIRI chapters in Chicago and Boston. Towards the end of October and into November we’ll be taking theEMPLOYEEapp on the road. Make sure to stop by and say hello if you’re attending!

  • HR Tech 2015 Conference: October 18 – 21 (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Ragan Communication’s 7th Annual Employee Communications, PR and Social Media Summit: October 27-29 (Redmond, WA)
  • PRSA International Conference: November 8 – 10 (Atlanta, GA)

theIRevolution

Mobile Technology and IR at the Citi ADR IR Academy

Last week I was fortunate to speak in front of a global group of investor relations officers at the CITI ADR IR Academy in New York City. As a former IR consultant and founder of a mobile technology company for communications professionals, I was able to blend my expertise on both subjects to provide the attendees with a ‘state of the state’ on mobile technology as it pertains to IR.

To put the discussion in context, I started my remarks by referring to my book Investor Relations: The Art of Communicating Value. In particular, I reviewed the four basic steps that I believe are critical to building a successful investor relations program:

  1. Determine the investment proposition
  2. Develop the communications platform
  3. Target the appropriate investor audience
  4. Build relationships with investors

Mobile technology clearly is relevant to Step 2 (the communications platform) and Step 4 (building relationships with investors). Research unequivocally demonstrates that mobile technology is everywhere and pretty much every worker has an Apple or Android device with them 24/7. Investment professionals are no exception and therefore it would be prudent for IRO’s to add this “mobile platform” to their overall communications platform to communicate their story and investment proposition(s) to their targeted investor audience.

I then went on to unconfuse what many IR professionals find confusing – the various easy and cost effective options that exist to incorporate mobile into an IR program. Viewing an IR website through a mobile browser is no longer acceptable. IR websites originally weren’t created for the small screens of mobile devices and hence are illegible, not to mention extremely difficult navigate. A responsive design optimized website is definitely a better alternative since it at least makes the IR website content legible. However, even this does not fully take advantage of the capabilities available from Apple and Android-based mobile devices.

So what option remains? Native apps. These apps are software that can be found in the app stores and were developed specifically for the operating systems that are “native” to the mobile devices (iOS, Android and Windows for the few Windows phones out there). Native apps allow for push notifications to inform investors immediately when new content is made available; the downloading of content for offline viewing and listening; and note taking on tablets. To the extent investors proactively download a company’s app and opt-in to receive the push notifications to their personal device, this can go a long way towards building relationships with investors (Step 4), especially when content appears on the home screen of the device when it is in sleep mode.

I concluded my remarks by stating the following: “There is a paradigm change that is happening right before our eyes. The technology we have used for the past few decades is changing and will continue to change. The way in which we use mobile technology in business is changing and will continue to change. Behaviors are changing as are our expectations for the way things get done. Mobile technology is front and center when it comes to investor relations – we can’t escape the fact that all of our investors have at least one mobile device – and it will only continue to become more important in the years to come. So, regardless of whether our investors are specifically asking us to develop an app or to incorporate mobile into our communications platform, at some point soon, they will come to expect that we will do so. We have a choice to make now – we can be proactive in our use of technology for our work, or we can wait until we no longer have a choice.”


APPrise Mobile Welcomes

Engagement LabsWho: Valparaiso University is a selective, independent Lutheran institution in Valparaiso, Indiana, an hour’s drive from Chicago.

What: theCOMMSapp

Interesting Fact: Valparaiso boasts an alumni network of over 57,000 graduates, and is using theCOMMSapp to engage with this audience.